Gilead’s unusual move last week to publish data from compassionate use of remdesivir raised eyebrows among researchers. To a trained eye, the information revealed little about the experimental drug’s safety or effectiveness — and Gilead has multiple clinical trials underway that are set to produce more definitive results in just a few weeks.
This Wild West approach to promoting drugs and vaccines this early in the development process is a dramatic reversal for the pharmaceutical industry, which is normally guarded about the information it releases about ongoing clinical trials and the FDA approval process.
But the gambit appears to be paying off for drugmakers like Gilead. Trump mentioned remdesivir at his very next press briefing, on April 14, saying that the experimental treatment has shown “very promising” results. Trump’s repeated backing of another potential coronavirus drug, hydroxychloroquine, has already sent demand for it soaring across the country.