A generic form of Truvada has been approved by The Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Hivplusmag.com has reported that the recently approved generic drug might just be the pill to lower the cost of pre-exposure prophylaxis medication, more commonly known by its acronym PrEP.
Generic drugs are generally far cheaper than brand-name ones. The price is about $1,500 a month, or $18,000 a year, for the one-pill-daily dose of Truvada, as prescribed for PrEP, Medscape reports, with insurers and patient assistance programs covering much of the cost. The price of the generic hasn’t been announced, but Mitchell Warren, executive director of HIV prevention organization AVAC, told Medscape that a generic drug will likely reduce the cost of PrEP by 80 percent. Generic versions of Truvada sold overseas have a price tag as low as $70 a year, he told the site.
PrEP is an HIV preventative that provides an extra layer of protection besides condoms and other healthy safe-sex practices. Truvada has been the primary pill used as the medication for PrEP. So, the news about the generic pill is good but it’s not all positive as there are mixed signals surrounding the release of the new pill.
Just when the generic will be available isn’t certain. Teva did not immediately respond to a request for information, and Gilead issued a statement to Poz asserting that the generic won’t be on the market right away because it still holds patents on Truvada’s components. But FDA official Jeffrey Murray told Poz the generic drug “will now be available in the U.S.”
Tim Horn of Treatment Action Group told Poz, “Approval of a generic product doesn’t necessarily mean that product launch is imminent. … It’s not uncommon in patent settlement agreements for generics to negotiate language permitting full approvals months and years in advance of the settlement license date. Regardless, now is the time to start thinking seriously about the advantages as well as the drawbacks of generic products to prevent and treat HIV.”