Gilead chief defends hefty Truvada price at government hearing

|About: Amneal Pharmaceuticals... (AMRX)|By:, SA News Editor

Endpoints News reports that Gilead Sciences (GILD +1.6%) CEO Daniel O'Day spent more than three hours yesterday trying to justify the $2,000/month price of Truvada (emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate) before a U.S. House committee on oversight and reform. The FDA approved the medication to help prevent HIV infection in high-risk people (called pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP) in July 2012.

The company has been the recipient of withering criticism form AIDS activists who claim that fewer than 10% of at-risk Americans receive the drug, mainly due to the high cost. Generic versions are available in certain markets for as little as $6/month according to advocacy group Health GAP.

Other advocates have urged the CDC to pursue infringement claims against GILD related to its 2015 patent for PrEP. Apparently, the U.S. Department of Justice is reviewing the government patent.

Truvada, GILD's #2 seller behind Genvoya, generated almost $3B in sales last year, $2.6B in the U.S.

Generic versions are still a few years away. The company recently agreed to allow Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (TEVA +1.8%) to market a generic by 2020, about a year ahead of others, including Mylan (MYL -1.5%) and Amneal Pharmaceuticals (AMRX +1.4%).

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