By MATTHEW PERRONE and RICHARD LARDNER

WASHINGTON (AP) — The pharmaceutical giant that makes a promising coronavirus drug has registered it as a rare disease treatment with U.S. regulators.

The status can be worth millions of dollars in tax breaks and competition-free sales.

Experts who have studied the so-called “orphan drug” program say Gilead Science's request — and the Food and Drug Administration's decision to grant it Monday — seem inappropriate given the rapidly expanding threat of the outbreak.

But an analyst calls the filing “pretty standard.” Gilead did not immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday. The FDA said the disease fits the criteria for a rare disease at this point.

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