Press Release: Advocates Demand Update on United States v. Gilead Sciences Lawsuit
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(New York City, NY) Tuesday, January 18, 2022–PrEP4All, Inc., along with 24 other advocacy organizations, released a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland and Health & Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra requesting updates and transparency regarding the lawsuit United States of America v. Gilead Sciences Inc. Filed on November 6, 2019 by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the complaint against Gilead Sciences (Gilead) is seeking damages for infringement of HHS’s patents on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention.
In the letter, advocates ask the DOJ and HHS to publicly commit to invest any and all royalties received from the lawsuit to increase access to PrEP, including funding organizations that provide support services to communities vulnerable to HIV. They also ask that associated costs for PrEP care, including drugs, labs, and provider visits be covered for uninsured patients.
Advocates request the DOJ and HHS provide relevant updates on US v Gilead and meet with the HIV community to discuss the federal government’s strategy to ensure the lawsuit increases PrEP access.
“Nearly a decade after PrEP was FDA approved, many of the communities that need PrEP the most are still not able to access it,” said James Krellenstein, Managing Director of Strategy & Policy,”This suit could play a critical role in ensuring that those who need PrEP in the US can access it. But that will only happen if the Federal Government commits to reinvesting any funds recovered from the suit to increase access to PrEP.”
Two years since the DOJ filed US v Gilead, the lawsuit has yet to produce material benefits for individuals living with and vulnerable to HIV. With the current rate of new HIV infections, by the time the lawsuit goes to trial in 2023, over 100,000 Americans will be newly diagnosed with HIV. Advocates are calling for the DOJ and HHS to use leverage over Gilead to benefit those who have been harmed by lack of access to PrEP, including establishing a federal program aimed at universal PrEP access.
“PrEP was funded with public money,” says Kenyon Farrow, Managing Director of Advocacy & Organizing with PrEP4All. “We are asking the federal government to communicate with the community about the status of this suit, and if there is a settlement, that any funds received go to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention to support more PrEP access programs in communities that need it most.”
PrEP is an integral tool for ending the HIV epidemic that received approval by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in 2012 due to taxpayer-funded research conducted by scientists at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Since then, Gilead has earned at least $10 billion from PrEP sales in the United States. Despite profits, access to PrEP remains scarce as less than 25% of individuals indicated for PrEP are currently using the drug.
Founded in March 2018, PrEP4All is an organization of community members, healthcare professionals, lawyers, and academics all dedicated to increasing access to lifesaving HIV medication. We conduct rigorous policy analysis and prepare reports outlining the effects of current and future policy decisions, evidence of government inaction, and investigations into the public health effects of corporate greed.
Michael Chancley, Communications Manager