Mednews365.com reported that a civil action filed against Gilead Sciences alleges that the drug maker monopolized the HIV drug market. As a result of Gilead’s monopoly, according to the report, the company was able to keep the price of its HIV drugs very high. Johnson & Johnson, along with Bristol-Myers, two of the largest prescription drug manufacturers in the world, allegedly aided and abetted Gilead Sciences in cornering the market and generating enormous revenue on the backs of desperate patients. The class-action lawsuit has not been resolved.
Activists and supporters of people infected with HIV filed the class action lawsuit. The group alleges the Gilead, J&J, and Bristol-Myers consorted to use ingredients for the HIV drugs that would keep the price of the medication exorbitantly high and refuse to perform research and develop lower-cost ingredients that were not covered by a patent. The litigation documents claim that the three companies persisted in this practice even though some of the ingredients were “off-patent,” meaning that generic versions of the ingredients could be used to make the medications. Instead, Gilead charged abuts $35,000.00 per patient for the drug Complera. The suit claims using generic ingredients would cut the price of Complera by 50%.
The net result, if the allegations are proved against Gilead, is that Gilead placed their bottom line over helping their customers keep their insidious disease from taking their lives. Other entities suffer as well. Insurance companies, the local, state, and federal governments, and individuals must try to bear some of the financial burden thrust on HIV-positive patients. Some patients simply cannot afford the drugs and must go without.
Gilead defended its practices. The company said that working with J&J and Bristol-Myers made it easier for the company to deliver medications to people who need them. Gilead has provided free medication to 2.4 million people who are at risk of developing HIV. Neither Bristol-Myers nor J&J commented directly on the allegations raised in the court filing.
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