TDF HIV Drug Lawsuit Against Gilead

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Individuals taking Gilead’s HIV drug tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) may have developed kidney disease and/or experienced bone density loss as a side effect. Our attorneys are investigating allegations that Gilead knew its TDF drugs could potentially harm users, but withheld a less toxic version of the drug from the market in an effort to maximize TDF drug profits.

If you took one or more of Gilead’s TDF drugs — Truvada, Viread, Atripla, Complera, and Stribild — and developed kidney issues or bone density loss, you may be eligible for compensation through a lawsuit against Gilead. Previously, our class action attorneys have helped victims of other dangerous drugs — such as Kombiglyze XR — recover compensation, and they may also be able to help you.

TDF Drugs for HIV Treatment

Gilead’s TDF drugs belong to a class of antiretroviral drugs known as nucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitors that are prescribed to treat HIV. These drugs inhibit the activity of reverse-transcriptase, an enzyme that is crucial in the replication and progression of HIV.

In combination with other medications, TDF drugs can slow the progression of HIV and keep HIV-positive individuals healthy for many years, according to the Center for Disease Control. Not taking antiretroviral drugs isn’t an option for HIV-positive individuals, even if they come with serious side effects.

At this time, there are five Gilead TDF drugs available to people infected with HIV:

  • Viread
  • Truvada
  • Atripla
  • Complera
  • Stribild

How Have People Been Harmed by Gilead’s TDF Drugs?

Individuals taking one or more of Gilead’s TDF drugs allegedly have an increased risk of developing kidney issues and experiencing bone density loss.

Chronic Kidney Disease Injuries

Since Gilead’s first TDF drug came to market, nearly 20,000 people taking one or more of the drug manufacturer’s TDF drugs have allegedly been diagnosed with kidney disease. Kidney damage is a particularly dangerous side effect because the kidneys are resilient and adapt so easily when damaged that symptoms only begin appearing once irreversible damage has already occurred.

…nearly 20,000 people taking one or more of the drug manufacturer’s TDF drugs have allegedly been diagnosed with kidney disease.

Kidneys are one of the body’s most important organs because they filter electrolytes, wastes, and fluid from the bloodstream into urine, and out of the body. Chronic kidney disease prevents the kidneys from effectively filtering the bloodstream, and waste can build up to dangerously high levels if left unaddressed. In the most severe cases of chronic kidney disease, people will need to undergo dialysis or have a kidney transplant.

Common symptoms of kidney failure include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Poor concentration
  • Swelling of feet and ankles
  • Itchy skin
  • Need to urinate frequently
  • High blood pressure

Aside from chronic kidney disease, individuals taking Gilead’s TDF drugs are at risk of developing several other kidney-related conditions, including:

  • Acute kidney injury (AKI) or acute renal failure (ARF): A kidney disorder in which the kidneys suddenly have difficulty filtering waste from the blood.
  • Fanconi syndrome: A kidney tubule disorder that causes excess levels of glucose, potassium, and bicarbonate to be excreted in the urine.
  • Renal tubular acidosis: A kidney condition involving the build up of acid in the bloodstream due to the kidneys failure to filter it out.

Bone Density Injuries

Since 2009, there have been nearly 6,000 reports of bone breaks allegedly connected to TDF use.

Shortly after Gilead released Viread — its first TDF drug to reach market — studies began correlating its use to bone density loss. One 2010 study found that “a strong correlation between loss of bone density in HIV-infected individuals, particularly in conjunction with the antiretroviral drug tenofovir.”

A more recent study, published in 2016, announced similar findings, stating “Several studies have demonstrated an approximately 1–3 percent greater bone mineral density loss with TDF compared with other agents.”

Since 2009, there have been nearly 6,000 reports of bone breaks allegedly connected to TDF use.

Bone tissue never stops growing because new tissue is necessary to replace older tissue. When old tissue deteriorates faster than new tissue can grow, or new tissue stops growing altogether, people can develop osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones are so weak that minor falls or stresses can cause them to fracture.

TDF users have alleged they developed osteopenia while taking the HIV drug, a precursor condition to osteoporosis in which bone density levels fall below their peak levels. Common symptoms for osteoporosis and osteopenia include:

  • Back pain
  • Stooped posture
  • Loss of height
  • Bone fractures that happen from a minor stress or fall

In addition to bone density issues and kidney disease, some TDF users have also reported liver problems and lactic acidosis, a condition that causes lactic acid to build up in the body.

Why Are People Filing Lawsuits Against Gilead?

In 2001, Gilead’s first TDF drug came to market. That same year, Gilead began development of less toxic alternative to TDF known as tenofovir alafenamide fumarate (TAF). In 2003, Gilead placed a label on its TDF drugs warning of the possible side effects, and a year later the drug manufacturer stopped development of the less toxic TAF.

In 2010, Gilead resumed its development of TAF, and by 2015 the first TAF drug — Genvoya — was released to the public. The patent on Gilead’s TDF drugs expired in 2018, but the company will still be able to profit until at least 2031, when Gilead’s TAF patent expires.

We allege that individuals who took one or more of Gilead’s TDF drugs endured up to 10 years of additional toxicity even though Gilead had already developed a safer alternative. As a result, those who took one or more of Gilead’s TDF drugs may be eligible for compensation via a lawsuit against Gilead.

Morgan & Morgan Wants to Help You Recover Compensation

There is no question that Gilead’s TDF drugs — Viread, Atripla, Complera, Stribild, or Truvada — have improved the lives of people living with HIV. However, the allegations that TDF knew about potential side effects of these drugs and developed a safer alternative but then withheld it to maximize profits on the more toxic version are deeply troubling. If the allegations are true, Gilead must be held responsible.

If you developed kidney issues or experienced bone density loss after taking one or more of Gilead’s TDF drugs, you may be eligible for compensation. We are working with Ben Crump Law and Hilliard Martinez Gonzales to hold Gilead accountable. Contact us today to learn how we may be able to help you file a lawsuit and recover compensation.