Court Allows Litigation Against HIV-Drug Manufacturer to Proceed

In May of 2018, dozens of AIDS patients filed personal injury cases against one of the biggest manufacturers of HIV medications. Gilead is the manufacturer of almost three-quarters of the HIV drugs currently on the market.

They have two different types of HIV medications. While they work similarly in the human body, the side effects are different. One set of drugs is called TAF drugs. These drugs work off of a main ingredient called tenofovir alafenamide. The other group is the TDF drugs. The active ingredient in these medications is something called tenofovir disoproxil fumarate.

The difference between the two is that the TAF drugs are allegedly safer than TDF drugs. They’re also a lot cheaper. Gilead recently had a patent approved for their TDF drugs so they can charge a lot more money for this group of drugs.

The lawsuits that have been filed against Gilead allege that their TDF drugs made to help patients with HIV are dangerous. The plaintiffs claim that these drugs cause kidney disorders and bone damage.

This Spring, Gilead was hoping to get these cases dismissed.

What are TDF Drugs?

TDF drugs are used to treat HIV patients. The most common TDF drugs made by Gilead are:

  • Truvada
  • Atripla
  • Complera
  • Stribild
  • Viread

The way these drugs work is a bit complicated. When someone is diagnosed with HIV, it means they have HIV in their body. This is what destroys the immune system. Nobody dies from HIV or AIDS. They die from some other illness. The problem is that HIV/AIDS weakens the patient’s immune system to the point where the body can no longer fight infections.

These TDF drugs block something called reverse transcriptase. This is the thing that allows HIV cells to multiple. These drugs not only block new HIV from forming in the body – they also reduce the amount of HIV in the body.

As long as patients can keep the amount of HIV in their bodies down, their immune system will still be able to fight off most diseases and viruses.

What are TAF Drugs?

Gilead makes a group of drugs called TAF drugs for HIV patients. These work the same way as TDF drugs. But the side effects aren’t as bad. People who take TAF aren’t as likely to suffer the two main side effects: kidney disease and osteoporosis.

Gilead recently had its patent for the TDF drugs approved. This means they can market it to HIV patients and charge whatever they want. For some people, the drugs can cost as much as $35,000 per year. Most patients can’t begin to afford this kind of money.

The plaintiffs in the recent HIV drug litigation are complaining that Gilead chose to market the more dangerous option because they knew they could make more money.

How Did Gilead Try to Get the Cases Dismissed?

This past Spring, Gilead filed a Motion to Dismiss in San Francisco, telling the court that the lawsuits that had been filed against the should be dismissed. They argued that the alternative drug, the TAF drugs, wouldn’t have been approved by the FDA. They claimed that this is the reason they chose to market the TDF drugs.

The Judge struck down this argument. They denied Gilead’s motion to dismiss. They held that Gilead did not prove that the FDA wouldn’t have approved the less dangerous version of the HIV drugs.

This was not a big surprise for mass tort lawyers involved in the HIV drug litigation. The motion filed by Gilead was rather weak. For them to argue that a safer drug would not have been approved by the FDA didn’t make a lot of sense.

Following this most recent decision, the courts have made it clear that the HIV drug litigation can proceed. Legal experts the number of these cases to increase in the next few months. The HIV drug industry is going to be over $22 billion per year in the next few years. The drug manufacturers and distributors are going to have to deal with these cases sooner rather than later.

Contact an HIV Drug Litigation Attorney Right Away

If you or your loved one have been injured after using the HIV drugs manufactured by Gilead, you should contact an experienced mass tort lawyer immediately. You don’t want to miss your filing deadline.

Drug manufacturers have to stand by their products. If their drugs are going to harm people, then they need to be held accountable. Mass tort lawyers are the people who hold them accountable.