Big pharmaceutical companies Mylan and Actavis are engaged in a row with Gilead over supplying Ireland with generic forms of Gilead’s anti-retroviral medication, Truvada.
Gilead’s original European patent on Truvada is due to expire this year, however the company is seeking an extension on it from the European Court of Justice.
Truvada is currently used in the treatment of HIV-positive people and it has also been approved in Ireland for use as Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP).
Truvada has not yet been rolled out in Ireland for use as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), despite calls from the Gay Health Network to make it available to men who have sex with men (MSM) for free.
When used as PrEP, Truvada taken once a day significantly reduces the chances of being infected with HIV.
Studies have shown that when taking PrEP, the contraction rates in MSM are reduced by greater than 90% making it an effective tool in reducing the number of HIV infections in Ireland.
HIV rates in London’s 56 Dean Street clinic dropped by over forty per cent since 2015 which has been attributed to a combination of factors including access to PrEP, faster treatment times of other STIs and access to PEP.
HIV acutely affects the MSM community who account for more than half of all HIV diagnoses in Ireland.
Substantial Savings With Generics
As the HSE moves closer to providing PrEP, the Truvada manufacturer plans to block Ireland from sourcing generics from alternative manufacturers.
A generic form of Truvada could save the HSE as much as 60% according to estimates from industry sources. However, Gilead Sciences is planning to take legal action in the High Court to prevent Mylan and Actavis from supplying the HSE with generics.
Industry sources also indicated that Ireland currently spends €24 million on Truvada. If individuals in Ireland elect to source PrEP independently, it can cost nearly €5,000 annually to fill the prescription.
Do you think that HSE should be able to purchase generic Truvada from Mylan and Actavis? Or perhaps you’re on Gilead’s side and would like to see their injunction granted by the High Court? Let us know in the comments below.
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