Generic of Gilead's HIV pre-exposure drug coming to market in 2020

Maricruz Casares
May 13, 2019

Gilead has announced it will donate its HIV drug Truvada to a US-government led prophylaxis programme to end the epidemic of the disease.

A generic version of Gilead's Truvada (emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate) will hit the market in 2020, a year earlier than expected.

"While Gilead's announcement that generic Truvada will be made available in the United States a year early is a victory for the LGBTQ+ community, for HIV activists, and for USA taxpayers, this should only be the beginning", said PrEP4All, the activists behind the campaign.

The donation, which lasts until 2030, will transition to Descovy (emtricitabine+tenofovir alafenamide) if it is approved for use as PrEP, Gilead's proposed follow-up PrEP drug that has fewer side-effects.

"The agreement will provide pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to treat individuals who are at risk for HIV and who are uninsured, including in the states and counties identified as priority areas in @POTUS's plan to #EndHIVEpidemic in America.", Azar added. "This agreement will help close that gap substantially and deliver on President Trump's promise to end the HIV epidemic in America".

"We are proud to partner with CDC to dramatically expand access to medication that can help prevent new HIV infections", Gregg Alton, Chief Patient Officer for Gilead Sciences said. While some felt the donation was a good start, they said it filled only one-fifth of the need in the United States.

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The news comes after years of activism on behalf of HIV/AIDS activists, who argued that Truvada's steep price hike made the life-saving drug inaccessible to the low-income populations at a high risk of contracting HIV.

However some commentators suggested that this is a shrewd marketing tactic on the part of Gilead, allowing it to raise awareness of Descovy ahead of any approval.

Even their announcement today leaves Gilead with exclusive rights to Truvada as PrEP for another 15 months and Teva as the only generic manufacturer on the US market.

HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.

CNN reported: "A European study of almost 1,000 male couples, where one partner with HIV was taking antiretroviral therapy (ART) to suppress the virus, has found that there were no new cases of transmission to the HIV-negative partner during sex without a condom".

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