New GAO Report Requested by Stabenow and Maloney Finds Government Provided $162 Million to Fund Development of Remdesivir

Apr 1, 2021
Press Release
Despite Taxpayer-Funding, Gilead Charges $3,120 for a Five Day Course of Treatment

WASHINGTON, D.C.  The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a new report reviewing the government funding that led to the development of the drug Remdesivir, which costs $3,120 for a five day course of treatment. The report finds that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Defense and the National Institutes of Health provided $162 million in funding for preclinical studies and clinical trials for Remdesivir. This does not include funding for basic research. Experts estimate that the National Institutes of Health spent $6.5 billion funding basic research into the drug structures and mechanisms used in Remdesivir.


U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (MI) and Chairwoman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) requested this report in order to learn more about how taxpayer-funded research is being used to develop drugs and vaccines. Remdesivir is an antiviral drug manufactured by Gilead and was the first drug approved by FDA to treat COVID-19.


The new report can be found here.


“This report exposes how the American people are being ripped off by drug companies who use taxpayer-funded research to develop lifesaving prescription drugs, then turn around and charge exorbitant prices for these drugs when people need them the most. I intend to continue working to put an end to this and other practices that allow the drug industry to gouge families for life-saving prescription drugs,” said Senator Stabenow.


“The GAO’s report on Remdesivir is unfortunately just the latest example of a drug company charging an unconscionable price for a drug developed with millions in taxpayer-funded research.  I will continue to push for reforms, such as enabling Medicare to negotiate for lower prices, that curtail the pharmaceutical industry’s price gouging of patients and taxpayers.  I also look forward to working further with Senator Stabenow to increase transparency into the pharmaceutical industry’s reliance on federally funded research,” said Chairwoman Maloney.


Senator Stabenow and Chairwoman Maloney have worked to lower the cost of drugs and increase transparency on pharmaceutical pricing for many years. Last year, the lawmakers released a report reviewing the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) management of their intellectual property. The report recommended HHS fix a deficiency in their commercial licensing process and publicly report more about the licensing of their intellectual property. 


Following reports alleging that Gilead Sciences was infringing on government-owned intellectual property relevant to HIV prevention drug Truvada, in June 2019, Senator Stabenow and former House Committee on Oversight and Reform Chair Elijah Cummings requested that GAO conduct a review of how HHS manages its intellectual property. The July 2020 report is the product of that request. 



117th Congress