Wednesday, June 19, 2019 - Two Democrat lawmakers in Congress are looking to claim the royalties they believe are due to the US government and apply them to help more people have access to the anti-HIV treatment called Truvada. Gilead Pharmaceuticals currently controls the production of the breakthrough HIV prophylactic drug, better known in technical circles as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), that is given to healthy people that anticipate being intimate with another who may be infected with the deadly virus. Truvada must be taken every day to be effective.
At issue is an examination of how "the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services manages patents and licenses for medicines that were discovered, at least in part, with funding from taxpayer dollars," according to Stat News.com. A meeting with the House Oversight Committee on how to secure government rights to the Truvada patient met failure as Gilead conceded that they had reached a side agreement with the Trump administration to "give away" Truvada to 200,000 needy individuals free of charge over the next 10-15 years. Lawmakers were left dissatisfied over Gilead refusing to lower the price to a level that would be affordable to the masses. Democrat Senators Stabenow and Cummings are concerned over the billions of dollars of revenues that Gilead earns on the drug every year without the company having to shoulder the research risks. Gilead CEO O'Day testified that without the prospect of unlimited profits few drug or medical device companies would be willing to expose their companies to the risks that would have to be taken to find a cure for other deadly diseases. The Senators feel that laws are being broken that were "designed to promote public availability, protect against unreasonable use, and ensure government rights are maintained." Truvada kidney failure lawyers will provide a free case review to persons who have suffered from kidney failure or broken bones from Truvada.
At the heart of the patent issue continues to be Gilead's refusal to lower the price of a dose of Truvada. Experts believe that the drug can be produced for under $10 per person per month, a mere fraction of the $1500.00 per month Gilead charges, however, there is little the government can do without first wrestling away the patent rights to the drug or as the Democrats would contend, reclaiming the rights that are owned by the American taxpayer.
According to Stat News, experts now believe that Gilead has not met the means test to have the legal standing to claim the right to Truvada's patent. "Dr. Robert Grant, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, used $50 million in federal grants and helped prove that Truvada worked in people who engaged in risky sexual behavior. He maintained that Gilead only donated medicines to the research, but otherwise did not provide leadership, innovation, or funding." Other doctors such as Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the chief of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, have gone on record as saying that only around 10% of those that need Truvada can actually afford it.
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