The California-based pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences, Inc. is being sued by dozens of HIV/AIDS patients who claim the company stalled the development of a safer drug in its own laboratory for the sole purpose of maximizing profits.
Lawsuits claim Gilead put profits over safety
The plaintiffs are seeking to hold Gilead accountable for allegedly failing to alert consumers about a known defect in its most popular HIV medication: tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF), knowing that tenofovir alafenamide was much safer and had less risk of causing bone or kidney damage.
Moreover, the lawsuits against Gilead claim the defendant willfully failed to warn patients about the life-altering side effects of TDF drugs and misrepresented their efficacy, putting thousands of people at needless risk.
According to court documents, plaintiffs say that Gilead continued to promote its TDF medication, despite known risks of bone density loss and kidney injury, so it could profit from sales before the patent expired in 2015.
The majority of the complaints against Gilead are pending in the California Superior Court (Los Angeles County), though a handful have been brought in other states. TDF drugs are manufactured and marketed by the Bay Area company for the treatment or Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) of HIV. These medications are sold under the brand names of Truvada, Viread, Stribild, Complera, Atripla, and Cimduo.
Patients mislead while safer alternative available
The personal injury actions were filed on the grounds that Gilead engaged in gross negligence, fraud, failed to warn consumers about harmful effects, manufactured a drug with design defects, and breached express and implied warranties.
Plaintiffs charge that the drugmaker had access to the safer tenofovir alafenamide (TAF) as early as 2004, but shelved plans to market for another 15 years, waiting for the patient to run out on its TDF drugs.
Truvada, along with other widely-prescribed TDF formulations, is a huge moneymaker for Gilead Sciences, accounting for nearly 70 percent of the company’s profits. In 2018, Gilead netted an estimated $14.6 billion from HIV medications.
Misrepresentation of bone and kidney risks
Lawsuits also contend that Gilead knew as early as 2001 that TDF was potentially toxic to the bones and kidneys of all patients, not only those with a medical history of renal or bone problems. Without adequate warning, patients took the drugs and exposed themselves to dangerous side effects.
Claimants who took Truvada and other TDF drugs have been diagnosed with acute kidney injuries, renal failure, and a marked loss of bone density leading to fractures, osteopenia, and osteoporosis.
Litigation against Gilead continues to escalate across the country, with new lawsuits seeking money damages for:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future loss of earnings
- Punitive damages
- Pain and emotional suffering
- Loss of consortium
Explore your legal options
Showard Law Firm has been providing exceptional legal advocacy to people harmed by dangerous pharmaceuticals since 2006. We pride ourselves in offering compassionate, client-focused representation that gets results. Find out if you have a valid claim for damages against Gilead by reaching out for a free case evaluation.
- 41 HIV and PrEP Patients File California Personal Injury Lawsuit Over Gilead’s TDF-Based Drugs https://www.aidshealth.org/2019/04/41-hiv-and-prep-patients-file-california-personal-injury-lawsuit-over-gileads-tdf-based-drugs/
- Gilead Sciences, Medicines https://www.gilead.com/science-and-medicine/medicines
- AidsInfo, Tenofovir Disoproxil Fumarate (Viread, TDF) https://aidsinfo.nih.gov/guidelines/html/3/perinatal/197/tenofovir-disoproxil-fumarate–viread–tdf-