Gilead accused of conspiring to boost profits for HIV treatments

May 16, 2019

A new lawsuit has alleged that Gilead Sciences cut deals with several pharma companies to protect combo HIV treatments from generics competition. 

According to the suit, which was filed in California, Gilead colluded with Bristol-Myers Squibb and Johnson and Johnson’s Janssen unit to protect patents for each company’s ingredients into “cocktail” treatments for HIV. The “long-running scheme” reportedly kept lower cost generic options off the market. 

Specifically, the suit alleges that BSM and Janssen agreed to only use Gilead’s ingredient, tenofovir, in any HIV combo medication the companies might market, even after the patent for tenofovir expired. In exchange, Gilead promised to not market another combo option after the patents expired for drugs made by BSM and Janssen.  

As one example, the plaintiffs argued that one of Gilead’s fixed-dose HIV cocktails called Complera, which comes with an annual price tag of $35,000, could have been sold for half the amount if patients had access to a version using generic components and one of Janssen’s drugs. 

Gilead reportedly rakes in about $11 billion in annual sales from its HIV treatments.  

Read the full CNBC report.