New HIV drug, Descovy, earns FDA approval

Gilead Sciences adds another drug to The FDA approved list.

By Kelley Forrester, Larry King Now

The Food and Drug Administration approved Descovy, the newest treatment for HIV from Gilead Sciences. It is indicated to treat HIV in combination with other antiretroviral agents in patients aged 12 years and older. 

According to Fortune, the treatment is similar to another Gilead drug named Viread. Descovy contains only a small percentage of the key ingredient tenofovir, allowing it to be given to patients at lower doses than Viread. This could potentially lead to the presence of fewer negative side effects. 

"As the first new HIV treatment backbone approved by the FDA in more than a decade, Descovy represents an important evolution in HIV care. As part of a single tablet regimen or partnered with a third agent, the components of Descovy offer patients a simple and effective combination with a safety profile that has the potential to improve health," said Gilead chief scientific officer, Norbert Bischofberger. 

Recently, Gilead has received a number of other HIV approvals including Odefsey and Genvoya, but not all have been well received. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) claimed that the development of Genvoya was an attempt by the drugmaker to extend the patent on an earlier drug to earn a larger profit. 

"By all means, news that an alternate form of tenofovir in Genvoya is less likely to cause kidney damage or bone loss in patients is welcome; however, we believe that Gilead's updated four-in-one combination was also developed as a means to do an end run and extend the prior patent on Stribild with this updated, but essentially similar combination therapy," said the President of AHF, Michael Weinstein. He continued to say that they believe "Gilead was trying to monopolize the market by price gouging on its HIV/AIDS treatments" in turn reducing access to lifesaving drugs. 

Descovy is expected to earn over $1 billion in sales, potentially more. 

Larry King hosts a panel to discuss the state of HIV/AIDS in America. Watch it below.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC, its affiliates, or its employees.

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