Superior Court Judge Carolyn Kuhl rejected requests from Gilead Sciences, Inc. to dismiss claims in a personal injury lawsuit brought by HIV positive Californians, according to the LA Sentinel.
The lawsuit claims that Gilead intentionally withheld safer drug alternatives to medications that can cause permanent kidney and bone damage from hundreds of thousands of patients to make more money.
HIV Litigation Attorneys say there is substantial evidence that Gilead withheld a safer HIV treatment drug for over a decade because the original patents on the other medication hadn’t yet expired.
The original medication was TDF-based. TDF drugs have been shown to cause a 40 percent increase in the risk for bone fractures. More than 25,000 people living with HIV who took TDF medication were diagnosed with side effects like kidney disease and bone density loss.
According to HIV Litigation Attorneys, Gilead knew TDF has dangerous side effects in 2001 and found that TAF was less toxic in 2002. However, they didn’t bring TAF onto the market because sales of TDF were booming.
“This ruling is a tremendous victory for HIV/AIDS patients in their quest for justice regarding the life-threatening physical harm that Gilead has caused, and we thank Judge Kuhl and the court for allowing these cases to proceed,” said Arti Bhimani of HIV Litigation Attorneys.
“Gilead’s perverse motive of out-sized profits and increased market share is not in line with patient health and safety and we are grateful that patients will now get their days in court,” Liza Brereton, another attorney at HIV Litigation Attorneys, said.
Lawsuits against Gilead have been filed in California, Washington, D.C., and Louisiana. Judge Kuhl’s decision paves the way for Ben Crump, a nationally renowned civil rights attorney, to move forward with a federal lawsuit against Gilead.
“You have a multi-billion-dollar company who the judge told had to have a jury of regular people hold them accountable, because these giant corporations feel that they are above the law in many regards,” Crump said. “[Gilead] had a safer drug that they could have put on the market, but they put profit over safety and people literally die because of greed.”