Truvada lawsuit: What you need to know
Gilead Sciences currently faces multiple complaints involving the dangerous side effects of one of its antiretroviral drugs, Truvada®, which is a prescription medicine used to treat people who are HIV-positive and prevent people who are HIV-negative from contracting the virus. The HIV drug contains tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF), which studies have found leads to serious, potentially irreversible side effects and illnesses.
If you or someone you love took Truvada and suffered severe health consequences, you may qualify to file a personal injury lawsuit against Gilead Sciences to pursue compensation for your injuries and subsequent damages. Victims who suffered permanent injuries now have an opportunity to file an individual Truvada lawsuit or join a mass tort action against the pharmaceutical company to hold it liable for negligence.
How do you know if you have grounds for a Truvada lawsuit?
You will have grounds to bring a Truvada lawsuit forward if you suffered an injury or illness caused by the pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) drug. Truvada, along with other antiretroviral drugs produced by Gilead Sciences, contain tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF). Per Clinical Info, TDF can lead to:
- Liver failure and other liver problems
- Kidney failure and other kidney problems (e.g., Fanconi syndrome)
- Immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS)
- Other immune system changes, including changes caused by HIV
- Osteoporosis and other bone mineral loss problems, such as osteopenia, osteomalacia, and bone softening
- Lactic acidosis, a blood condition that involves excessive levels of lactic acid in the bloodstream
Health journal AIDS reported on a 2009 study that linked TDF with kidney disease and other negative side effects, yet HIV drugs with TDF continue to sell in the market. The dangers of TDF were not widely known in the public sphere until 2018 when complaints against Gilead Sciences were filed.
Plaintiffs who were unaware of Truvada’s health risks and who suffered an injury related to one of its side effects have grounds to claim the pharmaceutical company acted negligently in releasing, marketing, and selling a drug that could harm consumers. On top of that, Truvada is one of multiple TDF drugs produced by Gilead Sciences, along with others including Stribild® and Viread®.
Did Gilead Sciences know about the dangers of taking Truvada and related drugs?
Ongoing trial cases about Truvada and False Claims Act violations committed by Gilead Sciences allege that the manufacturer was aware of Truvada’s health risks to consumers as it reported to government agencies and sold the drug to consumers. The company conducts its own research on drugs it produces and was actively researching alternative PrEP medicines that did not have the same risks caused by long-term TDF exposure.
Business Wire reported on two California lawsuits against Gilead Sciences that allege the company made efforts to keep “HIV infected patients and their doctors in the dark about the true risks associated with TDF, along with the solution to those risks, for over a decade,” which falls in line with the 2009 study reported by AIDS. If you decide to make this claim in your individual lawsuit, your Truvada lawsuit lawyer will need to cite evidence that supports:
- How long the dangers of TDF became medical knowledge in the pharmaceutical industry
- How long Gilead Sciences was aware of this information
- What efforts Gilead Sciences performed to hide this information from consumers
- How these efforts affected you personally from being aware of this information
Your lawyer may look into current claims against the defendant or suggest joining a mass tort action and file within a multidistrict litigation (MDL).
How can a personal injury lawyer help build a case against Gilead Sciences?
If you are unsure about whether you have grounds to file a Truvada lawsuit, a personal injury firm that serves your area can review your case. Many personal injury law firms that handle product liability cases offer free consultations to go over the prospective client’s circumstances, legal rights, and litigation options within the state.
If you decide to work with a mass tort attorney, they can manage your case for you and perform other services to build your case while you focus on your own recovery and any other personal matters in your life. A lawyer can serve you by:
- Investigating and researching your case: Your lawyer can research relevant complaints filed against Gilead Sciences and investigate your personal circumstances to find information that establishes how the company’s negligence led to your injuries. Your lawyer will create an argument that demonstrates why Gilead Sciences should be held liable for your damages and then present it for you.
- Collecting evidence that backs up your claims: During their investigation, your lawyer can also collect supporting evidence for your case, which may include medical records, study reports, lab test results, and expert witness testimony.
- Consulting expert witnesses who can provide testimony: Depending on what points you make in your case, your lawyer may consult industry experts who can provide insight into your case. Expert witnesses may involve economists, medical professionals, and vocational rehabilitation specialists, among other professionals.
- Handling communications to protect your case: Gilead Sciences is a major commercial business, so you may have attorneys and other inquiring parties reach out to settle your case before it goes to trial. While an early settlement offer might be tempting, you may want to refer these parties to your lawyer, who can verify whether the settlement offer is fair to you or protect you from admitting anything that could jeopardize your case.
