Monday, September 23, 2019 - HIV positive individuals and their sexual partners that do not have health insurance are forced to pay around $1800 per month for Truvada, a daily HIV prevention pill. Discrimination against the poor has forced the formation of various groups that hope to lobby the US government to enforce their rights to Truvada's patent on behalf of US taxpayers. Leading the charge in this respect is a group called Break The Patent.org. The group's mission statement is to provide access to Truvada, a miracle drug that is 99% effective in preventing the spread of HIV available to the tens of millions of Americans that cannot afford the drug. Truvada is a pre-exposure prophylactic pill which simply means that HIV negative individuals take the drug before having intercourse with another individual. Most at risk to get HIV are gay black and Latino teenage men and women. Truvada attorneys represent individuals and families that have suffered from bone density loss, fracture, renal impairment and kidney failure from taking Truvada.
According to BreakThePatent.org (BTP), Gilead Sciences manufactures the drug and charges an exorbitant $1800 per month for a pill that cost $6 to make and the high price prevents 90% of the market from having access. BTP also points out that Gilead is not even entitled to the patent to Truvada since the drug was discovered and developed by scientists using US government grant money made available through the National Institute of Health (NIH). Gilead is making billions of dollars from the sale of Truvada every year while 90% of the infected HIV population is suffering and dying. BTP urges concerned citizens to sign a petition that urges the NIH to step in and "break the patent" opening the manufacturer of Truvada available to generic competition. The BTP site points out that breaking Gilead's claim to the Truvada patent is not difficult. "The Bayh-Dole Act of 1980 gives federal funding agencies the right to "March In" and ignore patent exclusivity should the holder fail to acknowledge "health or safety needs" of consumers by, for instance, engaging in price gouging," according to the web site.
Another interesting take on the Break The Patent movement is the fact that US taxpayer money is being sent to subsidize Truvada distribution for free or nearly free in other countries. "As part of international HIV programs, the US pays for generic Truvada within Africa, Southeast Asia, and elsewhere for $6 a month. Meanwhile, Americans pay 250+ times that price due to Gilead's patents." If that fact alone does not infuriate you, you're reading the wrong article. BTP also cites the fact that Truvada is a miracle drug and its distribution should not be left to the profit motives of the free-market system but instead should be treated like other epidemics such as vaccines for Polio, Measles, Mumps, and Tuberculosis where the cures were distributed for free. "If we can get enough people to take the medication, we can end the epidemic once and for all."
OnderLaw, LLC is a St. Louis personal injury law firm handling serious injury and death claims across the country. Its mission is the pursuit of justice, no matter how complex the case or strenuous the effort. The Onder Law Firm has represented clients throughout the United States in pharmaceutical and medical device litigation such as Pradaxa, Lexapro and Yasmin/Yaz, where the firm's attorneys held significant leadership roles in the litigation, as well as Actos, DePuy, Risperdal and others. The firm has represented thousands of persons in these and other products liability litigation, including DePuy hip replacement systems, which settled for $2.5 billion and Pradaxa internal bleeding, which settled for $650 million. The Onder Law Firm won over $300 million in four talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuits in St. Louis to date and other law firms throughout the nation often seek its experience and expertise on complex litigation.