The European Union's executive said on Wednesday it had agreed to buy a limited supply of the Covid-19 drug remdesivir from US drugmaker Gilead to address the short-term needs of European patients, and hoped to be able to order more later.
Remdesivir is the only drug so far authorised in the EU for use against Covid-19, but nearly all available supplies have already been bought by the United States.
The EU Commission has agreed to pay 63 million euros ($74 million) to purchase enough doses to treat about 30,000 patients, it said in a statement.
The United States which signed a deal with Gilead in June for more than 500,000 courses of treatment, which accounts for most of the production through September..
The Commission said this batch "will address just immediate needs", adding that it was already working to secure new doses from October.
The amount paid appears to be in line with the $2,340 per patient that Gilead had said it would charge in wealthier nations.
Most European countries have passed the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic but a new wave of infections in recent days has pushed countries to reintroduce restrictions.
While the number of hospitalisations is on the rise in Europe, they remain far below the height of the outbreak in March and April, when many hospitals were overwhelmed.
($1 = 0.8515 euros)