Victory over Gilead! California Court Rules HIV Drug Personal Injury Cases May Proceed

In Featured by Rachel Mills

Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles rejects all but one of Gilead’s arguments in demurrer seeking to have personal injury cases over its promotion of TDF-based HIV/AIDS medications that cause permanent damage to kidneys and bones dismissed.

Personal injury actions filed by patients with HIV from Los Angeles, San Diego & Marin Counties assert that Gilead suppressed a safer, far less toxic version of the drug in order to maximize profits and extend sales of the first drug, tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF). 

LOS ANGELES (February 13, 2018) HIV/AIDS patients and advocates are celebrating a California court ruling that allows personal injury cases against Gilead Sciences Inc. over the drug company’s years-long promotion of its TDF-based HIV/AIDS medications that cause permanent damage to kidneys and bones, to proceed.

In a ruling issued earlier today, the Honorable Carolyn B Kuhl, Judge of the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles rejected all but one of Gilead’s arguments in its demurrer seeking to have all the HIV/AIDS patients’ legal theories dismissed.  Judge Kuhl’s well-reasoned opinion held that Plaintiffs’ allegations were sufficiently pled to move forward with all their tort claims, aside from strict liability. 

In May 2018, California patients living with HIV filed a personal injury lawsuit against Gilead Sciences Inc. seeking to hold the Bay Area drug maker accountable for actions around its promotion of tenofovir disoproxil fumarate’s (TDF’s) drug formulation, knowing a safer alternate, tenofovir alafenamide (TAF), existed; failure to warn patients of the damaging side effects of TDF; and active misrepresentation of TDF’s efficacy and risks. 

The legal actions, prepared by HIV Litigation Attorneys and Rutherford Law, were filed in May 2018 in Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles, [Case No. BC702302, Personal Injury Claims; and Case No. BC 705063, Class Action Status], and each demands a jury trial.  AHF is funding the litigation and will not receive any financial recovery from the lawsuit in excess of its actual costs.

The cases also assert that Gilead deliberately and maliciously suppressed from the market its alternate and newer formulation of the drug, TAF, in order to extend the patent life—and sales—of its existing medications that included TDF.  Gilead earned over $18 billion in net profit in 2015. 

“This ruling is a tremendous victory for HIV/AIDS patients in their quest for justice regarding the life-threatening physical harm that Gilead has caused and we thank Judge Kuhl and the court for allowing these cases to proceed,” said Arti Bhimani of HIV Litigation Attorneys, attorney for plaintiffs. 

“Gilead’s perverse motive of outsized profits and increased market share is not in line with patient health and safety and we are grateful that patients will now get their days in court,” said Liza Brereton of HIV Litigation Attorneys, attorney for plaintiffs.  

“Gilead has shown a disregard for its patients’ health in order to reap outsized profits from its TDF medications. I am happy the judge has allowed our case against Gilead to proceed,” said Plaintiff Michael Lujano

Anyone interested in joining this lawsuit should visit www.hivlitigation.com or call HIV Litigation Attorneys at (323) 860-5230.   

About AIDS Healthcare Foundation
AIDS Healthcare Foundation
 (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over one million individuals in 43 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare

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