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MSF: Gilead must do more to make lifesaving drug widely available for people with HIV

Lifesaving HIV drugs

As Gilead Sciences held its annual stockholders’ meeting yesterday, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) called on the US pharmaceutical corporation to finally fulfill its 2018 promise and ensure that the lifesaving drug liposomal amphotericin B (L-AmB, marketed as Ambisome) is more widely available for people with HIV who also have cryptococcal meningitis—an opportunistic fungal infection that is the number two killer of people living with HIV/AIDS.

This medicine must be immediately available to people in all the 116 low- and middle-income countries eligible for Gilead’s “no-profit” access price, said MSF. Gilead is the main supplier of quality-assured L-AmB, which is a central medicine in the WHO-recommended regimen to treat cryptococcal meningitis.

Erin da Costa, HIV/hepatitis pharmacist for MSF’s Access Campaign, said today:

“It’s really disappointing that, despite Gilead promising over four years ago to provide L-AmB for the treatment of cryptococcal meningitis at the access price of $16.25 per vial, the drug is not available to all eligible countries at this price.

“In addition, Gilead has done little to fulfill its commitment to register L-AmB in countries with a high burden of cryptococcal meningitis.

“Gilead just boasted a robust 2022 product revenue of $27 billion, so the corporation seems to have the means to follow through on its access promises.

“It is time for Gilead to prioritize broad access to L-AmB across low- and middle-income countries.”

About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende