NEW YORK, March 22 (Reuters) - Gilead Sciences Inc said on Sunday it was temporarily putting emergency access to its experimental coronavirus drug remdesivir on hold due to overwhelming demand and that it wanted most people receiving the drug to participate in a clinical trial to prove if it is safe and effective.
The drugmaker said in a statement there had been an exponential increase in so-called compassionate-use requests for the drug. It was shifting from a system of individual compassionate-use requests to expanded access programs, which it expects will start in a similar time frame that new requests for compassionate use would have been processed.
Gilead said it would make exceptions for pregnant women and children under 18 with severe COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus.
Reporting by Michael Erman; Editing by Peter Cooney