Letter urges Gilead to ensure everyone can access its “promising” COVID-19 treatment pending clinical trial results

ITPC has joined the more than 150 civil society organizations and individuals expressing concerns in a letter to Gilead, coordinated by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

The open letter requests that Gilead take immediate actions to ensure rapid availability, affordability, and accessibility of its experimental therapy remdesivir for the treatment of COVID-19, pending the results of the clinical trials demonstrating its efficacy.  In the early days of the pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) described remdesivir as “the most promising” antiviral.

The COVID-19 pandemic has spread across all continents and, to date, over 720,000 people have been infected, causing more than 30,000 deaths. Making effective therapeutics available and accessible rapidly for all people based on their medical needs is essential for all countries to combat the pandemic and may save many thousands of lives. 

We are seriously concerned with Gilead’s current approach to remdesivir, which may obscure access to this potentially critical treatment for COVID-19. Gilead holds primary patents of remdesivir in more than 70 countries that may block generic entry until 2031. 

The COVID-19 pandemic affects every person. Gilead has a poor track record for ensuring universal access to lifesaving treatments and the company’s recent actions with remdesivir provide scant assurance that the company can be trusted to act in the public interest. 

We request Gilead to fully recognise the scale and potential consequences of pursuing exclusive rights as opposed to enabling the scale-up of production and affordable supply of remdesivir during this pandemic.

An exclusivity and monopoly-based approach will fail the world in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. Gilead must act in the public interest now.

Read the letter, and the actions that the company is urged to take, in full here.