Study data published on Friday in the Journal of Virus Eradication suggest that drugs being re-purposed in hopes they will help against COVID-19 cost little to make but may prove challenging to produce in quantities needed for a pandemic, as reported Fidelity.
"Any pharmaceutical company manufacturing any treatment currently in clinical trials against coronavirus needs a clear plan to upscale production massively," said researcher Andrew Hill.
The researchers examined the cost of manufacturing medicines in recent or ongoing COVID-19 trials, and estimated that Gilead Science's experimental drug remdesivir could be made for as little as $0.93 for a day's supply, while hydroxychloroquine would cost $0.08.
The researchers also examined chloroquine, azithromycin, Roche's Esbriet and Actemra, as well as an AbbVie HIV drug and a hepatitis C cocktail.
"Should repurposed drugs demonstrate efficacy against COVID-19, they could be manufactured profitably at very low costs," the authors noted, giving range of between $1 and $29 per course of treatment.
However, Gilead said that figure does not "accurately reflect" manufacturing costs at scale.