Feds Sue Gilead Over Patents On HIV-Prevention Drugs

The New York Times reports:

The Trump administration on Wednesday sued Gilead Sciences, a pharmaceutical company that sells H.I.V.-prevention drugs that can cost patients up to $20,000 a year, accusing the company of earning billions from research funded by taxpayers without paying taxpayers back.

The government said the company infringed upon patents owned by the Department of Health and Human Services, and had refused attempts by the department to license its patents and collect royalties. The company sells two drugs, Truvada and Descovy, that can be taken once daily to prevent H.I.V. infection, a strategy called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP.

Wider access to PrEP is central to the government’s goal, announced in February, to reduce new H.I.V. infections by 75 percent over five years, and to “end the H.I.V. epidemic in America” by 2030. Critics have said the drug’s lofty price tag has limited its accessibility to high-risk people with low incomes, thwarting the government’s efforts.

Gilead is already facing a separate class action anti-trust suit filed by six AIDS activists including Peter Staley.