Monday, September 2, 2019 - Gilead Sciences is preparing to give away 2.4 million bottles of the drug Truvada to people without insurance every year for the next decade, but critics of the plan think that more like 5 times that amount will be needed. Truvada is 99% effective when taken as directed and other safe-sex practices are used in halting the spread of HIV from sexual partner to partner. The problem with the logic behind the government free giveaway is that whileTruvada prevents the transmission of HIV, it does not cure AIDS. Gilead is not giving away "an additional" 2.4 million bottles each year. The same people that received the first batch of 2.4 million bottles of Truvada in year one, will continue to need to take the drug in year 2, year 3, year 4 and so on. Therefore, if 2.4 million bottles only service one-fifth of the people who need the drug, the problem will never get better and HIV will continue to spread at a more or less constant rate. Truvada lawsuit attorneys representing families and people harmed from Truvada side effects of bone loss and kidney problems offer a free consultation.
Rather than give away an increasing amount of the drug every year to make a dent in the AIDS epidemic, Gilead will continue to sell most of the drug for a ridiculous and unaffordable price. Gilead Sciences CEO Daniel O'Day has argued before Congress that the company has a right to charge $20,000 per year for the daily dose of Truvada and that the high price reflects the company having to absorb the cost of the research and development needed to discover and produce the drug. Those in Congress argue that logic may apply for other drugs, however, anti-HIV Truvada is different and an exception should be made. Congress argues that Truvada's patent belongs to the American taxpayer since research and development into the drug was largely funded with money made available through US government grants. Congress feels that the patent to Truvada belongs to the American taxpayer. Congress alleges that the company is bilking the American public with the $20,000 price tag and cites the company's recent income statement for proof. According to Gilead, "Full-year 2018 total revenues were $22.1 billion, compared to $26.1 billion for 2017. Net income for 2018 was $5.5 billion."
In addition to being unwilling to increase the number of free dosages given away to the uninsured, the Trump/Gilead Truvada giveaway is also being accused of being nothing more than a ploy to sell more Descovy, the drug Gilead developed years ago to take over for Truvada when Truvada's patent expired in 2020. Patients given Truvada for free will be transitioned into receiving and eventually having to pay for Descovy. Gilead is counting on converting Truvada patients into Descovy patients and blocking out the generic competition while simultaneously maintaining a multi-billion dollar cash flow. Gilead has deliberately kept Descovy, a much safer drug than Truvada, off of the market for years to maximize the profits for Truvada.
One would think that the US government and Gilead Sciences could come to a compromise for the sake of public health as well as the good of Gilead and make more anti-HIV drug Truvada accessible. In the hope of making Truvada available for all that need it "Senator Kamala Harris, D-California, has released a bill to dramatically increase access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). The PrEP Access and Coverage Act would require all private and public insurance plans to cover the HIV prevention pill and related services with no out-of-pocket costs for patients. The bill would also enhance access for the uninsured," according to AJMC.com. The bill would fund and make grant money available on the state and local level to uninsured individuals wishing to purchase the anti-HIV drug.
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