NL has sufficient stock of Covid-19 drug Remdesivir, despite U.S. controversy

The Netherlands has a strong supply of promising Covid-19 drug Remdesivir, despite the United States' attempt to corner the market by buying nearly all of the drug's projected production for the next three months from American manufacturer Gilead, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Public Health, Welfare and Sports said to NL Times. 

Tests suggest that Remdesivir, an antiviral originally developed to treat Ebola, shortens recovery times for Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Whether it also improves survival rate is not yet clear. 

Earlier this week, the United States announced that it is buying up most of this drug produced by Gilead for the next three months, BBC reports. "President Trump has struck kan amazing deal to ensure Americans have access to the first authorized therapeutic for Covid-19," Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said, according to BBC.

But despite this attempt to corner the market, the Netherlands' supply of Remdesivir is not in danger at this stage. "We currently have sufficient stock of antiviral Remdesivir," a spokesperson for the Health Ministry said to NL Times, saying that manufacturer Gilead made the antiviral available to the Netherlands and "pledged to increase the quantity in the near future".

"The Ministry will make no further statements about quantities," the spokesperson added.

In answers to parliamentary questions about Remdesivir and its availability, Minister Hugo de Jonge of Public Health said this week that a possible licensing agreement for the drug is currently being discussed, and availability will be part of that. "As long as this process is ongoing and the conditions under which a potential license would be granted are not fixed, it seems premature to speculate on issues such as export restrictions on the finished product," he said.

"What I am committed to is that medicines that have been co-developed with Dutch pubic money also become available in the Netherlands at an acceptable price"