Drugmaker backpedals on specialty status for COVID-19 drug

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WASHINGTON (AP) The maker of an experimental coronavirus drug is giving up the specialty status it received days ago from U.S. regulators.

Gilead Sciences faced criticism from public advocacy groups that it could use the designation to boost profits amid the pandemic.

The specialty status for rare disease treatments is potentially worth millions of dollars in tax breaks and competition-free sales.

The designation was created by Congress decades ago to encourage companies to develop drugs for niche diseases and conditions.

Gilead Sciences said Wednesday it would ask the Food and Drug Administration to revoke the designation it received this week.