Antibody drug to be sold commercially amid dwindling federal supply

Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly will sell its COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatment to healthcare systems, hospitals and states this month, The Wall Street Journal reported Aug. 3. 

Eli Lilly previously sold 150,000 doses of its treatment bebtelovimab to the U.S. for $275 million. The company expects the order to ship out Aug. 5, and a spokesperson told the Journal that supply will run out before the end of August. 

Although the U.S. has the option to buy more of the antibody treatment, it cannot do so without additional funding from Congress, the spokesperson said. Eli Lilly is moving its product — which is more than $2,000 per dose — directly to healthcare providers and states on Aug. 15, according to the Journal. Eli Lilly and the HHS are working to provide the treatment to uninsured, low-income people. 

"I don't anticipate that this will in any way stimulate usage of the product," Daniel Skovronsky, MD, PhD, Eli Lilly's chief scientific and medical officer, told the Journal. "It's more just about, how do we keep it available despite the U.S. government not being able to purchase it anymore. That's why we’re switching to a different model here."

Eli Lilly's entrance into the commercial antibody market could be more enticing for those worried about rebounding symptoms with the nation's most popular COVID-19 antibody treatment, Pfizer's Paxlovid, despite recent Mayo Clinic data showing the risk of a rebound is rare.


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