Truvada is one of a number of drugs prescribed for HIV. While the drug has shown great promise preventing HIV from developing into full-blown AIDS, it has also sparked some controversy. Truvada is linked to kidney problems and osteoporosis. In the case of kidney failure, death, or a lifetime on dialysis is a likely outcome. Those who show symptoms of osteoporosis are at increased risk of breaking bones. Here, we’ll discuss Truvada lawsuits.
Drug Liability Lawsuits
Under the law, drugs are considered products. When a company produces a product, it owes the consumer a duty of care to ensure that their product is safe. In cases where the product does have some dangers associated with it, the public and doctors who prescribe the drug must be warned in advance so that doctors can make an informed judgment as to whether or not the cure is worse than the disease.
Not only did Truvada’s manufacturer, Gilead, fail to disclose the dangers of Truvada, but there are allegations that they actively suppressed studies and data that would have made the dangers known to the public earlier. To make matters worse, Gilead is alleged to have withheld a safer drug with fewer side effects to boost their Truvada profits and extend their industry dominance in the market of HIV-related medications.
Failure to Warn Lawsuits
In product liability lawsuits, claims are filed against manufacturers when their product is defectively designed, defectively manufactured, or there is an inherent danger that is not properly disclosed to the public. In this case, Gilead appears to have failed to adequately warn the public about an intrinsic danger of their product.
In these cases, plaintiffs can claim that had they been notified prior to having taken the drug, they could have taken some measure that would have prevented a serious negative consequence. In terms of Truvada, that negative consequence is bone density loss and kidney damage.
What Is Truvada?
Truvada was designed to help fight the virus that causes AIDS, HIV. It works by preventing the virus from multiplying within the body. As such, it does not eliminate or cure the patient of the virus but simply holds it at bay so it doesn’t destroy the patient’s immune system.
As a result, there are many individuals without AIDS who took Truvada as a precautionary measure. This is perhaps because they had partners with HIV or they were particularly afraid of acquiring the virus.
Truvada is composed of two major pharmaceuticals, one of which is known as tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF). This drug has been around since the 1980s but was limited in application due to the fact that it could only be taken intravenously. Gilead Sciences, Inc. purchased the drug and then modified it so that it could be produced and taken in pill form. Oral TDF was made available to the public in 2001 under the brand name Viread.
Truvada contains both TDF and another chemical, emtricitabine, which also limits HIV’s ability to reproduce albeit in a different way. Truvada was approved for the market and became widely available in 2004.
Side Effects Associated with Truvada
There are numerous side effects associated with the drug. Some of these are mild and will go away with time, while others are serious and will have a lifelong impact. The more serious side effects include:
- Kidney damage and failure,
- Osteoporosis / reduced bone density, and
- Lactic acidosis.
Did Gilead Withhold a Safer Drug from the Market?
A class-action lawsuit filed in California alleges that Gilead had a safer drug but withheld it from the market in order to increase the profits of its Truvada brand. As of 2019, eight patients have filed a lawsuit making this allegation.
According to the allegation, Gilead waited until the patents ran out on their Truvada brand before introducing a second medication to the market which had fewer side effects. They did this in order to increase the length of time the drug would be under patent for. By stacking patents in this manner, companies can maximize their profits and ensure that they always have one product under patent.
The result of this, the lawsuit claims, is that there were numerous individuals who were impacted by the more dangerous drug who may have never developed serious complications related to the older drug.
This drug was patented in 2015, yet the patent application shows that Gilead had data on this drug going all the way back to at least 2005.
Did Gilead Know the Newer Drug was Safer?
It’s hard to believe that they didn’t. One of the main reasons why TDF is so dangerous is because it must be taken in high doses over a very long period of time. This results in added stress on the kidneys as they try to process the drug in high quantities. This results in renal damage which, in turn, results in kidney failure. One complication of this is lactic acidosis.
The newer drug, TAF, uses a second chemical tenofovir alafenamide fumarate, which makes the drug more effective in lower doses. When applying for the patent in 2015, Gilead used data from tests performed in 2005 to convince the FDA to greenlight its newer and safer drug. That would have been one year after Gilead patented Truvada in 2004.
During this period of time, Gilead made billions off of suffering AIDS patients so that they could retain their dominance in the industry as the leader in AIDS treatment. By withholding the newer, safer, drug from the market, Gilead made billions on the suffering of American citizens.
Talk to a Drug Liability Attorney Today If you’ve been injured by Truvada or another dangerous drug, the attorneys at the Roger Ghai Law Offices can help you file a claim against the pharmaceutical company that sold you the dangerous chemical. History has taught us that these companies will continue to put profits before people until someone comes in and takes those profits away from them. Talk to us for more information today.