Truvada is a blockbuster drug used to treat and prevent HIV infection. Manufactured by Gilead Sciences, Truvada is a combination of two patented drugs in one pill. Several generic drug manufacturers challenged the validity of the patents on these drugs, especially one called emtricitabine. Gilead settled all of this litigation, including a case it filed against the Indian generic drug manufacturer Cipla. The Jacksonville Police Officers and Fire Fighters Health Insurance Trust, represented by Whatley Kallas, alleged that although Gilead was the plaintiff, the settlement apparently included a large payment from Gilead to Cipla in the form of a license to produce another patented drug, as well as other consideration. This is known as a “reverse payment settlement,” and the Supreme Court has held that it can trigger antitrust scrutiny.
The complaint alleges that Gilead’s agreement with Cipla helped stave off generic competition for Truvada from January 2018 to mid-2021, during which time Gilead charged more than $2,000 for a month’s supply of Truvada, and earned more than $6 billion in revenue in the United States. Had there been generic competition against Truvada during this time, the price of the generic would likely have been far less.
Gilead and Cipla moved to dismiss, but Senior District Judge Jeffrey S. White of the Northern District of California held that the complaint stated a cause of action. The plaintiff has been given additional time to add more class representatives to the complaint. A copy of the complaint can be found here, and the opinion denying the motion to dismiss can be found here.