If you’ve been watching the news lately, then you’ve likely heard about the Truvada lawsuits. There are two elements to these lawsuits that make them particularly troubling. Firstly, the company that manufactured Truvada, Gilead Pharmaceuticals, appears to have known that there were significant concerns regarding side effects. Secondly, Gilead Pharmaceuticals is believed to have engineered a second drug with significantly fewer side effects that accomplishes the same thing. Instead of coming forward with their newer, safer drug, Gilead sat on the newer drug and waited for their patent to run out on the first medication, Truvada. If this is true, then Gilead has indeed breached the public’s trust.
Failure to Warn Lawsuits
For the purposes of legal discourse, drugs are considered products. That means that when a dangerous drug injures a patient, that patient can file a lawsuit under the theory of product liability. In order to file a successful product liability claim, the plaintiff must show that the product was dangerous or defective, contaminated during manufacture, or that the drug company failed to warn doctors and patients about a serious side effect.
In the case of Truvada, plaintiffs are alleging that Gilead knew about the serious side effects, had a safer drug that they refused to release onto the market, and withheld information from doctors and patients about the side effects of that medication.
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Types of Truvada Injuries
Side effects caused by Truvada fall into one of two categories: Those involving the bones and those involving the kidneys. If you have taken Truvada and now have serious complications related to your kidneys, you are entitled to file a claim against the company that manufactured the drug.
Additionally, if you have suffered bone problems such as fractures, osteoporosis, osteopenia, or other bone-related problems, you can also file a claim against Gilead.
Examining the Lawsuits Against Gilead
Gilead is alleged to have put profits over patients and breached the public trust in refusing to release a drug that had significantly fewer side effects than the one they had placed onto the market. Further, Gilead is accused of failing to warn doctors and patients about the risks associated with their drug, TDF.
Now, Gilead is at the center of thousands of lawsuits claiming that their drug caused irreversible kidney damage and there is a second lawsuit over the patent of TDF, the drug they manufactured. The lawsuits related to the side effects of the drug are expected to cost Gilead millions. The lawsuit related to the patent may cost Gilead over $1 billion.
In the U.S. costs related to Truvada can easily be in excess of $20,000 per year. In other countries where they sell a generic form of the medication, the costs are typically less than $100 per year. The problem for drug makers is that they only have a certain period of time before they lose exclusive access to the production of the drug and other companies are allowed to synthesize generics. This means that they will maximize their profits only within that window of time.
The U.S. healthcare system may not be perfect, but there is a logic behind working it like this. The money the company gains while the drug is under patent can be put towards research costs. However, if a drug is causing serious medical problems for patients while the company that is still turning a huge profit on the drug has already developed a safer alternative, then the company is destroying the lives of millions of patients in order to maximize their profits. This, of course, is an act against the public good.
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What Does Gilead Say About These Allegations?
Gilead maintains that while they did fail to warn patients about certain complications related to their drugs, those complications remain relatively rare. The drug is still on the market today as a preventative measure against HIV. Doctors who now prescribe Truvada to patients are routinely required to order blood work once every three months to ensure that their patient’s kidneys are not adversely affected by the medication.
In March of 2019, Gilead attempted to get the lawsuit alleging that they withheld the safer medication to maximize the profits of Truvada while the drug was still under patent dismissed. They lost that battle.
A team of attorneys representing HIV patients in California was able to successfully show that Gilead had a safer drug that could have prevented several patients from enduring a lifetime of serious complications. The judge rejected the request to dismiss the case and the cases will now move forward.
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Truvada and Renal Failure
Truvada is believed to cause severe complications with the kidneys. This has left several of their patients with end-stage renal failure. These complications are irreversible. The only treatment is either a new kidney or a lifetime on dialysis. The life expectancy for those on dialysis is about 10 years, since dialysis only accomplishes a small fraction of what functioning kidneys do.
In other words, for some folks, this will be a death sentence.
Should You File a Lawsuit Against Truvada?
If you’ve been on Truvada either because you have current HIV infection or you took the drug as a precautionary measure against HIV, and you have suffered kidney problems since taking the medication, you should file a lawsuit against Gilead Pharmaceuticals. If you’ve experienced increasing bone problems, you should file a lawsuit against Gilead Pharmaceuticals.
While no amount of money will ever return your kidney function to you, tort lawsuits often remain the only way for those who have been seriously impacted by dangerous products to get the justice that they deserve. In this case, Gilead knowingly allowed a dangerous medication to destroy people’s lives while having a safer option under lock and key. They did this so they could maximize their profits. If folks like you stand up to them and say that’s not okay, these lawsuits will devour the profits they made on the backs of patients who have already suffered enough.
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