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‘Absolute robbery’: Gilead announces $3,120 price tag for COVID-19 drug developed with $70 million in taxpayer funds

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Consumer advocates reacted with disgust Monday to an announcement by Gilead Sciences that it will charge U.S. hospitals around $3,120 per privately insured patient for a treatment course of remdesivir, a drug which has proven modestly effective at speeding Covid-19 recovery times.

Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines Program, called Gilead’s pricing—which works out to around $520 per dose for non-government buyers like hospitals—”an offensive display of hubris and disregard for the public” and slammed the Trump administration for failing to ensure that the price of a drug developed with substantial taxpayer support is affordable for all.

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Maybarduk pointed to Institute for Clinical and Economic Review research showing Gilead could still make a profit by pricing remdesivir at $310 per course.

“Gilead has priced at several thousand dollars a drug that should be in the public domain. For $1 per day, remdesivir can be manufactured at scale with a reasonable profit,” Maybarduk said in a statement. “Gilead did not make remdesivir alone. Public funding was indispensable at each stage, and government scientists led the early drug discovery team. Allowing Gilead to set the terms during a pandemic represents a colossal failure of leadership by the Trump administration.”

Public Citizen estimated in a May report that U.S. taxpayers contributed at least $70.5 million to the development of remdesivir.

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Shortly after Gilead’s announcement, the U.S. Health and Human Services Department said it reached an agreement with the pharmaceutical giant to purchase more than 500,000 treatment courses of remdesivir for American hospitals.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the United States is “the only developed country where Gilead will charge two prices”—one for government buyers ($390 per dose) and one for non-government buyers like hospitals ($520 per dose). The typical remdesivir treatment course consists of around six doses.

Unlike the U.S., the Journal notes, the governments of other advanced nations “negotiate drug prices directly with drugmakers.”

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Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), chair of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, said in a statement that “Trump’s refusal to stop pandemic profiteering with a stroke of a pen is a green light to other manufacturers to exploit this tragedy.”

Doggett said he is pressuring the Trump administration and Gilead to disclose the details of their agreement, including the sum the government paid for the 500,000 treatment courses of remdesivir.

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On Twitter, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) condemned Gilead’s price-tag as “beyond disgusting.”

“Taxpayers provided funding for the development of this drug. Now Gilead is price-gouging off it during a pandemic,” said Sanders. “Coronavirus treatment must be free to all.”


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‘Perhaps the most un-American speech ever delivered by an American president’: Ambassador McFaul

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President Donald Trump's address at Mount Rushmore was blasted as "un-American" by former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul.

McFaul retweeted a clip of the leader of the free world failing to pronounce the word, "totalitarianism."

"Trump has no idea what words like fascism and totalitarianism mean," McFaul, now a professor at Stanford, declared.

"To those who wrote this speech and those senior [White House] officials who approved this speech, shame on you. Perhaps the most un-American speech ever delivered by an American president and on the July 4th weekend no less," he explained.

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Nevada GOP ridiculed for ‘illiteracy’ after sending out garbled Independence Day message

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The Nevada Republican Party was ridiculed on Saturday for the Independence Day message the organization sent out.

Veteran Nevada political reporter Jon Ralston, the editor of The Nevada Independent, tweeted out a screenshot of the email sent by Michael McDonald, the chairman of the state GOP.

Ralston described the email as a "microcosm of NV GOP's incompetence (and illiteracy)" and mocked the party by saying "English is a difficult language to master."

Here is Ralston's thread on the Fourth of July message:

Microcosm of NV GOP's incompetence (and illiteracy) in Chairman @McDonaldNV's Independence Day message, which begins (I kid you not.):

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Trump has gone from ‘merely losing’ to ‘flailing’ in one month as he faces a November election wipeout: report

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On Saturday, Politico reported that President Donald Trump's campaign is in freefall — and that, despite there still being hypothetical ways former Vice President Joe Biden could snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, the president and his party are in dire straits.

"As recently as one month ago, Donald Trump was merely losing," reported David Siders. "Now he is flailing, trudging into the Independence Day weekend at the nadir of his presidency, trailing by double digits in recent polls and in danger of dragging the Republican Senate down with him."

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