KUALA LUMPUR, May 9 — Gilead Sciences announced this week that a generic version of Truvada will be available in September 2020.
Gilead has agreed to release its patent to manufacture and sell the drug.
Truvada is the pill used for pre-exposure prophylaxis (also known as PrEP) of HIV transmission. When taken daily, it is able to prevent transmission of the virus. Risk of contracting HIV is reduced by 99 percent. It is the only approved medication for HIV prevention
Gilead stated that based on a 2014 agreement with Israel-based Teva Pharmaceuticals, the launch of a generic version of Truvada in 2020 could be expected. This would be a year earlier than originally expected.
A pressure campaign #BreakThePatent by activists to force Gilead to make the drug more widely available has been credited for the breakthrough.
They hope that with the drug available at a lower cost, more people might be treated.
A month’s supply of generic Truvada costs as little as USD 70. However, in the United States a month’s supply sells for USD 1,600 to 2,000.
Recent news revealed that the development and testing of Truvada for PrEP was actually mostly funded by the US Government and not Gilead. This would imply that the US Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and not Gilead, would own or control the patent for the drug.
Gilead holds patents on the Truvada co-formulation and the two drugs it contains. However, the US government separately patented the use of the pill for PrEP in 2012. CDC’s patent is expected to remain in effect until 2031.
This was revealted through an outside review was commissioned by PrEP4All advocates, who researched the government patents.
This could also mean that Gilead owes hundred of millions in royalties to the CDC from all its Truvada sales since 2012.
Gilead asserts that the government’s patents for Truvada for PrEP are invalid.