The Truth Behind Gilead
Gilead has known of these serious side effects for a long time. The problem with their HIV drug is the drug’s bioavailability requiring it to be ingested at high doses in order for it be remain effective in combating the HIV virus. The high doses required severely tax a patient’s body by requiring it to process and metabolize large amounts of the drug in addition to fighting the HIV virus and stop or slow its replication. Gilead knew of the serious strain that it placed on patient’s bodies early in the development of the drug. They also knew that a patient’s bones and kidneys were likely to bear the brunt of this harm leading to kidney damage, kidney failure, bone necrosis (bone death), bone mineral density loss and bone fractures. Reports of lactic acidosis and liver damage have also been reported. Gilead failure to warn the public and doctors of the dangers.
To add insult to injury, Gilead allegedly had developed a safer and more effective alternative but intentionally withheld the drug from the public. Gilead knew that if the released the safer, more effective drug, that its sales for the original HIV would be undercut. Simply put, they would lose money. Gilead has a market capitalization of $40 Billion and has seen its profits grow from $5 billion in 2009 to over $10 billion in 2015. Gilead did not release the safer more effective drug TAF until the patent protection ran out and it became less profitable.
In recent months there has been a growing increase in the number of injuries claimed by users of the HIV drug. In 2004, the HIV drug was introduced to treat individuals with HIV in a combination with NRTI’s. Again, this was a breakthrough in medications aimed at helping treat individuals with HIV. In recent months, the drug, was approved by the FDA to treat individuals that are HIV negative as a protection against contracting HIV. This is often referred to as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).
The lawsuits being filed accuse Gilead of creating a defective product and failing to warn the public of the risks in a sufficient manner.
Drug manufacturers have a legal duty to warn the public about the risks and dangers that are associated with taking their drugs. This is a legal duty because it allows patients and their physicians to make informed decisions conceding which drugs they should take. Drug companies, however, are often reluctant to disclosure this information because it hurts their sales. This is putting profits over people.
HIV is a devastating disease. More than 35 million people around the world and more than 700,000 in the United States alone have died from HIV. As recent as 2017, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that over a million people in the U.S. were living with HIV, 40,000 people were recently diagnosed with HIV and over 5,000 people had died from the disease. If left untreated, the HIV virus will weaken a patient’s immune system to a debilitating condition known as Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). The HIV virus destroys the body’s immune system by destroying the T-helper cells. This is accomplished by the virus replicating itself inside the T-cells. Once this occurs, the body’s immune system will cease to effectively fight off infections leaving in the infected individual susceptible to deadly infections.