Lawsuits allege certain HIV drugs may cause bone loss and kidney damage. The medicines that contain tenofovir include Truvada, Viread, Atripla, Complera and Stribild. Plaintiffs who developed bone loss, osteopenia and osteoporosis of the spine, neck and hip, allege that manufacturer, Gilead Sciences, intentionally delayed developing a safer version of the HIV medicine to profit from its lucrative monopoly.
The complaints allege that manufacturer and it’s executives knew as early as 2000 that the company’s own scientists had developed a less toxic form of tenofovir, but hid it in order to rake in billions of dollars as the world’s most prescribed medicines for HIV. The HIV patients claim they suffered from as many as 10 years of “additional accumulated kidney and bone toxicity” using the drug as the company kept the safer version on a shelf in its lab.
History of the HIV Drugs
In the 1980s, the drug was discovered by European scientists. Gilead, a small biotech firm, bought the rights to sell the drug and in 1997, the company showed that it fought HIV. However, the high doses carried side effect not disclosed on the label. In April 2001, the scientists published research on a different chemical version of the medicine called tenofovir alafenamide fumarate, or TAF, thought to be less toxic.
Gilead then paid doctors across the country to give TAF to patients in small clinical trials. The positive results of those studies were not published for years. Instead, in October 2004, Gilead abruptly announced that it was ending research on TAF and it continued to pour money into selling the older drug, which was bringing in billions of dollars each year. In November 2015, the FDA approved TAF in a combination pill with three other medicines. The drug was called Genvoya. Other new pills also containing TAF include Odefsey and Descovy.
The lawsuits claim that Gilead delayed the development of TAF in order to extend the number of years where patents shielded the medicines from competition, allowing it to charge high prices. “By holding on to its research and shelving TAF, Gilead could patent TAF separately and save it for development when their patent and exclusivity on TDF ran out, in 20 years,” the lawsuit claims.
Do not stop taking a drug unless you receive medical advice first. Contact us if you need additional information about this litigation at 1-800-814-4540.