Gilead games the system

QUICK READ: Those of us in the industry know that ANY information that comes from Gilead should be questioned. There was only one objective of these trails and that was to increase sales of Remdesivir.

This is a quote from a physician;

As someone who has conducted clinical trials, I am appalled at this optimism around Gilead’s drug Remdesivir. For one there is no control group. Further, (and this is not always true) the longer you treat someone with an effective drug the better you do, I.e in the absence of side effects of the drug, in this trial 5 days of treatment was better than 10 days. In the absence of data on how many patients were discharged within 14 days who did not receive Remdesivir how can one vouch for its effectiveness?. Maybe the same number would have been discharged irrespective of whether they took the drug. We don’t have that data. In general clinical trials are conducted at tertiary centers so they have more resources such as specialized doctors hence this data cannot be extrapolated to the general population. we all would wish for effective therapy but at first glance, this is far from it.


Another trial published in the medical journal The Lancet on Wednesday, first reported by the Financial Times last week, showed disappointing results. Conducted in China, the trial showed no statistically significant benefit for those taking remdesivir: patients taking the drug recovered on average in 21 days, compared with 23 days for those on a placebo.

There may have been a slight improvement if patients took the drug early. If they took the drug in the first 10 days after they developed symptoms, they recovered in an average of 18 days. Some analysts have supported that idea — it would make sense to take an antiviral before it spread enough to wreak havoc on certain parts of the body. But the authors warned this was still not statistically significant.

Most of the studies did not have a control arm or were, like the one described in the Journal of Medicine paper, based on data that was not collected as part of a trial. Gilead published results from its own study on Wednesday, which did not have a control group, comparing people who took the drug for five days with those who took it for 10 days, making it hard to draw broader conclusions.

The bottom line: This near-constant back-and-forth over Remdesivir reinforces how strong the science and data need to be for any treatment, or for the world’s best hope: a vaccine.

Gilead is a prime example of everything that is wrong with pharma. Gilead doesn’t do much research and development itself. Instead, it has acquired firms that have done the heavy lifting and markets their successes. It acquired its blockbuster hepatitis C drug, Sovaldi, by paying $11 billion for the drug’s developer, Pharmasset, in 2011. By the way the person was working for the federal government at the time.

Now Gilead gets FDA emergency permission to use the drug for COVID-19 patients which means more money in their pockets. Really sad state of affairs.