- Calculating the damages you experienced: Various damages qualify for compensation in personal injury cases, which your lawyer can explain based on your state laws. They can calculate an approximate value of your economic and non-economic damages and then use this figure as a guideline on how much compensation to negotiate or petition for in your case.
- Preparing your case for trial within your state: Your legal team can also handle administrative work involved with filing a Truvada lawsuit. They can review your state’s statute of limitations to determine how long you have to submit appropriate legal paperwork to the court system and handle other legal tasks, such as requesting trial dates, filing legal motions, and sending notice letters about your intention to sue to involved parties.
- Negotiating a potential lawsuit with the defendant: If your lawyer sees an opportunity to negotiate a settlement out of court with Gilead Sciences or other related parties, they may arrange meetings to do so. They can serve as your advocate during these meetings, present your case privately, and then relay messages or offers from the defendant to you for review. You have the final word on which offer you accept, and you can always choose to continue with a lawsuit if you do not want to accept an offer or if negotiations come to a standstill.
- Representing you in court: Finally, hiring a personal injury lawyer ultimately means you will have a legal representative on the court floor when presenting your case argument to a judge and jury. Having someone who understands the technicalities of personal injury law in your state can be a useful tool if you’ve never navigated the litigation process before.
Many personal injury law firms also operate on a contingency-fee basis, which allows clients who are not in a financial position to hire a lawyer have a method to do so. This fee agreement postpones any upfront attorney’s fees to the end of the plaintiff’s case, and the plaintiff is only obligated to pay these fees if their lawyer wins their case.
In many cases, a portion of the plaintiff’s compensation award pays for their lawyer’s fees, which takes the burden off their own personal finances.
What is involved in filing a Truvada lawsuit?
If you are interested in filing a Truvada lawsuit, you must know the following:
- Whether you qualify to file a lawsuit against Gilead Sciences
- Whether you are still within the statutory period to file your case with your state’s court system
- Whether there are ongoing Truvada lawsuits, meaning potential for mass tort options for your case
Law firms handling Truvada cases can discuss these points with you when reviewing your case.
Who is eligible to file a Truvada lawsuit?
You may qualify to file a Truvada lawsuit if:
- You took Truvada as a prescription treatment for HIV or a preventative measure to contracting the disease.
- You suffered negative side effects related to TDF, such as lactic acidosis, liver and kidney damage, and loss of bone mineral density.
- A physician diagnosed you with a severe health condition related to Truvada use, such as osteoporosis, osteopenia, osteomalacia, or bone necrosis.
If you have yet to confirm whether your health condition may tie with your Truvada use, consult your physician for examination. Your medical records can serve as evidence for your case and also show the exact date when you discovered Truvada may have led to your injuries.
How long does a plaintiff have to file a lawsuit?
Each state sets a different deadline for filing personal injury lawsuits about defective products, so you will need to refer to your state’s statute of limitations on this rule. Generally, the filing period starts on the day you discovered Truvada caused your injuries. In many states, the deadline is two years from the date of discovery.
When working with a personal injury law firm, your legal team can inform you about how long you have to file legal action against Gilead Sciences, though many will encourage you to act sooner rather than later so as to avoid missing the filing deadline. If you fail to submit your case on time, it could lead to these consequences:
- Gilead Sciences would have grounds to file a request for dismissal on your case, which the company intends to do and has done on other cases filed against it.
- The reviewing judge may grant this request and dismiss your case.
- If the judge dismisses your case, you cannot pursue compensation through litigation and will have to cover your damages out of your own pocket instead, as Gilead Sciences will no longer be held liable for your injuries.
While many plaintiffs file lawsuits, many cases settle out of court as both legal sides negotiate terms. Filing a lawsuit serves as a leverage tool to help plaintiffs have a legal foot to stand on when taking on major corporations. Your personal injury attorney will advocate for your interests and provide guidance whenever you have questions or concerns.
Are there current claims involving Truvada?
Current Truvada lawsuits include:
- Michael Lujano and Jonathan C. Gary vs. Gilead Sciences (2018): Lujano and Gary took Truvada and Atripla as treatment for about a decade each when they began experiencing severe health problems, including Fanconi syndrome, osteoporosis, and osteopenia. The case is being tried on negligence and breach of warranty claims.
