What Is the Lawsuit Against Truvada?

When patients seek treatment from their doctors and other health care providers, they trust that the medications they receive are safe. However, pharmaceutical companies may not always disclose the full risks associated with their products—and patients can pay for their recklessness. 

If you’re dealing with serious health complications after taking Truvada, you are not alone. The lawsuit against Truvada’s manufacturer is looking to hold the company liable for dangerous health risks that can result from Truvada use. You might be able to seek compensation through a Truvada lawsuit. A Truvada Lawsuit lawyer can explain your legal options and help you seek justice.

What Is Truvada?

Truvada is a type of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medication used to treat and prevent the spread of HIV. The drug can be prescribed to people who are not infected with HIV but are looking for protection to lower the likelihood of future infection. This can be beneficial for people who do not consistently use condoms during sex or have a partner with HIV, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

In its generic form, Truvada is known as tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) and emtricitabine. In combination, these medications work to block the HIV virus’ pathways for infection. Truvada is manufactured by Gilead Sciences, Inc. (Gilead)

Potential Dangers of Taking Truvada

While Truvada’s manufacturers make many promises about the drug’s safety and health uses, the drug has been shown to cause:

  • Kidney damage
  • Kidney failure
  • Lactic acidosis
  • Bone density loss and osteoporosis

Research confirms that taking Truvada can lead to heightened risks of these health outcomes. However, taking HIV preventative medication could be an important part of your health plan, and not everyone who takes Truvada will face these risks. It is important to speak with your doctor about how Truvada could impact your kidney or bone health. 

For instance, some people who take Truvada could be at higher risk of kidney damage if it is used in combination with certain other HIV drugs. If you’ve faced symptoms of kidney damage or bone loss, read on to learn how Truvada could be related to these health complications. 

Kidney Damage, Renal Failure, and Bone Density Loss

A University of California San Francisco (UCSF) study notes that, for every year a patient takes Truvada, there is a 34% increase of risk that the patient will have protein in their urine, which could be a signal of kidney damage. The risk of developing chronic kidney disease increased by 33%. Researchers note that these gradual decreases in kidney function can impact a patient’s longevity. (AIDS)

Additionally, studies note that this renal failure could cause further complications for patients. Bone density loss, which can result in a 1% to 3% loss for those who regularly take the medication, could be a result of Truvada-induced dysfunction in the kidneys. (Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management) (Current Opinion in HIV and AIDS)

Lactic Acidosis 

Perhaps the most serious complication that can result from taking Truvada is that it may place patients at higher risk of lactic acidosis. This happens when the kidneys are so damaged that they can no longer filter all necessary chemicals from the bloodstream, including lactic acid. The buildup of lactic acid in the body can lead to lactic acidosis, which lowers the body’s pH levels. This can lead to organ failure and could even be deadly. 

Studies have shown that progressive use of Truvada can ultimately contribute to lactic acidosis, especially when Truvada interacts with certain other pharmaceuticals. Some medical professionals caution that this health risk is particularly heightened when patients are taking didanosine simultaneously. (BMJ)

Truvada Side Effects

You could also be facing other side effects from the drug, such as vomiting, headache, upset stomach, appetite loss, and other issues. 

Will Truvada Damage My Kidneys and Bones?

If you’re taking Truvada and believe you’re having symptoms of kidney damage or bone loss, you should talk to your doctor. (Mayo Clinic)

These symptoms could be a sign of kidney damage or renal failure:

  • Less urine output
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea

Symptoms of bone density loss include back pain, bones that break or fracture more easily, loss of height, or stooped posture. (Mayo Clinic) It is important to review your concerns about potential kidney damage and bone density loss with your doctor. 

Discontinuing any medication on your own without consulting a doctor is never recommended. Your doctor could also recommend alternative medications besides Truvada.

Are Truvada Lawsuit Ads Misleading?

Recent advertisements run on the social media platform Facebook called for participants in a Truvada class action lawsuit. Scientists and Gilead critiqued the ads. Those who criticize the ads say the law firms promoting the class action case are exaggerating the risks of renal failure and bone density loss. (The Guardian)

While this particular class action ad campaign was critiqued for suggesting a high likelihood of risk, many of the concerns related to Truvada are backed by the medical community and AIDS health advocates.  

In 2016, Gilead was accused of running misleading ads of its own. In an ad called, “I Like to Party,” Truvada was positioned as a drug that could be taken situationally when users plan on participating in unprotected sex. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation responded to the ad with a complaint to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), noting that Gilead was suggesting a non-approved use of the drug. (Business Wire)

Is Truvada Less Safe Than Descovy?

Descovy is another type of PrEP medication that works to protect users from HIV infection. Descovy is similar to Truvada in this way, and it is also manufactured by Gilead. 

While it has received FDA approval, Descovy is a newer medication and has not been tested as extensively as Truvada. Therefore, it’s not yet possible to determine if Descovy is a safer medication overall. Gilead notes that 1% fewer people stopped taking Truvada because of its side effects compared to Truvada. 

Gilead notes that diarrhea, nausea, headache, fatigue, and abdominal pain were reported as side effects during clinical trials for the drug. The manufacturer also warns that people who have acute HIV-1 infection should not take Descovy. 

What Claims Are Alleged in the Truvada Lawsuits?

