Germany says it is banking on developer Gilead Sciences to meet future needs and South Korea plans for an August purchase of the coronavirus treatment. Earlier the US said it had tied up nearly all of the drug's supply over the next three months.

An ampule of remdesivir pictured during a news conference at the University Hospital Eppendorf in Hamburg, Germany. April 8, 2020.
An ampule of remdesivir pictured during a news conference at the University Hospital Eppendorf in Hamburg, Germany. April 8, 2020. (Reuters)

Germany has secured enough supplies for now of remdesivir – set to become the first Covid-19 treatment approved in Europe – and is banking on developer Gilead Sciences Inc to meet future needs.

"The federal government has early on secured remdesivir for the treatment of coronavirus patients. Currently, there are still sufficient reserves," Germany's health ministry said in a written statement on Wednesday.

One of the few treatments shown to alter the course of Covid-19, remdesivir is expected to be in high demand. The intravenously administered medicine has won emergency-use authorisation in several countries and full approval in Japan after a clinical trial showed it helped shorten hospital stays.

With a conditional market approval, which is expected to be issued by the EU Commission this week, comes an obligation to deliver sufficient quantities in the future, it added.

"We trust Gilead will meet this obligation," the ministry said.

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

US hoarding drug

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) this week said it had secured all of Gilead's projected production for July and 90 percent of its production in August and September, in addition to an allocation for clinical trials.

Once supplies are less constrained, HHS will stop managing the allocation, Gilead said at the time of the department's statement.

Gilead has linked up with generic drugmakers based in India and Pakistan to supply remdesivir in 127 developing countries, but it has not discussed its supply strategy for developed nations outside the United States.

South Korea to start talks on remdesivir August purchase

South Korea started distributing stocks of the Covid-19 drug donated by Gilead with plans to begin talks to purchase more supplies in August, its disease control agency said on Wednesday.

It is the first country to disclose a timeline for talks with Gilead. 

The drugmaker said this week it has priced remdesivir at $390 per vial in developed countries and agreed to allocate nearly all of its supply of the drug to the United States over the next three months.

Only patients severely ill with Covid-19 are eligible for remdesivir and South Korea currently has 33 such patients, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said.

Source: TRT World