In lawsuits against pharma giant Gilead Sciences, plaintiffs across California allege they suffered kidney injuries and bone injuries from HIV drugs made and distributed by Gilead that were more harmful derivatives than other newer drugs the company had created but would not sell until its stock of the more harmful drugs was exhausted.
Over 22,000 TDF patients have filed lawsuits against Gilead in California state court. This litigation has been consolidated before a single judge in San Francisco Superior Court to streamline the litigation and adjudicate the cases in an efficient manner. Fourteen individual test cases are being scheduled for what are known as “bellwether” trials, with the goal of moving the overall litigation towards resolution. The first bellwether trial has been scheduled for April 2022, and the parties are still working to identify the additional cases that will serve as bellwethers.
During a July 9, 2021 case management conference held to address various pending issues, the Judge issued several favorable orders for plaintiffs in the litigation, and denied Gilead’s request for a burdensome set of requirements for obtaining the testimony of plaintiffs facing extreme and urgent health problems who face the risk of not surviving to see their case go to trial, ruling that these special circumstances will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Gilead’s attorneys have indicated that the company will not be open to settlement discussions until after the first bellwether trial has been completed and more information regarding plaintiffs has been collected.
The Truvada, Atripla, Viread, Complera, Stribild Bone & Kidney Injuries
The Kidney Injuries relating to Gilead’s HIV drugs include chronic kidney disease, end stage renal disease (requiring dialysis), the rare Fanconi Syndrome, and Renal Tubule damage. These complications can lead to problems ranging from reduction in kidney function to complete kidney failure.
The Gilead HIV drug Bone Injuries include Osteopenia/Loss of bone density (with associated harm such as bone fracture or tooth loss), Osteoporosis, and Osteomalacia. The risk of patients suffering these bone injuries can be increased when patients also use steroids, antacids, anticonvulsants, or opioid drugs and when patients also suffer from thyroid disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, and autoimmune disorders.
The Gilead Truvada and Other HIV Drug Lawsuits
These first-in-the-nation claims against Gilead Sciences, Inc. allege injuries arising from plaintiffs’ ingestion of certain drugs used for the treatment of HIV. The lawsuit seeks damages and other remedies for personal injuries stemming from the ingestion of Gilead’s prescription medications (Truvada® and Atripla®) that contain tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (“TDF”). Among other things, Plaintiffs allege that Gilead knew or should have known of a safer alternative design for its TDF-containing drugs, and that Gilead failed to adequately warn of the known and knowable risks associated with its medications. The lawsuit alleges causes of action for strict products liability, negligent products liability, breach of implied warranty, and breach of express warranty.