S.Korea says to begin talks to purchase COVID-19 drug remdesivir in August

 

Seoul, South Korea   |   Wed, July 1, 2020   |   05:45 pm

South Korea has started distributing stocks of the COVID-19 treatment remdesivir which have been donated by Gilead Sciences Inc and plans to begin talks to purchase more supplies in August, its disease control agency said.

“Patients who are eligible for remdesivir are limited to severe patients with pneumonia and in need of oxygen therapy,” the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said in a statement.It did not disclose how many doses have been donated by the U.S. firm.

KCDC director Jeong Eun-kyeong told a briefing that patients who developed symptoms in less than 10 days and were suffering from pneumonia and a shortage of oxygen would be considered eligible. A domestic panel of experts has found that anti-viral drugs like remdesivir are more effective if given in the early stages of the disease, she added.

The KCDC did not disclose how many doses have been donated by the U.S. firm.

South Korea will consider whether remdesivir should be covered by national health insurance after the purchase negotiations in August, said Jeong.

Based on current treatment patterns, a course of remdesivir equates to $2,340 per patient.

South Korea has been battling small but steady outbreaks of the new coronavirus, with 51 new cases reported as of Tuesday, bringing the country’s total to 12,850 cases with 282 deaths.

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