BILL Gates, co-founder of Gates and Melinda Foundation has warned that there could be more unjust deadlier pandemic if COVID-19 drugs and vaccines go to the highest bidders.
‘’If we just let drugs and vaccines go to highest bidders instead of the people and places where they are most needed, we will have a longer and more unjust deadlier pandemic,’’ said Gates in a video shared by the APF news.
The Microsoft founder however called on leaders to be tactical in the distribution of vaccines and pharmaceuticals that would be produced in the nearest future against the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘’We need leaders to make this hard decision about distributing based on equity not just on market driven factors,’’ he said.
In June, GILEAD Sciences Inc, drug maker of Remdesivir, touted as COVID-19 drug, announced that the United States, US, and other developed countries would pay a stipulated $2,340 for a short course treatment for a regular patient.
Its shortest treatment course which is expected to last for five days would cost $2,340 per patient equivalent of N906,750 in Nigeria.
The drug manufacturer anticipates that a longer treatment course for 14 days would cost $4,290 which is about N1,662,375, expecting to have more than one million treatment courses available by the end of the year.
Daniel O’Day, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Gilead Inc said the intention of the drug company was to enable governments to negotiate prices directly.
“The logic is that we wanted a single government price around the developed world. This medicine is priced far below the value it brings to health-care systems and that’s true for private payers and government payers,” he said.
However, the company did not indicate its charge for governments in less advanced countries like Nigeria for the drug which has won acclaim from health officials but is yet to gain final approval for commercial sale.