Remdesivir, a trusted anti-viral treatment in the battle against COVID-19, finally got greenlit for emergency use authorization across the United States, and full approval in Japan. A recent report suggested that The European Union’s healthcare regulator last week hinted at a conditional approval of the drug to be used among the critically ill. The United States has surpassed Europe in terms of the number of cases tested positive in the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Priced at $ 2,340 for a five-day course, Remdesivir will be priced at $520 a vial for U.S. Private Insurance Companies, which equals $3,120 for a patient being administered a treatment course of six vials. The cost per-vial outside private insurance will be $390.

Gilead has collaborated with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). HHS has procured over 500,000 treatment courses of the drug for U.S. hospitals through September, as reported by the agency on Monday. Remdesivir's pricing has drawn intense flak, ever since U.S. regulators permitted its use in May during emergencies and in the cases of the severely ill COVID-19 patients.

Scores of health experts have decried Gilead’s exorbitant pricing of a drug amid a health crisis for profits. U.S. Representative Lloyd Doggett, a Democrat from Texas, reportedly opined that Remdesivir was outrageously priced “for a very modest drug, which taxpayer funding saved from a scrap heap of failures.” Patient advocates have sided with Doggett’s perspective on the drug’s pricing and put forth an interesting argument that the cost should be lower since Remdesivir was developed with financial aid from the U.S. government.

Gilead Chief Executive Daniel O’Day however clapped back at the criticism in an open letter, citing how the price is “well below the value it provides given that early hospital discharges could save around $12,000 per patient in the United States.”

It has been alleged that Gilead has associated with generic drug makers across India and Pakistan, including Cipla Ltd and Hetero Labs Ltd, to make Remdesivir readily available in 127 developing countries. What needs to be noted is that Cipla’s version of the drug is priced at less than 5,000 Indian rupees ($66.24), while Hetero Lab’s version is priced at 5,400 rupees ($71.54).

COVID-19 Coronavirus Drug - Remdesivir One vial of the drug Remdesivir lies during a press conference about the start of a study with the Ebola drug Remdesivir in particularly severely ill patients at the University Hospital Eppendorf (UKE) in Hamburg, northern Germany on April 8, 2020, amidst the new coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. ULRICH PERREY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images