EU says it has agreed to pay $74 million to US drugmaker Gilead to address "just immediate needs," and is working to secure new doses from October.

Gilead appears to be selling the drug to Europe for $2,467 per patient, based on Reuters' calculations.
Gilead appears to be selling the drug to Europe for $2,467 per patient, based on Reuters' calculations. (Reuters)

EU Commission has agreed to buy a limited supply of the Covid-19 medicine remdesivir from US drugmaker Gilead to address the short-term needs of European patients, and hoped to be able to order more later.

The anti-viral is the only drug so far authorised in the EU to treat patients with severe symptoms of Covid-19, but nearly all available supplies have already been bought by the United States.

The Commission has agreed to pay $74 million to buy enough doses to treat about 30,000 patients, it said in a statement on Wednesday.

READ MORE: Germany says remdesivir supplies sufficient to treat Covid-19 patients

EU securing more doses

The United States signed a deal with Gilead in June for more than 500,000 courses of treatment, which accounts for most of the company's output through September.

The Commission said this batch would address "just immediate needs," and that it was already working to secure new doses from October.

Gilead appears to be selling the drug to Europe for $2,467 per patient, based on Reuters' calculations.

That would be slightly more than the $2,340 price set by Gilead for wealthier nations at the end of June, although exact terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

READ MORE: Exorbitant price of Gilead's Covid-19 drug irks consumer groups

READ MORE: US grants emergency approval for remdesivir for Covid-19 patients

Second wave of infections

Most European countries have passed the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic but a new wave of infections in recent days has pushed countries to reintroduce restrictions.

While the number of hospitalisations is on the rise in Europe, they remain far below the height of the outbreak in March and April, when many hospitals were overwhelmed.

Source: Reuters