May 10, 2019

Gilead agrees to donate HIV medication

In this image, blue pills spill out of a Truvada pill bottle and onto a green pharmaceutical counting tray.

A bottle of antiretroviral drug Truvada. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Gilead has agreed to donate HIV medication for up to 200,000 people each year for up to 11 years.

The big picture: Gilead's Truvada is used to reduce the risk of HIV infection, and is crucial to the Trump administration's goal to wipe out the disease by 2030.

Details: Truvada currently has a list price of more than $20,000 per year. If Gilead's second-generation HIV medication, Descovy, becomes available, the company will switch to donating that drug.

What they're saying: The AIDS Institute's Carl Schmid called the announcement a "very significant development" that "will free up the federal government from having to spend potentially billions of dollars" on the medication for the uninsured.

  • Others were less positive. "The real cost of Truvada is about $60 a year. If you really wanted to cover everybody, you’d cut the price to everyone," Massachusetts General Hospital's Rochelle Walensky told the NYT. "If I put on my cynical hat, I think this is the way they make sure they grow the market for Descovy."

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