Gilead pauses access to experimental COVID-19 drug due to 'overwhelming demand'

Patients will temporarily not have access to remdesivir, Gilead Sciences' experimental drug against the novel coronavirus, because of "overwhelming demand," the company announced.

Patients will temporarily not have access to remdesivir, Gilead Sciences' experimental drug against the novel coronavirus, because of "overwhelming demand," the company announced. Gilead revealed that it is processing previously approved requests and will make exceptions for pregnant women and children younger than age 18 years with confirmed COVID-19 and "severe manifestations" of the disease. Remdesivir is being studied in five large clinical trials, two of which could release results by early April. The company acknowledged that for some severely ill patients, it will be unable to enroll them in clinical trials and will not have approved treatment options. For those individuals, Gilead is migrating from a "compassionate use" system to expanded access programs. The company said the initiative will facilitate access for severely ill patients and allow the company to gather data from all patients. These programs are under "rapid development" in conjunction with regulators globally, according to Gilead. The company said that in recent weeks there has been "an exponential increase" in requests for compassionate use because of the spread of COVID-19 in Europe and the United States, but its treatment access system was set up for very limited access to remdesivir.