Gilead inks low-cost HIV drug deal with generics makers

Gilead Sciences ($GILD), always under pressure from AIDS activists, has inked partnerships with three generics makers to increase production--and reduce prices--of the company's HIV-fighting drugs in developing countries. The deals apply to Emtriva (emtricitabine) and the combo drug Truvada, which recently won FDA approval for preventing HIV infection.

Gilead will train Mylan ($MYL), Ranbaxy Laboratories and Strides Arcolab on manufacturing the drugs and will offer funding for production-process improvements. The companies are aiming for high-volume production at reduced cost so that prices can be reduced as well, Gilead said in a statement.

"India's pharmaceutical industry is a world leader in process chemistry, and our onoing collaboration will be critical for furthering access to affordable, high-quality, first-line HIV treatment for developing countries," CEO John C. Martin said.

News of the Gilead deal comes on the heels of renewed criticism from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, an advocacy group that regularly scolds drugmakers for the prices of their HIV-fighting treatments. The latest AHF attack focuses on Martin's pay package, which admittedly is among the highest in pharma.

AHF also lobbied heavily against Truvada's new approval for preventive use in high-risk people. Earlier this summer, Gilead yanked its AHF funding after years of supporting the not-for-profit group's treatment, testing and prevention programs in the developing world.

- see the Gilead release
- read the Dow Jones story

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