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4 July 2023FeaturesBig PharmaMarisa Woutersen

Gilead and Teva prevail in $3.6bn antitrust trial

Gilead Sciences and Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries have received a favourable verdict in an HIV antitrust trial in the US District Court for the Northern District of California.

The lawsuit, brought by consumers and direct purchasers, including the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, accused Gilead of maintaining a monopoly in the HIV drug market by unlawfully extending patent protection to delay generic competition.

The plaintiffs sought $3.6 billion in damages.

The jury returned a verdict in favour of Gilead, affirming that the 2014 patent settlement between Gilead and Teva did not violate antitrust law and was not a reverse payment.

Instead, Gilead promoted competition and facilitated access to generic versions of Atripla (efavirenz/emtricitabine/tenofovir) and Truvada (emtricitabine/tenofovir), before the expiration of Gilead's patents protecting those medicines.

The lawsuit arose in 2019 when Gilead was accused of engaging in an extensive conspiracy to limit competition in the HIV drug market.

Gilead established a monopoly in the market for combination antiretroviral therapy, a modern HIV treatment, through anticompetitive practices, alleged Blue Cross, Blue Shield and the co-plaintiffs.

These practices, said the complaint, enabled Gilead to extend patent protection, hinder generic competitors, and overcharge for HIV drugs.

The lawsuit further accused Gilead and its co-conspirators of colluding to limit competition for Tenofovir, even after its patents expired.

Deborah Telman, executive vice president, corporate affairs and general counsel at Gilead said: “Gilead is committed to enabling broad access to our potentially life-saving HIV medications, and the verdict confirms that our 2014 patent settlement between Gilead and Teva did not violate antitrust law.”

“With this matter now behind us, we will continue to focus on pursuing innovation to address the unmet needs of people affected by HIV around the world and we remain committed to our shared goal to end the HIV epidemic for everyone, everywhere,” Telman continued.

Gilead dominates the antiretroviral drug market, with over 80% of HIV patients in the US using Gilead's products, resulting in annual sales exceeding $11 billion.

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