Truvada (Tenofovir) has been hailed as a miracle drug in the fight against HIV. The drug is taken ahead of time to prevent sexually active people from contracting HIV during sexual activity. While Truvada is not a vaccine, it functions as a preventative drug. Truvada has certainly rang the cash registers for Gilead Sciences, the company that makes and sells the drug. However, there are some key facts about Truvada that Gilead has been alleged not to have told consumers taking the drug, namely that it can cause serious health problems by causing
- Bone density loss
- Kidney failure
- Bone fractures
Gilead Has Made Billions off Truvada Sales
Gilead began selling Truvada back in 2004. The drug is also known by consumers as PrEP. This drug is viewed as a revolutionary drug that has reduced the rate of HIV transmission. Gilead books between $4-5 billion in HIV sales each quarter. Even though the company has now lost its exclusivity on Truvada, sales still remain strong, as the company has built up brand value in this lucrative market.
However, there is an unpleasant truth lurking under the surface. Lawsuits have alleged that Gilead has known of the dangerous side effects of the drug dating back to practically the time when it began selling the drug.
Truvada’s Effects on Bones and Kidney Function
Customers need to take a certain dosage of Truvada in order to achieve protection from HIV transmission. However, that dosage can present serious problems for the bones and kidneys. Some customers who have taken the drug have developed osteoporosis because of the loss of bone density. Others have been far more likely to suffer broken bones because Truvada has been shown to cause bone density loss.
There have been studies that have linked Truvada usage to bone density loss. One of the main studies was released in 2018. However, this is something that a company that should routinely test its own products and monitor side effects should have known.
The other major side effect of Truvada is kidney damage. The kidneys are responsible for filtering toxins and other materials out of the body. Many drugs have had a particular impact on the kidneys because the substances can build up there with regular use. In the case of Truvada, the kidneys have not been completely able to filter out harmful substances from the body. Thus, there has been a track record of patients suffering a loss of kidney function from the buildup in the kidneys after routine use of Truvada. Some patients have even suffered complete kidney failure, requiring them to wait on long lists for life-saving transplants.
There were initially reports of potential kidney damage linked to Truvada the same exact year that the drug went on the market for the first time. These conclusions have been repeated in numerous research studies since then. Gilead should have known of the potential danger of its drug and performed its own investigation. It should have shared the information with the public and let them make their own decision in consultation with their physicians.
Gilead Allegedly Knew of These Dangers and Did Not Warn the Public
Product liability lawsuits have alleged that Gilead has sold a defective product in numerous respects. First, the design of the drug itself is alleged to be defective because of the impact that it has on the bones and the kidneys. Second, manufacturers have a legal obligation to warn the general public of any dangers of their product about which they knew or should have known. Instead, Gilead kept on selling Truvada without any warnings on the label because it was making so much money off the product.
This is far from the first lawsuit that Gilead has faced related to injuries caused by its product. The company has a very checkered safety record to say the least, with scores of product liability lawsuits and those that allege profit-maximizing sales practices that come at the expense of your health and finances.
What makes the facts of these lawsuits look even worse for Gilead is that the company had a second HIV prevention drug waiting in the wings that was far safer for consumers. However, Gilead continued to sell Truvada for years while withholding the new drug from the marketplace. Gilead finally decided to sell the safer drug when its exclusivity for Truvada expired. The company apparently saw no reason to stop selling Truvada, even though the company was obviously receiving many reports of injured consumers.
The First Truvada Cases Are Going to Trial Soon
As of this writing, there are over 2,000 cases against Gilead in federal court in California. The first trials in these cases are expected to happen in the summer of 2022. Gilead has not yet settled these cases, in spite of their large potential liability.
In addition, there are many cases in California state courts, where juries have been known to harshly punish companies like Gilead that put profits over people when they sold dangerous products with the knowledge of the potential harms. If juries rule against Gilead, there is a possibility that the company may then try to settle the rest of the cases. Gilead had tried unsuccessfully to have these claims dismissed from state court.
Damages in a Truvada Product Liability Lawsuit
If you have suffered kidney failure or osteoporosis after regularly taking Truvada, you may be entitled to the following potential damages:
- The full cost of your medical bills
- Lost wages if your medical condition kept you from working
- Pain and suffering for the ordeal that is associated with your injuries
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional trauma and distress
In cases like these, juries will often assess punitive damages against companies like Gilead when there is clear evidence that the company knew of the dangers of its product and withheld information that the public needed to know. Here, the fact that Gilead waited to introduce a new and safer product may work against the company when the case goes to the jury.
Your first step should be to contact an experienced product liability attorney. We can help you take legal action against Gilead.