The European Commission is negotiating with the producing company the purchase and reservation of the remdesivir drug, which has been used in the fight against Covid-19, the institution announced this Wednesday, without giving details.
“Commissioner Kyriakides (Stella Kyriakides, from the area of Health and Food Safety) has been in multiple talks with the producer, Gilead, including regarding her production capacity. The Commission is also currently in negotiations with Gilead to reserve doses of Remdesivir. Given the confidentiality of these talks, we cannot share any more details at this time, ”said Stefan de Keersmaecker, spokesman for the European Commission, responsible for the public health issue.
The information comes in connection with the announcement by the United States that they bought from the company Gilead Sciences practically the entire reserve for three months of the remdesivir drug, the first approved in the country for the treatment of covid-19.
In a statement, the US health department said it "ensured more than 500 drug treatment cycles for American hospitals by September", which is equivalent to "100% of Gilead's expected production for July (94.200 cycles), 90% of production in August (174.900 cycles) and 90% of production in September (232.800 cycles), in addition to a budget for clinical trials ”.
North American anticipation means that, in the next three months, virtually no other country will have access to this antiviral drug, the use of which was recently recommended by the European Medicines Agency for adults and young people over 12 who still suffer from pneumonia and need receiving oxygen.
The drug is already used in Portugal, under strict conditions, and the European Commission may approve the agency's recommendation this week.
According to the European Commission spokesman "protecting the health of all citizens is a central priority of the European Commission" and the decision to "streamline the process of making a marketing authorization available to remit in the coming days proves the commitment to ensure that treatments with scientific evidence of efficiency in treating Covid-19 are available to European citizens ”.
"The Commission takes note of the announcement made regarding the doses available to the United States," said the spokesman.
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said that "the world will only be free from this pandemic when vaccines, tests and treatments are available to all who need them".
Today in Geneva, at a press conference, the World Health Organization (WHO) was also questioned on the subject. Mike Ryan, from the emergency health program, said that WHO was informed about the situation, but said that they would make further comments when the concrete situation, and the "arrangements" with other manufacturers, was analyzed.
"Many people around the world are very sick with this disease and we want to ensure that everyone has access to interventions that can save their lives," he said, adding: "We want to see what the implications are, but we can say that we are fully committed, with our partners, for equitable access to life-saving medicines ”.
Also today, the Assistant Secretary of State and Health, Jamila Madeira, said that Portugal does not know if it will continue to have the antiviral.
At a press conference at the Ministry of Health, Jamila Madeira, she told reporters that the national drug authority (Infarmed) "asked the company for information" on the available 'stocks' of the drug, which is used in Portugal on a timely basis in more cases serious covid-19.
"Only with an answer from the company side will we be able to say whether this resource, under the terms in which it was being used in Portugal, is safeguarded", said Jamila Madeira.
The drug, with a special authorization for use, “has been available since the first day of the pandemic in Portugal”, he said, adding that all doctors who considered it useful would be able to order and use it in their patients.
Last week, Health Minister Marta Temido stated that Portugal was discussing with the company the access and purchase prices of the antiviral, for which the European Medicines Agency (AEM) has already recommended a market authorization in the European Union, the first for a drug against covid-19.
In Portugal, 1.579 people of the 42.454 confirmed as infected died, according to the most recent bulletin from the Directorate-General for Health.
The disease is transmitted by a new coronavirus detected in late December in Wuhan, a city in central China. After Europe succeeded China as the center of the pandemic in February, the American continent is now the one with the most confirmed cases and the most deaths.