Earlier this month, the Superior Court of California ruled that personal injury lawsuits filed against Gilead Science, Inc. over its drug tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) can proceed. The company had attempted to dismiss the cases, which allege that HIV/AIDS medications based on TDF cause permanent kidney and bone damage. The court rejected all but one of Gilead’s arguments in affirming the right of the plaintiffs to file suit.
Dangers of TDF-based HIV drugs
TDF is an antiretroviral drug that is included in HIV medications to regulate the viral load of patients. Some of the brand names of the medications incorporating TDF include Truvada, Viread, Atripla, Complera, and Stribild.
Studies show that the alternative formulation of tenofovir alafenamide (TAF) is far less toxic than TDF and can effectively be used at lower dosages. Despite this, according to the lawsuits, Gilead delayed testing TAF for more than a decade despite knowing that TDF could cause significant harm. More specifically, they allege that Gilead knew of the dangers of TDF as far back as 2001 and began testing TAF in 2002, but shelved the development of TAF in order to milk more profits out of its TDF patent.
Patients in multiple states sue over TDF toxicity
In May 2018, a pair of California residents filed a class action lawsuit against Gilead alleging personal injury caused by the company’s promotion of TDF-based drugs. The crux of the lawsuit is that Gilead put profits over patient safety because it actively promoted its drugs with the TDF formulation while knowing that TDF is has been associated with serious – even life-threatening – risks and side effects, while the alternative TAF does not present the same risks.
Though Gilead fought to dismiss the case, the Superior Court of California overuled all but one of Gilead’s arguments. Judge Carolyn B. Kuhl struck only the plaintiffs’ strict liability claims while finding that the complaint sufficiently pled the remaining tort claims and that the case may proceed. Other lawsuits are pending in Louisiana, but the numbers could rise significantly – tens of thousands of people across the country with HIV have been diagnosed with kidney disease or bone fractures after taking TDF-based medications.
Responding to a TDF toxicity injury
Drugs like TDF-based antiretrovirals are meant to save lives; it is a tragic breach of public trust when greedy companies knowingly release drugs that cause harm instead of improvement. In the process, these injuries cause physical pain, financial loss, and emotional suffering.
If you have suffered an injury, including kidney disease or bone fractures, after taking a TDF drug like Truvada, you have the right to justice and fair compensation for your losses. Showard Law Firm is dedicated to representing those harmed by dangerous drugs. Call today to schedule a confidential review of your case and discuss your options for filing a dangerous drug lawsuit.
Additional TDF toxicity resources:
- AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Victory over Gilead! California Court Rules HIV Drug Personal Injury Cases May Proceed, https://www.aidshealth.org/2019/02/victory-over-gilead-california-court-rules-hiv-drug-personal-injury-cases-may-proceed/
- Los Angeles Times, Patients sue Gilead, saying drug company intentionally delayed safer HIV medicine, https://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-gilead-hiv-drug-lawsuit-20180509-story.html
- AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Martinez v. Gilead Sciences, Inc., Class Action Complaint, https://www.aidshealth.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/class-action-complaint-final.pdf