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Examining the Truvada #BreakThePatent Debate: Gilead Responds

In July 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved Truvada, an acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) treatment manufactured by Gilead Sciences as a daily pre-exposure prophylactic (PrEP) treatment to reduce the risk of contracting human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in sexually active individuals. Recently, this HIV PrEP treatment and its patent have been thrust into the spotlight thanks to a commercial for Truvada that Gilead ran during the January 27 broadcast of Rent: Live on the Fox television network. While many were encouraged by the fact that a national TV network was raising awareness about PrEP treatment, the commercial sparked a return to a debate over the high price of Truvada. As of June 2018, news reports indicated that once-daily Truvada treatment cost about $1,500 per month, or around $18,000 per year. Although the cost of Truvada is often covered by health insurance, the treatment hasn’t been adopted as widely as was expected when the drug was approved. Between January 2012 and March 2014, a review of half of U.S. pharmacies by Gilead showed that only 3,253 had begun a PrEP regimen during that time, far less than the estimated 500,000 people who would make good candidates for Truvada. That number has expanded rapidly to 77,120 U.S. PrEP users in 2016 and an estimated 136,000 users by the end of 2017’s first quarter, but that’s still far short of the estimated 1.2 million American adults at high risk of HIV infection who could benefit from PrEP. “Based on feedback

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