Legal Options

In 2018, HIV drug maker Gilead faced a major lawsuit out of California. This lawsuit claimed that over 100 Gilead HIV drug users faced severe damage to their bones or kidneys. Those who developed similar health problems from HIV drugs may be able to receive compensation through a legal claim.

Legal Claims and HIV Drugs

HIV drug legal claims are just beginning to gain traction in the United States. While HIV drugs can prevent the HIV virus from spreading, some contain tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF).

This chemical compound helps slow down the spread of HIV, but it has been linked to serious — and potentially deadly — side effects.

Health risks linked to TDF drugs include:

  • Acute kidney injuries
  • Bone damage and fractures
  • Bone density loss
  • Chronic kidney disease (CKD)
  • End-stage renal disease (ESRD)
  • Kidney failure
  • Osteoporosis
  • Renal impairment
  • Tooth loss

New HIV drugs in 2019 may contain safer alternatives to TDF. Yet, TDF-based drugs like Truvada are still being sold and recommended to patients.

If you used an HIV drug and developed associated health problems, compensation may be available to you. This financial compensation can cover the cost of your medical treatment, loss of income, and related expenses.

The best way to receive compensation is through a legal claim.

Am I Able to File a Legal Claim?

If you used certain HIV drugs and developed bone or kidney problems, you may be able to file a legal claim.

According to recent lawsuits, companies like Gilead sold HIV drugs that contained TDF though they knew the compound could be harmful. To make matters worse, they also knew of safer alternatives.

Gilead HIV drugs that contain TDF include: 

To file a legal claim, it is important to work with an experienced lawyer.

Without their help, your legal claim may get delayed or completely rejected. An experienced lawyer will make the entire legal process easier and will work to get you the highest amount of compensation available.

Who is to Blame?

As of 2019, Gilead is the most notable company facing HIV drug lawsuits. Lawsuits claim that Gilead knew TDF could be harmful in high doses but ignored the facts.

Recent lawsuits claim Gilead: 

  • Downplayed the risks of TDF drugs: According to the plaintiffs in the 2018 lawsuit Dechow, et al. v. Gilread Sciences, Inc., Gilead did not know the full extent of how dangerous TDF was even though the drug was FDA approved. The company also claimed its first TDF, drug, Viread, had no major side effects. In 2002 and 2003, the FDA chastised the company for these claims. Initial product warnings for Truvada and Viread claimed that kidney and bone damage would only be risks for those with pre-existing conditions.
  • Deceived U.S. customers: In the European Union, doctors received much stronger warnings about TDF drugs than those in the U.S. These doctors were told patients taking its drugs should be regularly monitored for TDF-related toxicity. A 2018 complaint claims that in the U.S., physicians and patients received less urgent warnings related to TDF drugs.
  • Knew of safer alternatives: According to Dechow, et al. v. Gilead, the company discovered a safer alternative to TDF in 1997. This safer drug, called tenofovir alafenamide fumarate (TAF), was discovered before Viread, the first TDF drug, hit the market. TAF could deliver the same effects of TDF at a fraction of the dose, limiting the dangers. However, Gilead did not submit TAF-containing HIV drugs for FDA approval until November 2014.
  • Put profits ahead of people: Lawyers representing victims stated that Gilead withheld the use of TAF drugs on purpose. A 2018 complaint from lawyers stated, “Gilead knew that by withholding the safer TAF design, it could extend the longevity of its HIV drug franchise and make billions two times over.” For example, the company recorded $2.07 Billion in product sales in its third quarter of 2011. Most of these sales came from its TDF drugs.

As of 2019, Gilead still sells TDF-containing drugs like Truvada even though TAF drugs come with less serious side effects.

If these accusations are true, Gilead misrepresented its products and consistently put its own interests ahead of those suffering from HIV.

The company has already shown — through its prices — that it values money over those with HIV. For example, the average cost for a month’s supply of Truvada is anywhere from $1,600-2,000.

Take Legal Action Now

If you or a loved one were prescribed a Gilead HIV drug and developed serious side effects, you may be entitled to legal compensation.

In 2018 and 2019, Gilead faced lawsuits from over 150 people from 30 states across America, according to court filings.

Companies like Gilead had a responsibility to provide safe medications. Based on recent legal complaints, the company may have put its own interests ahead of those with HIV.

Through a lawsuit, you may be able to receive financial compensation from Gilead or another HIV drug company.

To learn more about how legal action could help you receive compensation, get a free case review today.

Author:HIV Drug Justice Editorial Team
HIV Drug Justice Editorial Team

HIV Drug Justice educates people about the risks of HIV drugs, which can cause kidney failure and bone damage. Our site is managed by the HIV Drug Justice Editorial Team, a group of concerned writers, editors, journalists, and illustrators. Our team helps readers understand what medical and legal options are available if they used dangerous HIV drugs and developed serious health problems as a result.

Last modified: September 17, 2019

View 3 References
  1. Dechow, et al. v. Gilead Sciences Inc. (S.C. Cal. 2018)

  2. Gilead Sciences. (2011, October 27). Gilead Sciences Announces Third Quarter 2011 Financial
    Results. Retrieved from https://www.gilead.com/news-and-press/press-room/press-releases/2011/10/gilead-sciences-announces-third-quarter-2011-financial-results

  3. Holley, et al. v. Gilead Sciences Inc. (N.D. Cal. 2018)