Gilead Sciences, Inc. developed Atripla to treat patients suffering from HIV. Unfortunately, the drug caused numerous side effects and complications. Lawsuits have been filed alleging that Gilead knew of these problems but failed to warn patients about them. Some have even argued that the company deliberately withheld a safer version of the drug. If you or a loved one is taking Atripla or a similar medication, here is what you should know.
Atripla combines the drugs efavirenz (EFV), emtricitabine (FTC), and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF). TDF does not cure HIV/AIDS, but helps prevent the spread of HIV cells. Meanwhile, the other drugs help treat complications arising from HIV.
Taken once a day as a pill, Atripla contains very high concentrations of its constituent drugs. It can be taken as part of an HIV treatment regimen, or alone. Atripla is known to cause such side effects as fatigue, dizziness, headache, muscle pain, stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, and depression.
However, the drug has also been connected to more severe physical conditions. Lawsuits have focused on a variety of side effects caused by TDF, especially those affecting the bones. Loss of bone density (osteopenia) and osteoporosis have been reported. Weaker, thinner bones are more prone to fractures, even after relatively minor injuries. Some patients have experienced kidney complications as well. These include reduced kidney function, chronic kidney disease, and other dysfunctions.
Gilead allegedly knew about these side effects but failed to warn patients and doctors about them. In particular, Gilead did not disclose such information on their warning labels as required by law. When drug companies fail to warn about known safety risks, doctors cannot accurately prescribe medication. And when patients don’t know or understand the possible consequences of a drug, they can’t make an informed choice. Worse, their health is jeopardized because the drug company puts profits over people which is why you should contact a New York dangerous drugs lawyer.
The company may have also developed a safer drug that it kept off the market to increase its profits. Gilead allegedly hid research showing that lower doses of an alternative drug, tenofovir alafenamide fumarate (TAF), accomplished the same results. Instead of putting TAF on the market, Gilead shelved and quietly patented it. TAF was kept in the waiting, plaintiffs have alleged, to sell to patients when patents on its TDF drugs expired. The company would have taken a financial hit to sell a safer TAF product.
Multiple lawsuits have been filed, with many more pending across the country. Potential causes of action include failure to warn, manufacturing defects, and strict liability. Plaintiffs are seeking economic and non-economic damages, including:
- Medical bills to treat complications resulting from Atripla
- Future medical expenses for ongoing care
- Lost wages and loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress such as anxiety and sleep loss
- Funeral and burial expenses in the event of wrongful death
- Legal fees
Some lawsuits have also sought punitive damages against Gilead, particularly relating to the safer TAF drug. The intent of these damages would be to punish Gilead for its conduct in hiding the drug to increase profits.
Our New York Mass Tort Attorneys Can Help
Lawsuits alleging product defects and related claims can be exceptionally complex. They require extensive investigation into patients’ medical records, expert witnesses, and more. Gilead has deep pockets and is aggressively trying to fend off lawsuits to protect its bottom line. You need a legal team that can take on the drug manufacturer to win the compensation you need and deserve. The experienced attorneys at Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C., will fight for your legal rights. If you or a loved one has used Atripla, contact us today.