Suing for Injuries After Taking HIV Drugs
In recent years, serious concerns have been raised about the safety of certain prescription drugs. Perhaps the most obvious example is the opioid epidemic, which swept through many neighborhoods in California. Numerous victims had their lives irrevocably altered by opioid addictions, with many losing their lives to drug overdoses. Many others spiraled into a life of crime to fuel their addiction, and families have been torn apart.
But it is important to note that there are other types of prescription drugs that can harm individuals. Countless lawsuits have been filed over the years in connection to these prescription drugs, and victims have received considerable financial settlements as compensation for serious damages. One example involves prescription drugs that were intended to help individuals with HIV. As it turns out, a shocking number of these patients have suffered serious health consequences – including issues with their kidneys and bones.
Gilead Sued by Patients with HIV for Prescription Drug Side-Effects
On October 5th of 2022, it was reported that the pharmaceutical company Gilead had been sued by a group of 20 plaintiffs. These plaintiffs allege that the company knowingly endangered the lives of HIV patients by providing them with unsafe prescription drugs, including Atripla, Stribild, and other medication that is based on TDF. The lawsuit alleges that there were safer alternatives that were just as effective, but Gilead specifically chose these toxic alternatives because they were associated with higher profit margins.
The lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court of California in San Francisco County back in September, and it details a wide range of injuries suffered by the plaintiffs that were allegedly linked to the TDF-based medications. These injuries mostly involved issues with the skeleton and kidneys. Otherwise known as tenofovir disoproxil fumerate, TDF is an ingredient that has come under increased scrutiny in recent years, and it is used in drugs such as Truvada, Atripla, Viread, Complera, and Stribild. Each of these drugs was developed and manufactured by Gilead, and the company later distributed them across the nation while insisting that they were safe and effective. This allowed them to effectively establish a monopoly over HIV drugs in the United States.
But the plaintiffs allege that by the time these drugs hit the shelves, Gilead had already come aware of a safer alternative to TDF, which is now known as tenofovir alafenamide fumerate (TAF). This slightly different drug was equally effective when taken at lower doses, allegedly lowering the potential for adverse effects. Instead of replacing their TDF-based drugs with these improved alternatives, they simply allowed people to continue using them while raking in profits. The lawsuit claims that the goal was to wait until patent protections expired – maximizing profits and lowering potential losses associated with a recall.
The lawsuit states:
“Unlike TDF, TAF is not converted into tenofovir until it has been absorbed by the cell. As a result, TAF is more efficiently absorbed by the cell’s HIV targets compared to TDF. This more efficient absorption allows TAF to achieve far greater intracellular concentrations of the activated drug (tenofovir-diphosphate) in target cells than even a dramatically larger dose of TDF, while achieving plasma concentrations of tenofovir that are 90% lower than TDF. The lowered plasma concentrations of tenofovir found with TAF result in reduced toxicity compared to TDF, making TAF safer to use than TDF.”
It was only after competing companies released their own versions of drugs, like Viread and Truvada, that Gilead suddenly introduced TAF to the market, giving them a major advantage. The irony was that Gilead themselves openly admitted that their previous drugs were not as safe as this new alternative, using the toxicity of the TDF-based drugs as a selling point for their new TAF-based medication. The fact that Gilead was aware of a safer alternative long before the release of the improved TAF drugs and openly highlighted the risks of their TDF drugs is a clear indication of negligence.
Victims are currently suffering from medical conditions such as low kidney function, bone demineralization, osteoporosis, and preventable bone fractures.
Gilead has sought to have these lawsuits dismissed, but a US District Judge has already rejected these attempts. The critical factor here seems to be Gilead’s knowledge of a safer alternative and their failure to pass this information not only to their consumers, but also to federal regulators.
Other Ongoing Drug Lawsuits
Back in May of 2022, it was reported that the company Cerebral had agreed to stop writing prescriptions for Adderall, Ritalin, and other ADHD drugs amidst growing concern about the manner in which this medicine is prescribed to patients. The company has been accused of being far too enthusiastic in prescribing this medication without actually taking the time to assess whether patients need it. In fact, the prescription system was so relaxed that patients were able to set up multiple accounts and obtain insane amounts of drugs. A California startup named Truepill is also caught up in the scandal, and this online pharmacy served as Cerebral’s preferred outlet.
Ritalin and Adderall have been classified as Schedule II drugs by federal authorities, which means that there is a high potential for abuse. Other examples of Schedule II drugs include OxyContin and Vicodin. Some Cerebral employees have stated that they were pressured to prescribe Adderall to patients even when it was not clear whether these individuals actually needed the drugs. One employee stated that he found over 2,000 duplicate shipping addresses in the company’s databases and that he was completely ignored when he raised this concern.
Where Can I Find a Qualified Personal Injury Attorney in California?
If you’ve been searching for a qualified, experienced personal injury attorney in California, look no further than Mary Alexander & Associates, P.C. Over the years, we have assisted numerous injured plaintiffs in the Golden State – including those who have been harmed by big pharma and negligent medical professionals. If you have been prescribed a medication that has resulted in serious, life-altering injuries, you deserve the right to explore your legal options.
With our assistance, you can pursue a settlement that compensates you for medical expenses, missed wages, emotional distress, and any other damages you might have incurred. The statute of limitations may prevent you from taking legal action if you wait too long, so book your consultation today to get started.