Drugmaker Backpedals on Specialty Status for COVID-19 Drug
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Drugmaker Backpedals on Specialty Status for COVID-19 Drug
Facing public criticism, the maker of a promising coronavirus drug said Wednesday it will waive a special regulatory designation that could have allowed it to block competition and boost profits for its treatment.

Gilead Sciences said it will ask U.S. regulators to revoke the so-called “orphan drug” status it received for its experimental drug remdesivir. The status would have entitled the company to financial incentives and exclusive marketing intended for rare disease treatments.

The Food and Drug Administration granted the company’s request for the designation on Monday, noting that COVID-19 qualified as a rare disease under U.S. rules, since fewer than 200,000 Americans are infected.

But experts and public advocates blasted Gilead for seeking the status.

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March 28, 2020