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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

New study reveals cost of repurposed COVID-19 drugs

Health Industry Hub | May 18, 2020 |

Re-purposing existing medicines to treat COVID-19 is essential to reducing mortality and bringing the global pandemic under control. An effective vaccine may not be widely available until late 2021, even if clinical trials are successful. Several promising drugs have been identified and are in various stages of clinical trials globally.

Results from randomised trials of these repurposed treatments should become available from May 2020. If favourable results are shown from these clinical trials, there is the potential to quickly upscale production of the most promising drugs. The safety profiles of these drugs have already been established from clinical trials for other diseases.

Authors of a new study published in the Journal of Virus Eradication estimated the minimum costs of drug production from the costs of active pharmaceutical ingredients using established methodology, which had good predictive accuracy for medicines for hepatitis C and HIV amongst others. Data were extracted from global export shipment records or analysis of the route of chemical synthesis. The estimated costs were compared with list prices from a range of countries where pricing data were available.

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The authors believe that ensuring equity and access to these re-purposed treatments, especially amongst low- and middle-income economies, would be important.

The predicted costs of production, and the highest/lowest available list prices of all drugs analysed are shown in the table below. Click to enlarge image.

The authors concluded “Should repurposed drugs demonstrate efficacy against COVID-19, they could be manufactured profitably at very low costs, for much less than current list prices. Estimations for the minimum production costs can strengthen price negotiations and help ensure affordable access to vital treatment for COVID-19 at low prices globally.”

In alignment with the Federal Government’s mental health initiative the #SelfcareInHealthcare campaign has been launched to encourage Pharma, Biotech and MedTech industry professionals to take action on mental health during COVID-19. LinkedIn post.


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