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US Government awarded new patent on preventative HIV drugs PrEP

Published on 03/07/19 at 10:03am

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has been awarded a new patent on drugs that prevent HIV.

The US Patent office has awarded the US government a patent on drugs derived from HIV drug Tenofovir that inhibit the transmission of HIV.

The new patent may reignite a dispute between the government and PrEP drugmaker Gilead over the rights to PrEP drug Truvada and its successor Descovy.

In May 2019, campaigners called on the government to enforce the CDC’s patents on the use of Truvada as a preventative treatment for HIV.

The call came as US Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez condemned Gilead for charging Truvada patients $21,000 a year.

Gilead had previously said they would give away PrEP drugs Truvada and Descovy to 200,000 patients in America over the next 11 years.

Nevertheless, AIDS activists have said the newly issued patent should push the government towards collecting royalties on PrEP drugs – this money could be used to increase access.

“The granting of this new patent further reinforces the position that PrEP, whether it is Descovy or Truvada, is the invention of the American government and its long past due for the government to start using these patents for the benefit of the American people,” said James Krellenstein, a member of the PrEP4All Collaboration and a founding member of the Prevention of HIV Action Group at ACT UP/New York.

“In an age when nearly one new infection occurs every 15 minutes, the government approach to prevention and scaling up the use of PrEP has failed. We need to start getting answers from the government about what they’re doing with these assets.”

Louis Goss 

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