- Christopher Pierot v. Gilead Sciences (2018): Pierot took Truvada for one year to manage his HIV symptoms. He developed osteoporosis and bone necrosis that required him to get a hip replacement, which led to chronic pain after surgery. Pierot claimed that TDF was at toxic levels in his blood plasma, which could affect parts of the body unaffected by HIV.
- Vanessa L. Naisha v. Gilead Sciences (2019): Naisha took Truvada when it first sold in the market in 2004, then developed bone loss in her hips five years later that required her to get two hip replacements, use a wheelchair, and an emergency blood transfusion during one surgery that led to complications. She also developed osteopenia. However, Naisha did not discover the correlation between her health problems and Truvada until 2018.
If you or a loved one suspect your symptoms or health condition connects with your Truvada use, a law firm near you can review your case and explain what steps to take to start building your case against Gilead Sciences. As more plaintiffs file complaints against the pharmaceutical company, you may also have an opportunity to join a mass tort action. Many Truvada lawsuit lawyers offer free consultations with their team to allow prospective clients to better understand their legal options.
What documents do you need to file a Truvada lawsuit?
You will need these documents to support your Truvada lawsuit:
- Medical records that clearly state you were prescribed Truvada and took the PrEP drug to treat your HIV or prevent you from contracting HIV
- Medical invoices for treatments you received, such as for surgeries, diagnostic exams, and follow-up appointments
- Receipts for Truvada prescriptions you paid for
- Reports about injuries you sustained as a result of Truvada use
- Salary information, such as tax return forms, paychecks, and W-2 or 1099 forms
- Images of your injuries, which can include regular photographs or X-ray and other medical images
You may need to provide other forms of documentation to prove other aspects of your case. For example, if you claim emotional distress as a compensable damage, you may need to provide medical proof from a psychiatric professional that you suffered mental health consequences as a result of your Truvada-related illness.
How much compensation is a plaintiff entitled to in a Truvada lawsuit?
The amount of compensation a plaintiff might pursue in a Truvada lawsuit will vary by the plaintiff’s personal damages, as plaintiffs generally must calculate the value of their damages and present this total when submitting their lawsuit. If you decide to hire a personal injury lawyer to help you with your case, they can do this task for you and explain which damages qualify for compensation.
Damages typically fall within two categories, economic and non-economic damages, which we explain below.
Economic damages involve financial losses or debts you experienced or might experience because of your injuries. Regarding an illness caused by using Truvada to treat HIV, you might claim economic damages like:
- Medical expenses: This category includes expenses for hospitalization, prescription medicines (including Truvada), emergency room treatment, doctor’s appointments, and diagnostic tests (e.g., lab work or imaging exams). Your lawyer will likely calculate your current expenses, then use your medical records, treatment plan, or insight from an expert witness to calculate future expenses you might face.
- Income loss: If Truvada use caused you to suffer debilitating side effects or illness, then you might have had to miss work to recover or receive treatment. Your lawyer can account for wages you lost related to your injuries, as well as future income you might lose if your injuries still require treatment or developed into a permanent disability that prevents you from returning to work.
- Reduced earning potential: On the same track as income loss, if your injuries prevent you from working in your regular job but allow you to do lighter work or work in a lower-paying position, then you can demand compensation for the difference in salary, including promotions or raises you now miss out on.
- Domestic care services: If your injuries prevent you from taking care of your home, children, or yourself in general, you may qualify to recover costs for domestic care services you needed to hire to fulfill these tasks. This damage includes costs for home care, childcare, lawn care, and other caretaking services.
There may be other expenses you can claim in your case, such as costs for home modifications if your condition forces you to use a wheelchair to get around. Your lawyer will discuss several factors to reach an accurate total on your damages, as once your case settles, you will not be able to pursue additional compensation.
Non-economic damages refer to physical, mental, and emotional damages related to the victim’s injury or illness. These damages do not readily have a financial value because they are subjective, but there are court-approved formulas that law firms can use to calculate their value. The goal is to assign a value that reflects the impact the victim’s illness had on their way of life, relationships, and abilities.
Non-economic damages may include:
- Pain and suffering: If your injuries caused you to suffer physical or emotional pain, be it chronic pain or emotional anguish, you may demand compensation for these types of injuries, including future pain and suffering you might experience.
- Emotional distress: Emotional distress covers mental consequences related to your illness, such as depression or anxiety. If you suffer from insomnia due to the stress surrounding your injury, you may also claim compensation for this damage.
