A Generic Version of Truvada Will Be Available by 2020

Gilead Sciences has agreed to break its patent a year earlier than anticipated.

Gilead Sciences—the pharmaceutical company that holds a patent on the highly effective HIV prevention drug Trvuada, or PrEP—is releasing its hold on the drug earlier than expected, meaning a generic version of Truvada will be available as early as 2020.

According to The Advocate, Gilead will grant Teva Pharmaceuticals, the world’s largest generic drug manufacturing company, exclusive rights to a generic Truvada pill beginning September 30, 2020. That’s a year earlier than expected, since Gilead’s patent was due to expire in 2021.

The news comes after years of activism on behalf of HIV/AIDS activists, who argued that Truvada’s steep price hike made the life-saving drug inaccessible to the low-income populations at a high risk of contracting HIV.

That price hike is a staggering 25,000%, meaning people without health insurance pay around $1,600 for a 30-day supply of a drug that costs $6 to make per month. It also comes nearly two years after the FDA approved a generic version of Truvada. Gilead’s patent stalled any forward motion on that front, until now.

Though Gilead’s agreement to break the patent earlier than its original expiration date is certainly reason to celebrate, it’s not a total victory.

In a statement, Aaron S. Lord, a doctor and spokesperson for #PrEP4All and #BreakThePatent, said that Gilead’s lack of transparency on the details of its exclusive settlement with Teva is concerning:

Even their announcement today leaves Gilead with exclusive rights to Truvada as PrEP for another 15 months and Teva as the only generic manufacturer on the U.S. market. This will do little to reduce price in a way that will increase access and PrEP4All remains suspicious of the terms and lack of transparency surrounding the Teva settlement.

Teva is only expected to have exclusive rights for about six months, so cheaper Truvada alternatives should be more widely available by 2021.

Brooklyn-based writer and editor. Probably drinking iced coffee or getting tattooed.
@_sammanzella