The makers of popular antiretroviral medication Truvada have recently faced allegations that its product led to severe injuries, such as kidney failure and osteoporosis. If you or someone you love is taking this medication, you could be owed compensation for your medical expenses, loss of income, and pain and suffering.
What Is Truvada?
Truvada is one of several antiretroviral drugs used around the world to treat HIV and prevent the virus from developing into AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). Truvada is one of several brand names for medications containing the active ingredient tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF), all of which are manufactured and sold by pharmaceutical giant Gilead Sciences Inc. These medications may be used by people living with HIV or AIDS, but can also prevent a patient from acquiring HIV in the prevention protocol known as pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP.
TDF medications decrease the level of virus present in the body, bolstering the patient’s immune system. While there is currently no cure for HIV or AIDS, medications such as Truvada can lower the risk of developing complications associated with HIV and potentially prevent the spread of the virus. Truvada is the biggest-selling TDF medication, contributing to $11 billion in sales every year.
Antiretroviral medications containing TDF may include:
- AccessPak for HIV PEP Expanded with Kaletra
- AccessPak for HIV PEP Expanded with Viracept
Why Are People Filing Lawsuits After Taking Truvada?
In April 2018, 41 people from 12 different states who are living with HIV or AIDS filed a lawsuit against Gilead Sciences Inc. Patients claim that the company’s antiretroviral drug therapies placed them at unwitting risk of sudden injuries and chronic illnesses, and that many more people who take TDF medications for PrEP could have suffered similar harm as a result of the company’s negligence.
Millions of patients nationwide who take TDF medications may have suffered:
- Low bone density. Studies have shown that regular exposure to TDF-containing medications can cause a decrease in bone mineral density. Over time, patients may suffer osteoporosis, worsening bone pain, discomfort in the arms, legs, feet, and hands, and muscle and joint pain.
- Broken bones. As bone density decreases, bones may become brittle—bending under the body’s weight or simply snapping due to degeneration. Patients may suffer fractures in their hands, feet, arms, or legs, as well as associated health problems and recovery complications.
- Chronic kidney disease. TDF medications have been known to interfere with the kidneys’ ability to filter out impurities. A disruption in normal kidney function can cause a variety of health problems, including a buildup of lactic acid in the blood (lactic acidosis) that can be fatal without treatment.
- Kidney failure. Although kidney failure is common in HIV positive patients, kidney failure occurs at a higher rate in patients who are taking TDF medications. Kidney failure risks may increase even further in people of color and people with a history of kidney damage.
Drug manufacturers have a duty to ensure that the products they create are safe for consumers, and that patients whose health is already compromised do not have to risk further suffering. Unfortunately, many drugmakers place profits above patient safety. When this happens, patients have a right to seek compensation for their losses from the company that manufactured a defective product and failed to inform consumers of all the risks associated with using the medication.
Lawsuits filed against Gilead Sciences Inc. claim that the company:
- Failed to warn of side effect risks. Court documents indicate that Gilead was well aware of the risks of its TDF medications as far back as 2001, stating that prescribed doses could be “highly toxic” and result in “permanent and possibly fatal damage to the kidneys and bones.” Although the company has identified serious side effects in its products, it did not properly warn patients or their doctors of the potential for kidney and bone injuries—placing people who already had serious health concerns at risk of additional trauma.
- Misrepresented the drug. Gilead stands accused of grossly misrepresenting the efficacy and risks of its TDF medications. The FDA sent several warning letters to the company about the misleading language used in Truvada’s advertising, chastising Gilead for claims that Truvada is “nontoxic” and its failure to correctly address known side effects.
- Stalled development of a safer drug. Gilead has also come under fire for its failure to release a medication developed as a safer alternative TDF, which could treat HIV while carrying a far lower risk of side effects. Although the drug, known as tenofovir alafenamide fumarate (TAF), passed early clinical trials without the same osteoporosis and kidney damage risks, it was not released to the public for over a decade. Lawsuits against Gilead allege that the company deliberately suppressed TAF medications from the market until the patent on its TDF drugs had been exhausted, maximizing profits at the expense of patients’ health.
Contact Tapella & Eberspacher’s Legal Team Today
If you or someone in your family has suffered bone fractures or kidney failure after taking Truvada, you may be entitled to compensation through filing a lawsuit against Gilead. The Tapella & Eberspacher Law Firm is proud to represent clients from our offices in Central Illinois and the St. Louis Metropolitan area, and can advise Truvada victims on their next steps to recovery.
We are committed to making the manufacturers of dangerous or defective drugs take responsibility for the harm they cause. Call us toll-free or use our online contact form to set up your free case evaluation. You are under no obligation to retain us after your case review, but if you do so, we do not charge any attorney fees unless you receive compensation.