By: The Business Journals
AIDS activists who have long voiced complaints about Gilead Sciences Inc.‘s HIV drug pricing and policies said Friday that they left1,593 letters with the company’s CEO detailing their concerns.
Earlier this month Foster City-based Gilead (NASDAQ:GILD) said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Complera, a new single-tablet regimen for the treatment of HIV infection.
Advocates from the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation said the majority of the letters slammed the company’s pricing policies and the “strain that the $10,000 price tag for its key AIDS drug Atripla is putting on state AIDS drug assistance programs.”
There are now more than 9,200 Americans on waiting lists to receive HIV/AIDS medication, the group said.
AIDS drug assistance programs is the “last resort for thousands of people with AIDS who cannot afford their medicines. However, due to the high price of AIDS drugs such as Atripla … this program can no longer serve all the people who rely on it,” the group said.
The letters added that last year “Gilead generated over $6.5 billion in revenues for AIDS drugs, but has refused to lower prices for ADAPs.
In April Gilead reported first quarter net income of $651.1 million, or 80 cents a share, on revenue of $1.93 billion. Drug sales increased 4 percent to $1.86 billion for the first quarter, and the company’s antiviral product sales increased 2 percent to $1.63 billion.
Other letters criticized the company’s policies, including the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s approval of Gilead’s Truvada as a pre-exposure prophylaxis to prevent HIV transmission.
“First and foremost, a rate of 44 percent preventive effectiveness is much too low to merit FDA approval,” the group said. “The consequences of patients who take Truvada haphazardly are that they will become infected, develop drug resistance, and spread drug-resistant virus to others.”