The cost of treating HIV related illnesses has sky rocketed over the last 20 years. Firstly due to the fact there are no campaigns warning of the implications of AIDS like there used to be in the 1980’s, which led to a huge surge in sales for Durex and also due to inflation, and the fact a certain greedy hedge fund manager put the price of HIV treatments up by over 7000%.
This, however, could all be set to end thanks to the expiry of the patent of the drug Truvada. Truvada is generally used as a combination drug, off set with Ritonavir and a third medication that counteracts the side effects of Truvada and Ritonavir. This drug however has many, many uses, and is widely prescribed for more than just HIV.
It can be given to HIV negative people who are either engaging in risky sexual practices and sex workers as PrEP (Pre Exposure), or people who have had an accident or were the victims of Rape as PEP (Post Exposure). Granted this drug will not stop you contracting any other STI’s like Syphilis, Hepatitis or Chlamydia, but will set the body up to reject the HIV virus and stop it taking hold.
As the patent is now nearing the end of its life, various generic providers have successfully reverse engineered the drug and it is not only working just as well as the exorbitant Branded drug, but is far more cost effective.
This means, what was originally costing someone $15000 a year, could be reduced to $70 a month, or around $850 a year. This will also help in reducing insurance costs, as the insurance company will no longer have to pay the HIV treatment cost of $15k per year and hike up everyone else’s insurance to cover the cost.
The 3 Generic providers in the UK and the US, generally take around 12 – 18 months to get their product on to the market, having to go through all the testing and lab checks to make sure they are not only safe for consumption, but they are identical to the original drug.
In the UK, prescriptions like this aren’t really concerning, for the NHS covers the cost of HIV treatment any way, however, in the US, unless you have insurance, you have to either pay yourself, or go into debt to receive the very drugs that could save your life.
The patent as mentioned above should technically expire by December or January, depending on the actual date the patent expires on and if it falls on a holiday, however, flooding the market with equally effective drugs will keep costs down, boost safer sexual practices, and should someone be subjected to sexual assault or have a condom break, will have an extra layer of protection available to them, which surely can’t be a bad thing and will save the government a small fortune in long term medications which can now so easily be prevented by following the ethos of ‘Prevention is as good as a cure’.