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CDC director heckled at AIDSWatch conference over PrEP exclusivity, cost

Truvada pills

ARLINGTON, Va. — CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield Monday was heckled on Tuesday after he tried to avoid answering questions about the exclusivity and cost of Truvada, currently the only drug used for PrEP.

The New York Daily News reported that the first round started 30 minutes into his speech with an activist calling out to “leave the affordable care act in place.” The room erupted in shouts again when Redfield said he couldn’t comment after Jesse Milan, Jr., CEO of AIDS United asked, “Will the CDC request a review of the CDC’s patents and Gilead’s production of Truvada as PrEP in order to obtain possible royalties from Gilead as resources to fund the HIV preventive portfolio and PrEP access?”

According to the Washington Post, one month of Truvada can cost between $1600 and $2000 a month. Gilead, the maker of Truvada, made $3 billion from the drug which was developed using federal funds. In fact, the Post reported that the federal government has the patent for Truvada, but has received no money.

“We shut the director down because he kept calling people living with HIV infected and when asked about the PrEPissue he said that he had no comment about it,” said Aaron Matthew Laxton, a St. Louis HIV activist who is attending the conference. “So we did what we do best and we shut that motherfucker down.”

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