AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is calling on Gilead Sciences Inc., one of the largest manufacturers of HIV/AIDS drugs, to set up a $10 billion victim compensation fund for patients harmed after taking the drug maker’s TDF-based (tenofovir disoproxil fumarate) drugs as part of their treatment for HIV or AIDS or taken by uninfected individuals as part of the HIV prevention strategy known as pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP.
AHF’s demand for a victim compensation fund from Gilead comes as HIV Litigation Attorneys announce its filing last Friday in Alameda County (Superior Court of California County of Alameda, Case # RG19026805) of a new personal injury lawsuit seeking to hold the Bay Area drug maker accountable for its actions around its failure to rectify a known defect in TDF’s drug formulation. The lawsuit alleges Gilead knew that it had a safer version of tenofovir available – tenofovir alafenamide (TAF) – but shelved it in order to extend its profits from and monopoly of TDF. The newest lawsuit also alleges that Gilead failed to warn patients of the damaging side effects of TDF and actively misrepresented TDF’s efficacy and risks knowing that TAF, the safer alternative, existed in its own laboratories.
TDF is a key drug used for treatment of patients with HIV and AIDS and is also used (under the brand name, Truvada—TDF and emtricitabine) by uninfected individuals as part of the HIV prevention strategy known as PrEP. However, the medication causes damage, sometimes permanent and sometimes fatal to the kidneys and bones.
“Gilead acknowledges it put out an inferior drug with significant and harmful side effects while it sat on the superior TAF-based alternative drug. Gilead must be held accountable for putting its profits over public health, that is why we have filed these legal actions,” said Liza Brereton of HIV Litigation Attorneys. “This lawsuit in Alameda County follows three other actions previously filed by HIV Litigation Attorneys in Los Angeles, which were the first of their kind to be filed in the country.”
AIDS Healthcare Foundation is funding this litigation. AHF will not receive any financial recovery from the lawsuit in excess of its actual costs.
There is also now an explosion of similar cases being filed against Gilead by other plaintiffs’ firms in California and Federal Courts after HIV Litigation Attorneys first led the legal battle to get over the threshold preemption issues.
All the civil cases by HIV Litigation Attorneys assert that Gilead’s zeal to maintain and maximize its corporate profits came at the expense of the health and wellbeing of its customers who were prescribed and taking TDF, which, according to the pleadings, the company knew as far back as 2001 from its own studies and other research was, ‘…highly toxic in the doses prescribed and risked permanent and possibly fatal damage to the kidneys and bones.’
The latest case also asserts that Gilead deliberately and maliciously suppressed from the market its alternate and newer formulation of the drug, TAF, in order to extend the patent life—and sales—of its existing medications that included TDF. Gilead earned over $18 billion in net profit in 2015.
The lawsuit filed Friday against Gilead in Alameda County names 40 plaintiffs who have been injured from Gilead’s TDF-based drugs. A hearing to coordinate all of the various cases filed throughout California is set to be heard on July 30 in Los Angeles, where HIV Litigation Attorneys will submit briefing to seek to help lead the litigation against Gilead.
Source: Company Press Release