AP/San Francisco Chronicle Examines Criticism That Gilead Has Not Done Enough To Make HIV/AIDS Drugs Available in Developing Nations
The AP/San Francisco Chronicle on Sunday examined how Gilead's success with its antiretroviral drug Truvada "hasn't insulated [the company] from complaints that it isn't doing enough to combat [HIV/AIDS] where it hits hardest," namely developing nations. According to the AP/Chronicle, Gilead "acknowledges" that it has a duty to make its drugs available to people in developing countries. The company about three years ago began the Gilead Access Program, which seeks to improve access to antiretroviral drugs in developing countries. However, some HIV/AIDS advocates say the program is an "empty promise," the AP/Chronicle reports (Elias, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 6/4). The international aid organization Medecins Sans Frontieres in February said Gilead had not fulfilled its promise to provide its antiretroviral drug Viread at reduced costs to programs in developing nations (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/9). Gilead CEO John Martin said that the company must be given the opportunity to have its drugs approved by governments in developing countries. He added that Gilead believes in intellectual property rights worldwide. "We are one small company in a big world where billions of dollars are being put at the problem of AIDS," Martin said, adding, "On principal we believe that our product should be patented" (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 6/4). Two HIV/AIDS advocacy groups in India last month filed an opposition application with the New Delhi patent office to oppose the company's application to patent Viread (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/12).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.