Drug company accused of risking patients' lives

Did a drug company purposefully slow down an HIV drug's development in order to keep selling a much more expensive version? Did the company do it in spite of the fact that the drug in use was clearly more dangerous to patients?

That's the allegations being made by two different claimants in California. They claim that Gilead Sciences Inc., put profits ahead of patients in regards to the drug known as TDF.

According to the lawsuit, Gilead allegedly knew as early as 2001 that the drug it was selling to HIV victims was extremely toxic to a patient's bones and kidneys at the levels it needed to be taken to be effective against the disease. Aside from kidney damage, the drug caused calcium and other bone minerals to essentially leech out of the victims' bones.

A newer formula, known as TAF, could have been made available to patients much sooner than it was -- but Gilead wanted to maximize the amount of profit it was able to make off the older drug before bringing the newer one to market.

Both the injury victims suffered significant physical harm from the older drug. One developed kidney disease and the other developed a condition that required him to get replacement hips at the 30 years of age. They both claim that they were never warned about the significant dangers of taking the drug, and they both continue to suffer long-term complications they claim could have been avoided.

Defective drug claims are some of the most common types of personal injury claims out there. They rely on product liability laws to hold manufacturers responsible for their actions. If the dangers of the drug really were known to Gilead -- and an alternative drug could have been made readily available -- the plaintiffs may have a strong case for compensation.

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