Monday, November 11, 2019 - The New York Times reports that only about one-quarter of the number of people that need to take anti-HIV PRep drug Truvada either have access to the drug or can afford the drug and the medical examinations that are required. The inability to get the drug to those that need it the most has prompted the federal government to take action and attempt to reclaim the drug's patent from Gilead Sciences claiming that the US taxpayer is the rightful Truvada patent owner and that Gilead Sciences infringed upon it. A lawsuit was filed to that extent by the US Department of Health and Human Services this past week. The Trump Administration has declared the government's intention to wipe out AIDS by 2013 and has implemented a free Truvada giveaway program starting in 2020. Gilead will give donate 2.4 million bottles of Truvada each year for the next decade to regional Centers for Disease Control who will make the drug available via community outreach programs to those without health insurance for free. Truvada kidney failure and broken bones lawyers represent families and individuals harmed from Truvada's side effects and offer a free consultation.
The lawsuit against Gilead claims that Gilead scientists developed Truvada using millions of dollars of government grants making the US taxpayer the rightful patent owner. Alex M. Azar II, the secretary of health and human services told the Times, "Gilead must respect the U.S. patent system, the groundbreaking work by researchers with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the substantial taxpayer contributions to the development of these drugs." Social scientists view the government's lawsuit as a milestone and turning point in the way a government sees not only Gilead's Truvada patent but also the hundreds of other drugs that were discovered and developed with government grants.
It is critical to take Truvada daily as the enzymes affected by the formula accumulates in the cells and blocks the HIV transmission. To obtain a Truvada prescription an individual must test positive for HIV and other related illnesses including osteoporosis and kidney disease. Each time a Truvada prescription is refilled the patient must undergo the same scrutiny and doctor visits can cost upwards of $500 each. Truvada costs around $1600 per month putting the drug out of reach for anyone without health insurance. Other countries like Australia have nationalized the production and distribution of Truvada and other anti-HIV drugs and the drug is given away for free on the continent. This goes for many countries on the African continent as well. Critics of Gilead's free Truvada giveaway program contend that the effort is too little and too late. HIV activists say that the giveaway is only about 1/4 the amount needed and the program fails to address the group that needs it the most, teenage black and Latino gay men and women who shy away from the drug because parental consent is required to obtain the drug. The State of California has, in my opinion, done more than others to make Truvada available to all, when it recently made the drug available over-the-counter in the state encouraging young, sexually active minorities to take the drug.
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