Apr 25, 2019

DOJ escalates patent issue surrounding HIV prevention drug

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

The Justice Department is reviewing the government patent for use of an HIV prevention drug, potentially signaling that it's considering action against the drugmaker that sells it, the Washington Post reports.

The bottom line: The drug, Truvada, is owned by Gilead, which sells it for between $1,600 and 2,000 a month.

Details: A retired Centers for Disease Control scientist told the Post that a Justice Department lawyer visited the CDC last month to talk to government scientists who discovered Truvada's preventative use.

  • Gilead says the government's patent is invalid.

Why it matters: Truvada is key to the administration's goal of eradicating HIV by 2030, as it helps prevent new infections. But its price tag is creating patient access issues.

"We are in discussions with the government to determine the best ways to broaden access to Truvada for PrEP to vulnerable populations in the United States and support the federal plan to end the HIV epidemic."
— Gilead's statement to the Post

The big picture: It's rare for the government to sue for drug patent infringement, although the Department of Health and Human Services has patented more than 2,500 products since 1976, WashPost reported last month.

  • These discoveries were publicly financed, but the government often licenses them to private drug companies, which commercialize them.

Go deeper: Big Pharma's GOP firewall is weakening

Go deeper

Bob Iger to step down as CEO of Disney

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

The Walt Disney Company said Tuesday that it had named longtime Disney executive Bob Chapek as CEO Bob Iger's successor, effectively immediately. Iger will remain executive chairman of the company through 2021.

Why it matters: Iger is credited with having successfully turned around Disney’s animation and studio businesses and with the strategic acquisition of Marvel, Pixar, Lucasfilm and 21st Century Fox. Most recently, he was the person behind Disney's successful launch of its Netflix rival Disney+.

India gives Trump warm welcome as brutal protests rip New Delhi apart

People supporting India's new citizenship law beat a Muslim man in New Delhi, India. Photo: Danish Siddiqui/TPX/Reuters

While President Trump enjoys a hero's welcome in India, that nation's capital is being torn apart by violent protests between Hindus and Muslims.

The state of play: At least 186 people — 56 police officers and 130 protesters — have been injured and 10 killed in recent clashes, a New Delhi police spokesperson told the AP.

Go deeperArrow44 mins ago - World

Wall Street sees 2nd day of brutal sell-off

Photo: Johannes Eisele/AF via Getty Images

The stock market fell another 3% on Tuesday, following Monday’s sell-off. Bond yields touched record lows.

The big picture: Stocks continued to fall as the CDC said it expects the coronavirus to spread in the U.S. The Dow and S&P are more than 7% below the record highs seen earlier this month.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 59 mins ago - Economy & Business