When studies started proving that use of HIV meds soon after diagnosis helped patients in the long run, we all expected docs to start acting on that info. And now we have proof that prescribing habits are changing, in the form of a Bloomberg interview with the CEO of HIV specialist Gilead Sciences. The company already is growing sales because of the new data, and CEO John Martin said he only expects that trend to continue.
"Many of those patients who, by current guidelines, are too healthy for treatment are already being treated," Martin said during a Bloomberg interview. "There is a gradual transition we are seeing that is already building our market and that we expect to continue." First quarter sales of one Gilead med, Truvada, leapt by 23 percent to $590.4 million, for example.
If official guidelines were changed to recommend this early treatment, that could make a huge difference to Gilead's top line. Twenty to 30 percent, for instance, Deutsche Bank analyst Mark Schoenebaum told Bloomberg. Other HIV-drug powerhouses, such as GlaxoSmithKline, obviously would benefit from that change, too. But given the extra cost of early treatment--plus political considerations--that change isn't likely to happen overnight.