In the lawsuit against Truvada’s manufacturer, the primary claims plaintiffs are bringing against Gilead include the following:

  • Gilead was aware of the risks of Truvada but failed to sufficiently warn patients and doctors of those risks. 
  • Gilead had developed a safer TDF-based alternative for Truvada but failed to release this drug to the market to maximize profits from Truvada. 

As a result, victims are now seeking damages for health conditions such as kidney damage and bone density loss. 

How to Know if You Qualify to File a Lawsuit Against Truvada

You may be wondering what it takes to qualify for a lawsuit against the makers of Truvada, which is Gilead. One of the best ways to understand your legal options is to seek out a consultation from a law firm. An injury lawyer can explain your next best steps and what the lawsuit process could entail. 

For now, know that you could be eligible to seek compensation if:

  • You took Truvada as intended.
  • You suffered kidney damage or bone density loss.
  • You are facing damages as a result, including medical bills and other losses.

Filing Suit for Damages Caused by Other TDF-Based Medications

Gilead is the maker of other TDF-based medications that could also be dangerous. If you are facing health problems as a result of using these medications, you could have a case:

  • Atripla
  • Complera
  • Stribild
  • Viread

What Forms of Compensation Are Available for Victims? 

If you faced health consequences after taking Truvada, you could get compensation for many of your costs and losses that resulted from your injury. These include:

Medical Expenses

Whether you have kidney damage or bone density loss as a result of taking Truvada, you could be facing serious medical care needs. Not only could you have to pay for doctor’s visits to diagnose the condition and receive treatments to reverse your condition, but you may have to pay for costly and dangerous secondary complications.  

You could recover the following costs and losses:

  • Emergency room visits
  • Hospitalizations
  • Visits to a doctor or specialist
  • Surgeries
  • Medications

Career Challenges

When you’re living with serious health problems, you could have to take time off work due to your symptoms or the need to get medical care. 

You could recover career-related losses such as:

  • Lost earnings
  • Reduced earning capacity
  • Missed opportunities for bonuses and promotions

Non-Financial Losses

Many other challenges could be compensable through a Truvada lawsuit, including:

  • Reduced enjoyment of life
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disability

You could be eligible to seek other forms of compensation beyond those listed here. A lawyer can help you determine the available damages in your case. 

How a Lawyer Can Help You File a Lawsuit Against Gilead Sciences, Inc.

If you’re considering a lawsuit against Gilead for damages related to Truvada, you may want to seek out a lawyer’s help. 

Dangerous drug cases can be especially complex, and bringing a lawsuit against a major pharmaceutical company can come with many challenges. However, a lawyer may be familiar with these kinds of cases and will understand how to steer your case through every step.  

A Truvada Lawsuit attorney can:

  • Investigate your case to gather evidence of your harm and Gilead’s liability
  • Use expert witness testimony to prove a link between your health problem and Truvada
  • Calculate your losses and determine what damages you could seek
  • Explain how state laws could affect your lawsuit
  • Help you navigate your legal options
  • Handle the out-of-court settlement process
  • Communicate with all third parties for you
  • Litigate on your behalf

A lawyer’s job is to help you seek the best possible compensation based on your case. So, even if you aren’t sure what your case could be worth, an attorney will look at the costs and losses that can be linked to your Truvada use, then help you seek the settlement or award you may deserve.

What Is the Current State of the Truvada Litigation?

Hundreds of Truvada lawsuits have been brought against Gilead. These cases have been consolidated into a multidistrict litigation action in the Northern District of California, MDL-2881. The first trial in the case, a bellwether trial, is scheduled for June 2022.  

Understanding MDLs and Bellwether Trials 

If you file a lawsuit against Gilead, you may be able to join the existing MDL-2881. Multidistrict litigation actions may sound complex, but here are some answers to questions you may have about these kinds of cases:

What’s the Point of an MDL? 

MDLs bring together similar lawsuits against a common defendant to streamline the court process. 

Are MDLs Like Class Action Cases? 

MDLs are similar to class action lawsuits, but they differ from class actions in some important ways. Namely, when you file a lawsuit that becomes part of an MDL, you maintain your own distinct lawsuit. This means you could collect damages that are unique to your situation. In other words, you won’t simply split a large pool of funds evenly among other plaintiffs. 

What is a Bellwether Trial? 

Bellwether trials are often the first batch of trials in an MDL. These trials function as a kind of testing ground for both sides in the case to present their arguments. For the plaintiffs in an MDL, bellwether trials help victims to gauge the available damages in the case and how much compensation could be available.   

Have There Been Any Truvada Lawsuit Settlements?

As of spring 2022, there have been no settlements in the Truvada lawsuits. Therefore, it is not yet known what plaintiffs could be able to receive in a Truvada lawsuit settlement.

However, one important case might indicate how the Truvada liability lawsuits could proceed. In September 2022, Gilead agreed to a $97 million settlement with the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) for violating the False Claims Act. The case was brought against Gilead for using a charitable foundation as a means of covering Medicare patients’ copays for one of the company’s drugs, Letairis, which is unlawful under the False Claims Act.

While Gilead’s violation of the False Claims Act is a different legal matter than the liability lawsuits it now faces for Truvada claims, it could indicate that the court system is willing to hold Gilead accountable for wrongdoing.

Contact a Truvada Lawsuit Lawyer’s Team Today

You don’t have to wait any longer to get help with a Truvada lawsuit. Many attorneys’ offices can offer you a free consultation so you can learn your legal options today. Fill out our online contact form to get connected with a lawyer in our network.