AIDS Healthcare Foundation Files Amended Lawsuit Against GlaxoSmithKline
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the largest nongovernmental provider of health care services for people with HIV/AIDS in the United States, has filed an amended lawsuit in federal court against GlaxoSmithKline, challenging the company's patents for three top-selling antiretroviral drugs, Reuters Health reports (Reuters Health, 4/22). AHF's original suit, which was dismissed last month, charged that several of GSK's patents for its antiretroviral drugs are invalid and that its prices "exorbitantly exceed" its licensing, manufacturing and distribution costs. The lawsuit, filed in a U.S. District Court in California, claimed that the prices of GSK's antiretroviral drugs "present a formidable obstacle for proper treatment of the AIDS epidemic in the United States." Epivir, Retrovir and Ziagen were developed with "significant amounts" of federal funding and should be sold "at more reasonable rates," the suit stated. The suit also focused on the patent issues surrounding those three drugs, which are often used in combination antiretroviral therapy, stating that some of the patents on the drugs should be invalidated for their "obviousness" (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/13). In the amended suit, AHF has removed reference to legislation that allows universities and businesses control over publicly funded inventions to facilitate commercialization, according to Reuters Health. The new suit will focus on the patents and GSK's alleged monopolization over the HIV/AIDS drug market (Reuters Health, 4/22). Michael Weinstein, AHF president, said in a statement that the organization is appealing the lawsuit because GSK's high antiretroviral prices have "cost untold numbers [of] lives." Weinstein added, "Despite GlaxoSmithKline's attempts to dismiss our lawsuit as 'frivolous' our complaint is very serious, indeed" (AHF release, 4/18). GSK said that AHF's complaints are "without merit," according to Reuters Health (Reuters Health, 4/22).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.