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Advocates demand updates on federal lawsuit over PrEP royalties

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Last week, a coalition lead by PrEP4All, Inc., released a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland and Health & Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra requesting updates and transparency regarding the lawsuit United States of America v. Gilead Sciences Inc.

The U.S. Department of Justice sued Gilead, the maker of Truvada used for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in November 2019. The DOJ is seeking damages against the drugmaker for infringement of Health and Human Services patents.

According to a press release, the advocates are asking for updates on the lawsuit and to commit using any money received to increase access to PrEP.

“Nearly a decade after PrEP was FDA approved, many of the communities that need PrEP the most are still not able to access it,” said James Krellenstein, managing director of strategy and policy at PrEP4All. “This suit could play a critical role in ensuring that those who need PrEP in the US can access it. But that will only happen if the Federal Government commits to reinvesting any funds recovered from the suit to increase access to PrEP.”

PrEP4All said that the lawsuit has not produced any benefits for individuals living with and vulnerable to HIV. Advocates said that by the time the lawsuit does make it to court, more than 100,000 will have been diagnosed with HIV.    

“PrEP was funded with public money,” said Kenyon Farrow, managing director of advocacy and organizing with PrEP4All. “We are asking the federal government to communicate with the community about the status of this suit, and if there is a settlement, that any funds received go to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention to support more PrEP access programs in communities that need it most.”

Gilead has earned at least $10 billion from PrEP sales in the United States.  Despite profits, access to PrEP remains scarce as less than 25% of individuals indicated for PrEP are currently using the drug.   

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