Gilead has sold TDF-based drugs without warning the LGBTQIA community, despite the fact that they are toxic. The company misled physicians and the public by claiming that there was no alternative safer medication. In fact, Gilead ceased TDF studies after its patent expired in 2018. Yet, despite this, the company still failed to warn the LGBTQIA Community of the dangers of TDF. Today, 1.1 million people are living with HIV/AIDS in the United States. About 60,000 people have come forward with injuries associated with Gileads TDF Drugs, including kidney damage and bone density issues.
Gilead’s greed and disregard for patient safety
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation and other advocacy groups have criticized Gilead for its high prices for HIV and hepatitis C drugs and have asked Congress to investigate the company. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation has staged two protests to draw attention to Gilead’s practices. It has also sued Gilead and urged lawmakers to take action.
In December 2002, Gilead announced the Access Program for TDF drugs. The aim was to make these medications available in 68 developing countries at preferential prices. As of August 2005, these drugs were available at $208 per patient per year. This was a significant discount compared to the prices in developed countries. In comparison, a year’s supply of TDF costs $4,934 in Spain. Gilead also announced that the Access Program was being expanded from 68 to 97 countries in March 2005. However, patients in middle-income countries are still excluded from the reduced prices.
During the TDF patent exclusivity, Gilead withheld its safer drug TAF from the market. This allowed Gilead to maximize its profits while keeping the market monopolistic. Moreover, Gilead also encouraged prescribers to switch their patients from TDF to TAF before the entry of generic TDF into the market. By doing this, Gilead was indirectly subsidizing patients with HIV by preventing them from obtaining alternative HIV treatments.
Its patents on TDF
The company has filed for patents on TDF drugs in several countries, including the US and India. But these applications are not yet finalized, and the company has not yet decided if they will enforce the patents. In India, HIV/AIDS groups and the government pharmaceutical laboratory have filed patent oppositions. This could result in the patents being invalidated. But it could also create greater competition for generic manufacturers.
The patent protections on these drugs are designed to prevent generic versions of the products. But Gilead has been accused of abusing the system and exploiting patients to boost its profits. The company has long argued that the profits generated by its prescription drugs are what allow it to continue to innovate.
To address this issue, the pharmaceutical giant has announced the Access Program. Under this program, Gilead will sell its TDF drugs in 68 developing countries at a discounted price. Since August 2005, TDF is available in these countries at a price of $208 per year, which is significantly cheaper than the price in developed countries. For comparison, a single year’s supply of TDF in Spain costs $4,934. In March 2005, the Access Program was extended to 97 countries, but middle-income countries are still excluded from the reduced prices.
Its lack of research on a less toxic drug
In a recent lawsuit, the AIDS Health Foundation alleged that drug maker Gilead had manipulated the patent system to withhold a less toxic alternative from patients, while at the same time maximizing profits. The lawsuit claimed that Gilead paid doctors to research a less toxic version of TDF in 2002, but failed to disclose the results to patients. Instead, Gilead quietly filed for patents on the drug and made profits on TDF. The company also failed to disclose that it had completed research on a less toxic drug, and kept its findings a secret, despite the fact that it had patented the new version of TAF.
Gilead also continued to pursue the TAF program, filing seven patent applications between 2004 and 2005 and continuing to downplay the risk of using TDF. The lawsuit seeks damages for patients who were harmed by the drug, and class action status.
Its profit from the sale of TDF
In the first half of 2017, Gileads’ profit from the sales of TDF drugs slowed to $73 million, a drastic drop from the $243 million it earned in the same period last year. As a result, the company’s HIV drugs, including Truvada and Biktarvy, accounted for more than half of its $12.8 billion in revenue. However, the company has recently invested in new HIV drugs like Trodelvy, which have the potential to generate $10 billion in peak sales.
During this time, Gileads continued to apply for patents on the TDF drug. This allowed Gilead to keep profiting from the sale of TDF drugs while downplaying their risks. The drug’s toxicity caused the AIDS-related deaths of many people, and the lawsuit filed against Gilead aims to hold the company responsible for the resulting deaths.
As a result, Gilead has been accused of abusing the patent system to increase profits. While many companies extend their patents to prevent generic competitors from being sold, this process makes a name-brand manufacturer lose money. Generic competition reduces profits for name-brand manufacturers and ultimately removes the monopoly on a drug.