By Rocky Swift
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan has begun treating severely ill COVID-19 patients with Gilead Sciences Inc’s <GILD.O> coronavirus drug remdesivir, days after granting emergency approval to the medication the company is supplying as part of its pledged donation.
Japan’s approval a week ago of remdesivir as a treatment for COVID-19 followed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s emergency authorization of the antiviral drug on May 1.
At that time, Foster City, California-based Gilead reiterated plans to donate 1.5 million doses of remdesivir – enough to treat at least 140,000 patients – “to help address the urgent medical needs posed by this pandemic around the world.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Saturday said Gilead had committed to supply U.S. hospitals with about 607,000 vials of remdesivir, about 40% of the total 1.5 million-vial donation. After doctors had questioned the transparency of the allocation process, the