The FDA All But Approves Descovy Which Will Replace Truvada

An FDA advisory panel has voted 16-2 to approve Truvada-replacement drug Descovy, and in effect extend Gilead's de facto price monopoly over the HIV drug market.

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Friday, August 9, 2019 - The FDA's approval of Truvada replacement drug Descovy is an integral part of the Trump administration's proclaimed war on the spread of HIV. Descovy is a pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) drug which like Truvada, is targeted towards the prevention of the spread of HIV. Descovy is slated to replace HIV preventative drug Truvada in 2020 when Truvada's patent expires. The switch from Truvada to Descovy is part of the planned "free government giveaway program" of the HIV prevention plan to provide 2 million bottles of Truvada/Descovy free per year in each of the next 10-15 years. Experts agree, however, that the 2 million bottles per year are far too little to actually have an impact on the spread of HIV and accuse the initiative as being a marketing scheme to extend Gilead HIV drug monopoly. Truvada lawyers have vast experience handling medical litigation cases and offer a no obligation, free consultation before filing a claim.

Gilead's free drug giveaway program has been met with skepticism and controversy by several lawmakers including US Congressman Elijah Cummings (D) who has accused the free drug giveaway plan of being nothing more than an attempt by Gilead to seamlessly transition from one of the company's drugs to another in what may amount to a quid pro quo deal. It is suspected that the FDA will be under considerable pressure to fast-track the approval of Descovy in return for Gilead's donation of 2 million bottles of Truvada per year, and that is in fact what has happened. Cummings has intimated that the giveaway program has more of the earmarks of a marketing promotion of Descovy than it does of an honest attempt at stopping the spread of HIV. Transitioning from Truvada to Descovy in the free giveaway program will ensure that Gilead will retain their valuable high-paying HIV drug customer base, those with adequate health insurance that covers the exorbitant price of over $20,000 per year for the drug that costs pennies in other countries.

The announcement of Descovy's request of FDA approval of Truvada was timed to coincide with the announcement of the free HIV drug giveaway program. The free Truvada drug giveaway does nothing to reduce the price of a month's supply of the once-daily drug that costs around $2000 per month. Since Truvada's patent is set to expire in 2020, generic competition would certainly force the price of anti-HIV drugs much lower had Gilead not been able to cut this deal. It is now up to the FDA to see if the Gilead's marketing scheme works.

Descovy is targeted towards the prevention of the spread of HIV in men and transgender women who have sex with men, a demographic with the highest incidences of HIV transmission. In addition, the HIV prevention drug giveaway should further refine their market efforts to segment gay, teenage, black and Latino men. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) "18-22-year-old black and Latino gay men report a disproportionate number of new HIV cases each year. An estimated 1,122,900 people had HIV at the end of 2015. Black/African American gay and bisexual men accounted for 19% (218,600) of all people with HIV and 32% of all gay and bisexual men with HIV."

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