Over 300 demand Gilead share HIV drug for developing countries

Over 300 prominent figures, including politicians, health experts, and celebrities, are urging US pharmaceutical giant Gilead to make a potentially life-saving HIV drug accessible to developing countries.

In an open letter to Gilead CEO Daniel O’Day, they called for the company to allow generic versions of Lenacapavir to be produced. 

This long-acting drug, approved in 2022 for use in the US and EU, requires only two injections a year, making it ideal for regions with limited healthcare infrastructure.

The signatories, including former world leaders and AIDS activists, emphasized the urgency of expanding access. 

They argued that Lenacapavir could be a “game-changer” in the fight against HIV, particularly for those in the “Global South” who often lack access to high-quality healthcare.

Their plea comes as the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that Africa bears the brunt of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

In 2022, two-thirds of the world’s 39 million people living with HIV resided in Africa, and the continent tragically suffered 380,000 of the 630,000 AIDS-related deaths recorded globally.

The letter urges Gilead to license Lenacapavir to the Medicines Patent Pool, a UN-backed initiative that facilitates the production of affordable generic versions of essential medicines. 

This would significantly lower the drug’s cost and improve access for millions in developing countries most affected by HIV.

The call to action highlights the critical need for broader access to life-saving treatments, particularly in regions facing resource constraints. 

Global cooperation and initiatives like the Medicines Patent Pool are essential to ensure that advancements in healthcare reach everyone who needs them.

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