The impact of remdesivir in the European Union

In July 2020, remdesivir became the first antiviral therapy approved for COVID-19 in Europe

Soon after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, remdesivir was studied as a potential treatment for COVID-19 patients. In July 2020, remdesivir received conditional marketing authorisation for the treatment of COVID-19 in adults and adolescents from 12 years of age with pneumonia who require supplemental oxygen. Since December 2021, remdesivir is also indicated for adult COVID-19 patients who do not require supplemental oxygen but who are at an increased risk of progressing to severe COVID-19. Overall, clinical trials have demonstrated a strong potential for remdesivir to reduce patient hospitalisation days, limit the need for intensive care units (ICUs) for COVID-19 patients and keep many patients out of hospitals altogether. These results made a strong case for EU member states to rely on remdesivir in their battle against the pandemic.

In July 2022, Gilead Sciences signed a New Joint Procurement Agreement (JPA) with the European Commission

The agreement covers purchases of remdesivir over a period of twelve months with the possibility for a six-month extension, following the expiration of the original JPA agreement with the EU Commission. With the new JPA for remdesivir, Gilead is able to continue helping governments across Europe ensure rapid access to a COVID-19 critical treatment for hospitalised patients.

Remdesivir saves patient lives and frees up capacity for the European healthcare systems

We have estimated the effects of remdesivir in 2021, 2022 and 2023 in terms of ICU capacity and lives saved. The clinical effect of remdesivir has previously been shown by Beigel JH, et al. in the ACTT-1 study and by Gottlieb et al. in the PINETREE study. We have based our analyses on these clinical trials to estimate the effect on hospital capacity and saved lives. Our estimations show a clear benefit from remdesivir.

We find that in 2021 remdesivir freed up 550,900 hospital beds and 377,800 beds at the ICU.

For 2022, we estimate that remdesivir helped free up 1,484,000 hospital beds and 796,000 ICU beds.

For 2023, we project a lower patient number but continued use of remdesivir. With these assumptions, remdesivir could help free up 305,000 hospital beds and 164,000 ICU beds.

This report has been commissioned and funded by Gilead.  Copenhagen Economics is responsible for the content and retains final editorial control.