- Permanent disability: In cases where Truvada users experienced liver or kidney failure and now have limited bodily functions regarding these organs, they may claim compensation for a permanent disability they now have. If you suffered another permanent injury, such as bone loss (osteoporosis), that may also apply.
- Diminished quality of life: Claimants who suffered extensive damages that have altered their way of living and interacting with loved ones, coworkers, and society may demand compensation for these significant changes, especially since Truvada is meant to serve as a treatment for people with HIV and give them an opportunity to have normal relationships.
Wrongful death damages
If your loved one passed away because of their Truvada-related injuries, this loss can be an overwhelming situation to process, let alone endure litigation for. However, your time may be limited to put a case together.
Working with a wrongful death lawyer can give you the space you need to grieve with your family without sacrificing time on building your case. Your lawyer can also discuss the damages you and your family suffered since your loved one passed away, which may include:
- Funeral expenses: This award can cover costs to arrange funeral services as well as burial or cremation services.
- Emotional losses: Losing a loved one can cause significant changes to family dynamics, be it for the spouse, child, or parent. A lawyer can help you petition for compensation that reflects your loss of love, affection, guidance, and companionship from your loved one.
- Loss of financial support or inheritance: If your loved one contributed to the family net worth, you may calculate current and future income loss from them to support your family.
Have there been any Truvada lawsuit settlements?
Current Truvada lawsuits are still undergoing trial; however, a related case against Gilead Sciences settled in 2020. The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) reported on September 23, 2020, that Gilead Sciences agreed to pay $97 million to resolve claims related to False Claims Act violations involving kickback payments.
The complaint alleged that Gilead Sciences:
- Used charitable donation as a method to have Medicare patients purchase drugs manufactured and sold by the company
- Committed health care fraud by disguising kickbacks as copay assistance for Medicare patients
- Obtained data from a 501(c)(3) foundation to determine which patients take the company’s pharmaceutical drug and made co-pay payments to the foundation for only those patients
Gilead Sciences faces other False Claims Act lawsuits.
Has there been a False Claims Act lawsuit about Truvada against Gilead Sciences?
Yes. In 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reopened another complaint filed against the pharmaceutical company that related to its antiretroviral drugs specifically.
In this complaint, the plaintiff alleged that the manufacturer misreported information about Truvada to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in an effort to reduce manufacturing costs and keep the drug on the public market. Other alleged claims involved:
- Gilead Sciences’ role in mismarketing Truvada and other dangerous antiretroviral drugs while understanding its defective properties
- How the company produced safer antiretroviral drugs approved by the FDA but continued to sell Truvada and related prescriptions
- Other misreports to the FDA
Your personal injury lawyer may cite these cases to build a profile on Gilead Sciences’ patterns for allegedly misreporting health and safety information to government agencies, false marketing, and other violations in the pharmaceutical drug industry.
Other complaints against Gilead Sciences
In 2018, Devin Martinez and Ricardo Wohler filed a complaint against Gilead Sciences that alleged the company had prior knowledge about TDF’s dangerous properties yet continued to produce, market, and sell drugs containing the ingredient anyway.
The AIDS Health Foundation (AHF) assisted the plaintiffs with their civil action lawsuit, Devin Martinez and Ricardo Wohler v. Gilead Sciences, and made other allegations:
- Gilead Sciences purposefully omitted information about TDF when reporting on antiretroviral drugs that contained the ingredient (e.g., Truvada) to the FDA.
- The company also removed information related to TDF health risks, such as damage to kidneys and bones, from drug labels so that the company could continue selling the dangerous drugs.
- The company marketed TDF drugs as a safe and effective treatment for HIV while actively researching alternative drug treatments that “greatly reduced the risk of toxicity to kidneys and bones.”
The FDA already reprimanded the manufacturer in 2002 and 2003 because it failed to warn consumers about dangers associated with TDF’s safety profile. While this lawsuit is separate from current Truvada lawsuits, it can build on the reputation Gilead Sciences has built on misreporting safety information about its products.
When you’re ready to file a Truvada lawsuit, we’re here to help
If you or a loved one used Truvada as a treatment for HIV and suffered negative side effects as a result, you may qualify to file a defective drug lawsuit against Gilead Sciences. A mass tort lawsuit lawyer near you can represent your case and gather information to support your claims. You may also be able to join a mass tort with other plaintiffs who suffered serious health consequences after using Truvada or related HIV medications that use TDF.
Fill out our contact form today for help with your case or to learn more about holding the manufacturer responsible.