Underestimated option? Repurposing drugs for treatment of COVID-19

With the main focus on finding a COVID-19 vaccine, policy makers and industry have paid less attention to the development of therapeutics. Within this field, Susan Athey, Rena Conti, Richard Frank and Jonathan Gruber show, the repurosing of existing drugs for treatment of COVID-19 diserves special attention, as the safety of these drugs is already established and their manufacturing well understood. Given that this path is less attractive for private sector investors in comparison to the development of new drugs that can be sold at higher prizes, the authors propose a three-part plan for the U.S. government to incentivice investment and studies into repurposing drugs for COVID-19 treatment. The plan suggests among other things public-private partnerships, clinical development networks and premiums paid for successfully bringing repurposed drugs to the market.