Activists express doubt that prices will drop, call for government to collect on unpaid royalties.
NEW YORK — Gilead, the makers of HIV and PrEP medication Truvada, said in an SEC filing that a generic version of the drug will be available in 2020.
NBC OUT broke the story early Wednesday afternoon.
“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,” wrote Douglas Brooks, Gilead’s executive director for community engagement, in an email shared with NBC News by the advocacy group PrEP4All.
NBC OUT reported that generic Truvada in other countries costs as little as $70 a month, in the U.S. it can cost $1,600 to $2,000 a month. It also is often not covered by insurance.
“While Gilead’s announcement that generic Truvada will be made available in the United States a year early is a victory for the LGBTQ+ community, for HIV activists, and for U.S. taxpayers, this should only be the beginning,” said Dr. Aaron Lord of PREP4ALL. “Even their announcement today leaves Gilead with exclusive rights to Truvada as PrEP for another 15 months and Teva as the only generic manufacturer on the U.S. market.”
Lord said that the move would do little to lower the price in the U.S. and that his organization was suspicious of the lack of transparency.
“I find any moves by Gilead to be inherently untrustworthy when it comes to protecting their bottom line,” said Mark S. King, an HIV activist who runs the My Fabulous Disease blog. “While it is heartening to see Gilead surrender their patent a year early, the fact is they could do it today. And none of this should have any bearing on the CDC moving to collect profits from Truvada as prep. The CDC is not collecting tens of millions of dollars in royalties that the American taxpayer is owed. I continue to find the level to which Gilead owns our HIV/AIDS response, on a governmental and community level, to be deeply troubing and problematic.”