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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

City Council member Andre Dickens wins Atlanta mayoral race

Andre Dickens during a rally at Center Stage on November 28, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images)

City Council member Andre Dickens won a runoff election Tuesday to become Atlanta's next mayor, soundly beating the council's president Felicia Moore.

The big picture: Dickens was just a few months ago considered to have an outside chance of replacing Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who announced in May that she wouldn't seek a second term.

UN report: Pandemic set to cost global tourism $2 trillion in 2021

A tourist in front of the Eiffel Tower on November 25, 2021 in Paris. Photo:Chesnot/Getty Images

A new United Nations report warns that global tourism will see only modest revenue gains in 2021 after last year's historic losses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why it matters: Tourism revenues in 2020 fell by more than half from the previous year — a significant blow to the global economy, according to analysis by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Updated 3 hours ago - Health

2 federal judges temporarily block Biden vaccine mandates

President Biden delivers remarks on the Omicron COVID-19 variant at the White House on Nov. 29. Photo: Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

The Biden administration was temporarily blocked from enforcing COVID-19 vaccine mandates for millions of workers by federal judges in two states on Tuesday.

The big picture: The orders, by federal judges in Kentucky and Louisiana, come one day after a federal judge in Missouri halted the mandate, which has a Jan. 4 deadline, in 10 states.