Japan may quickly approve remdesivir despite uncertain trial results

April 27, 2020

Government officials in Japan said they are looking to approve Gilead's anti-viral drug remdesivir as early as next month to treat patients with COVID-19.

According to Japan's Kyodo News, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a parliamentary session that the approval will "be possible shortly."

Around the world, the potential for remdesivir as a COVID-19 treatment is still being tested in trials, but enthusiasm waned after leaked results from the first clinical study in China found the rate of death was similar at 13.9% for remdesivir versus 12.8% in the control group.

The Japanese government is set to fast-track the approval of Gilead's application, once the drugmaker files it. The streamlined process involves postponing reports on domestic clinical tests to a later date.

A swift approval would make Japan the first country to approve the experimental drug. This news comes on top of allegations that the Japanese government has vastly unplayed the extent of the crisis and that the majority of Japanese are critical of Abe’s crisis management.

>>>> Read more about the state of pharma in Japan in our Global Dose report