In 2012, Truvada from Gilead Sciences Inc. he became the first officially approved medicine to prevent HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. It was a public health triumph run by years of state-funded research.
Seven years later, it Efforts to prevent HIV in the US have stopped. Only a fraction of American patients who can benefit treatment called PrEP, they receive it.
The House of Representatives of the Monitoring and Reform Committee holds hearings in Washington, DC Gilead, the company that makes the expensive Truvada.
Activistas which promotes prevention and treatment necessary for AIDS patients and some doctors blame the 21,000 dollar annually for treatment with the Gilead drug.
They assure it Government should use patents from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention United States to lower the price, perhaps seeking royalties from Gilead.
On Thursday, the House of Representatives Monitoring and Reform Committee held a hearing as He faced activists and doctors against the new CEO of Gilead, Daniel O & # 39; Day.
"We are suffering from the weight of your company's prices," said Aaron Lord, a neurologist and co-founder of PrEP4All collaboration, who has asked the government for it Donald Trump to lower the cost of Truvada. He said the rates of infection have barely moved since the drug was approved. "Why not lower the Truvada price to $ 15 a month?" He questioned
Day, which took command of the biotech giant in March, said it Gilead is working hard to make Truvada more accessible. The company donates free medications for uninsured patients and provides assistance to insured patients who cannot afford it.
Gilead spent $ 1.1 million to develop the drug, first approved in 2004.
"Gilead invented Truvada, no one else"Day told lawmakers," CDC patents are invalid, he said.
While Gilead created the drug, The US government was very involved in making the use of preventive reality a reality. The CDC performed early experiments on monkeys suggesting that the two compounds forming Truvada were more effective than one for prevention. The federal government also received patents on the use of the compounds in Truvada for HIV prevention. These patents were not known until the activists discovered them recently.
"Gilead seems to be using CDC technology for free without compensating the CDC, without compensating the taxpayer, "Christopher Morten, patent attorney and researcher at Yale Law School, said in an interview, reviewed CDC patents at the request of the PrEP4All Collaboration and concluded that they were valid and executable.
the The US government also sponsored a key test, published in 2010, which established the effectiveness of Truvada for the prevention of HIV in humans.
"The role of Gilead was limited to donating study medicine and placebo," said Robert M. Grant, a physician at the University of California, San Francisco, and senior author of the trial, called Gilead "a reluctant partner" in the survey, until demand for preventive use increased in 2013.
The Day replied that two Gilead researchers were co-authors of the 2010 Preventive Trial and that there were controversies in the early days of using Pills for PrEP, which is short for pre-exposure prophylaxis. The company has said that a wide range of factors contribute under-utilization of PrEP, including stigma, homophobia and limited awareness among suppliers and patients.
The CEO called the company's agreement with the federal government to donate up to 2.4 million bottles of Truvada annually to help Americans without insurance risking HIV "one of the biggest drug donations". The effort announced last week coincides with a call from President Donald Trump in his speech on the state of the Union, in February, to end the epidemic.
Truvada generated $ 3,000 million in revenue for Gilead last year, including 2,600 million in the United States. The price had increased more than 50% since the drug was approved for HIV prevention, to $ 1,780 per month, according to data compiled by Bloomberg Intelligence.
Democratic legislators repeatedly pointed out that in countries there Generic Truvada is available, the cost is considerably lower. Non-patent treatments sell for around USD 60 per yearsaid Rochelle Walensky, an infectious disease expert at Harvard Medical School.
According to a study published in the newspaper Launched HIV last year, in the Australian state of New South Wales, where Sydney is located, HIV diagnoses decreased by 25% for men gay and bisexual.
The Truvada patent in the United States expires in 2021, but Gilead has an agreement with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. which allows Teva to introduce a generic brand.