Gilead Sciences Announces Generic HIV Drug Coming In 2020
A big move in HIV prevention was announced on Wednesday, when Gilead Sciences revealed that a generic version of Truvada will be available on September 30, 2020.
Truvada is the pill taken for HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP. It’s usually taken daily to prevent contracting HIV, according to the Center For Disease Control.
According to CNBC, Douglas Brooks, Gilead’s executive director for community engagement, said in an email shared by the advocacy group PrEP4All:
“Gilead reached an agreement with Teva Pharmaceuticals in 2014 to allow the early launch of a generic version of Truvada into the market in 2020, a year earlier than required.”
The info about the generic Truvada is also laid out on page 35 of a Gilead SEC filing, which was released on Wednesday morning.
While a month’s supply of generic Truvada is available in certain countries across the globe for as little as $70, a month’s supply of Truvada in the U.S. can run as much as $1,600 to $2,000. Activists have been trying to make the pill more affordable and easily accessible in order to curb the global HIV epidemic.
In this year’s State of the Union address, Donald Trump announced his “Ending the HIV Epidemic” plan, which would rely heavily on Truvada in order to prevent the spread of the virus. However, Truvada’s current price threatens to make this plan extremely expensive, according to activists.
Previously, in a call with investors in the second quarter of 2017, then-Gilead CEO John Milligan explained, “We don’t expect generic Truvada in the United States until 2021.”
However, it seems the access is coming sooner than expected. Activists who’ve been pushing Gilead to #BreakThePatent called the Wednesday news “a victory for the LGBTQ+ community, for HIV activists, and for U.S. taxpayers,” particularly because HIV is still high within Black LGBTQ+ communities.
Despite the generic pill news, activists also had their critiques since Teva Pharmaceuticals will be the sole manufacturer of the drug so far. In a statement from the PrEP4All Collaboration, Dr. Aaron S. Lord argued that allowing just one generic manufacturer to make generic PrEP “will do little to reduce the price in a way that will increase access, and PrEP4All remains suspicious of the terms and lack of transparency surrounding the Teva settlement.”
PrEP4All had recently publicized info that Gilead’s development and testing of Truvada as PrEP was almost entirely funded by the U.S. government. Therefore the CDC, not Gilead, controls the patent for PrEP.
In an email describing the agreement between Gilead and Teva Pharmaceuticals, Gilead’s senior director for community engagement, Douglas Brooks, said, “Pursuant to a settlement agreement reached in 2014 … Teva will be able to launch generic fixed-dose combinations of emtricitabine and TDF … on September 30, 2020.”
“This agreement is not related to current discussions with the U.S. government to broaden access to Truvada for PrEP for vulnerable populations and support the federal plan to end the HIV epidemic. Those discussions are ongoing.”
Lets hope that this agreement with Teva will be a move forward to more affordable HIV prevention drugs. Seems like there’s still a lot of work to be done.