Monday, July 22, 2019 - The US Congress and Gilead Sciences, defenders of the free market system, have been going toe to toe in the court room as well as in the media's court of public opinion regarding the ethics of charging exhorbatant prices for HIV prevention drug Truvada. Gilead and the Trump Administration has recently closed a deal that requires Giliead to make $2.4 million bottles of Truvada available for free to those who want it, every year for the next decade. In exchange, Gilead will be able to transition from Truvada to its other branded alternative, Descovy which is currently under review for approval by the Trump Food and Drug Administration. Congress immediately suspected that the deal involved a "quid pro quo" where Gilead was granted the near monopoly in the prophalactic HIV prevention drug market in exchange for the free drugs. The HIV prevention drug market is anticipated to double immediately in 2020, from $3 to $6 billion once the free giveaway goes into effect and the deal would leave Gilead with a competitive advantage over European competitors AstraZeneca Plc, Novartis AG, Sanofi and Bayer AG. Truvada attorneys are representing families and individuals in the Untied States suffering from Truvada's broken bones and kidney failure due to bone density loss and kidney problems from taking Truvada.
The Washington Post reports that the Trump/Gilead Truvada deal is currently under investigation by the House Oversight Committee headed by Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.). The committee in general and representative Alexandria Ortiz in particular thinks that the US taxpayer is the rightful owner of the Truvada patent since the drug was discovered and developed using US government grant money. Indeed, there is a growing swell of support for such thinking in light of the unaffordable pricing Gilead has placed on the drug that prevents the majority of those who need the drug from getting it. According to The Post, "congress has demanded emails and other information from Gilead about negotiations that led to Gilead's pledge to donate free doses of the drug for President Trump's effort to eradicate HIV by 2030." In addition supporters of government legislation to reduce Truvada pricing are citing the efforts being made in New Zealand to make the drug accessible to all who need it regardless of their economic circumstances or the availability of insurance. Many in the US are uninsured or have insurance that requires a high co-pay or deductible.
According to Fortune.com, "certain New Zealand residents will soon be able to get a three-month supply of Truvada for just $5, $3.64 in U.S. money." The New Zealand government will fund the initiative. In addition the HIV preventative program specifically addresses the special demographic groups of individuals that need the drug the most i.e., "men who have sex with men, transgender people who have sex with men, those with higher chances of engaging in risky sexual behavior such as sex without a condom, and people with partners who are HIV positive." That group would correspond with inner-cities resident black and Latino gay men, the group where the disease is spreading the fastest.
The number of cases of HIV has declined by 18% over the last five years and Truvada is getting most of the credit.
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.