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Article

24 Mar 2020

Author:
Public Citizen & 50 other civil society groups

Civil society groups call for Gilead to relinquish monopoly on potential coronavirus treatment

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We were shocked to learn that your company sought a lucrative orphan drug designation from the Food & Drug Administration for remdesivir, one of relatively few medicines being explored as a possible treatment for COVID-19 this year. This is an unconscionable abuse of a program designed to incentivize research and development for treatments for rare diseases... We are writing to demand you reverse course and renounce your claim to orphan drug designation privileges for remdesivir.

... The orphan drug designation would provide Gilead with seven years of marketing exclusivity, enabling you to exclude competitors and charge high monopoly prices while people struggle to gain access. It would also further subsidize any costs through additional tax credits and allow you to monopolize the supply of the drug during a public health crisis. Making the claim to special orphan status even more outrageous is the fact that the public already has largely paid for remdesivir’s development through at least $60 million in grants and innumerable contributions from federal scientists.

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