Newspapers Examine Concerns Surrounding Possible FDA Approval Of Truvada For PrEP

The New York Times and the Financial Times examine concerns expressed by AIDS activists and members of an FDA panel that last week recommended Gilead Sciences’ antiretroviral drug Truvada be approved for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV among healthy people at risk of contracting the virus. According to the New York Times, “Such a pill has long been a goal of research, something that might help stem a global epidemic that is still causing two million new worldwide cases each year, including 50,000 in the United States” (Grady, 5/14). The Financial Times says some have concerns over the real world efficacy of the drug; whether its approval would encourage reckless behavior, such as not using condoms; side effects that might require additional treatment; the development of drug-resistant HIV strains; and the cost of the drug.

According to the Financial Times, “In the developing world, there are fears that [HIV] patients could be forced to sell or share their medicines with those uninfected but at risk, creating tensions and leaving them without effective treatment.” Addressing the issue of cost, “Gilead has said it is willing to fund substantial HIV prevention programs to support the use of its medicine to limit new infections around the world,” according to the newspaper (Rappeport/Jack, 5/14).