Dozens of lawsuits have been filed against Gilead Sciences, Inc. on behalf of consumers who used the company’s tenofovir disoproxil fumarate HIV drugs and subsequently suffered kidney problems, bone fractures and other serious injuries. The most recent Gilead lawsuit was brought on behalf of 86 different plaintiffs who allege that the company’s HIV drugs, which include Truvada, Atripla and Viread, are unreasonably dangerous and expose users to an increased risk of complications. They also allege that that they could have avoided these serious, debilitating injuries had Gilead not chosen to delay the release of a safer version of the HIV drug that contains a different antiviral. If you or someone you know has suffered serious bone or kidney injuries allegedly caused by Gilead’s TDF-based HIV medications, contact an experienced product liability lawyer today to discuss your legal options.
Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) is a prescription antiretroviral drug used in combination with other HIV medicines to help control HIV infection. There is no cure for HIV or AIDS, but taking a combination of HIV medications, known collectively as an HIV treatment regimen, can help people with HIV live longer, healthier lives. TDF falls under the category of nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI), which means it blocks an HIV enzyme called reverse transcriptase, and the first TDF-based drug was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2001. TDF is sold under the brand names Truvada, Viread, Atripla, Stribild and Complera and these medications are marketed as a means of decreasing the amount of HIV in a person’s body so their immune system can work better. Unfortunately, a growing body of evidence suggests that HIV patients who take Truvada or another TDF-based drug may face an increased risk of kidney failure, bone fractures and other serious injuries.
Gilead currently faces dozens of lawsuits filed by HIV patients who claim that they were seriously harmed by TDF-based drugs like Truvada and Viread. This latest Gilead lawsuit was filed late last month in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The plaintiffs involved in the lawsuit allege that they suffered kidney injury, renal failure, bone loss, fractures and other major side effects following exposure to TDF-based HIV medications sold by Gilead, like Truvada, Viread, Atripla, Stribild and Complera. “Before Gilead began selling its first TDF drug, Viread, in 2001, Gilead knew that TDF posed a safety risk to patients’ kidneys and bones,” the product liability lawsuit states. “Gilead also knew that the relatively high dose of TDF created a greater risk of toxic effects, and that bone and kidney toxicities were even more likely to be seen with long-term use of TDF for the treatment of a virus that, for the foreseeable future, has no cure.”
In addition to allegedly knowing that TDF exposed patients to an increased risk of kidney- and bone-related side effects, Gilead is accused of intentionally delaying the release of a less toxic version of the antiretroviral called tenofovir alafenamide fumarate (TAF), in order to protect its profits. According to the lawsuit, Gilead knew for years that TAF was safer than TDF and required a lower, less toxic dose to produce the same level of effectiveness, yet continued selling its TDF-based drugs for years until patent protections expired and generic equivalents of the medications were introduced to the market. It wasn’t until 2015, when Gilead’s sales started taking a hit due to generic competition, that the company began introducing its TAF-based HIV drugs. As a result of Gilead’s decision to put profits before patient safety, thousands of people treated with Truvada and similar TDF-based antiretroviral medications were left with severe injuries that could have been avoided.