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Parliamentary questions
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30 November 2020
E-006511/2020
Question for written answer  E-006511/2020
to the Commission
Rule 138
Virginie Joron (ID)
 Answer in writing 
 Subject: Remdesivir: the EUR 1 billion scandal of the fake treatment for COVID-19 purchased by the Commission

According to the Reuters news agency, on 8 October 2020 the Commission signed a contract with Gilead for 500 000 intravenous doses of remdesivir at EUR 2 000 per dose, i.e. a total cost of EUR 1.035 billion(1)(2)(3).

On 9 October 2020, the European Union was informed of the negative results(4) of a study carried out by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 405 hospitals in 30 countries covering more than 11 000 COVID-19 patients. That study, which was published on 15 October 2020, absolutely ruled out ‘the suggestion that remdesivir can prevent a substantial fraction of all deaths’(5). On 20 November 2020, the WHO officially advised ‘against the use of remdesivir in hospitalized patients, regardless of disease severity, as there is currently no evidence that remdesivir improves survival and other outcomes in these patients’.

1. Given that the WHO has said that it had informed Gilead of these negative results before the signing of the contract on 23 September 2020, what steps has the Commission taken to terminate the contract and to bring legal proceedings against Gilead?

2. Which experts and scientific authorities identified and confirmed the need for this huge order, given that on 4 September 2020 the WHO dropped remdesivir from its recommendations(6) and that there have been doubts about the efficacy of this product since February 2020(7)?

(1)https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-eu-remdesivir-idUSKBN26Y25K
(2)https://ec.europa.eu/info/live-work-travel-eu/coronavirus-response/emergency-support-instrument_fr
(3)The ‘treatment’ cycle comprises six doses. Using the term ‘treatment’ for a substance which is not effective in terms of mortality, however, seems a little dubious. For reasons of simplicity, the term ‘dose’ has been used to represent a treatment ‘cycle’, even if in reality a cycle would consist of six doses. https://www.lemonde.fr/planete/article/2020/11/27/covid-19-comment-gilead-a-vendu-son-remdesivir-a-l-europe_6061300_3244.html
(4)https://science.sciencemag.org/content/370/6517/642.full
(5)https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.10.15.20209817v1.full#disqus_thread
(6)https://youtu.be/TqiPK4pts7Y
(7)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZDzAKj-_5A, at approximately the 7’ point
Original language of question: FR
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