Market Overview

Louisiana HIV Patients file Federal Personal Injury Cases Against Gilead Over Key HIV Drug


Legal actions filed by two patients with HIV from Louisiana targets
Gilead over its promotion of HIV/AIDS medication that causes permanent
damage to the kidneys and bones AND over Gilead's suppression of a safer
version of the drug with far less toxicity in order to maximize profits
and extend the sales of the initial drug, tenofovir disoproxil fumarate

The legal actions filed yesterday and earlier today (7/27/18) in the
United States District Court, Middle District of Louisiana and
Western District of Louisiana include:

  • Personal injury actions filed by two Louisiana individuals
    living with HIV who suffered bone and kidney damage as a result of
    taking Gilead's TDF (in Gilead's Viread) despite the fact that the
    company knew as far back as 2001 that Gilead was "…aware of the
    substantial risks from using Viread (for kidney damage and bone loss)
    but failed to fully disclose those risks to the Plaintiff or his
  • AND that Gilead had a safer alternate tenofovir alafenamide ("TAF")
    that it deliberately and maliciously suppressed from the market to
    maximize profits for the offending drug (TDF).

Two Louisiana patients living with HIV filed personal injury lawsuits
against Gilead
Sciences Inc.
seeking to hold the San Francisco Bay Area drug maker
accountable for actions around its failure to rectify a known defect in
tenofovir disoproxil fumarate's (TDF's) drug formulation. Plaintiffs
allege their severe physical injuries, kidney damage and bone density
loss were caused by Gilead's TDF medications and that Gilead developed
but withheld a safer alternative, tenofovir alafenamide (TAF), that
could have prevented their injuries. Both plaintiffs allege Gilead
failed to warn them of the damaging side effects of TDF and actively
misrepresented TDF's efficacy and risks.

Plaintiff Willie Hills, Jr. claims the medication caused him to develop
chronic kidney disease. Plaintiff Christopher Pierot claims the
medication caused severe bone density loss and necrosis in both hips,
resulting in a double hip replacement when he was only 30 years old.

The two separate, but similar legal actions, prepared by Rutherford Law
attorney Michelle M. Rutherford, Louisiana lawyer John Adcock, and
in-house counsel for AHF, were filed in two United States
District Courts, the Western and Middle Districts of Louisiana, (Case
No. 3:18-cv-00718-SDD-EWD)
on behalf of Mr. Willie Hills, Jr., in the Middle District, and (Case
) on behalf of Mr. Christopher Pierot in the Western
District of Louisiana. Both plaintiffs demand jury trials. AHF is
funding the litigation and will not receive any financial recovery from
the lawsuit in excess of its actual costs.

The case follows earlier, similar cases filed in Superior Court of for
the State of California County of Los Angeles [Case
No. BC702302
, Personal Injury Claims; and Case
No. BC 705063
, Class Action Status], against Gilead over Tenofovir.
Both sets of civil cases assert that Gilead's zeal to maintain and
maximize its corporate profits came at the expense of the health and
wellbeing of its customers who were prescribed and taking TDF, which,
according to the current pleadings, the company knew as far back as 2001:

"Gilead knew that TDF toxicity led to kidney and bone damage, even in
patients without pre-existing kidney or bone issues. Gilead had a duty
to share its exclusive knowledge of the risks and adequately warn of any
known or scientifically knowable risks associated with the use of TDF.
Instead, Gilead misrepresented the safety and benefits of TDF and failed
to provide prescribing physicians and their patients, including
Plaintiff and his doctors, with the information they needed to safely
and reasonably prescribe and take Gilead's drugs."

"Gilead should be held responsible for not putting out a better
alternative drug knowing all along they hand one on hand. I do not
understand the rationale behind their decision, but I will be feeling
the effects of their decision for the rest of my life," said plaintiff Willie
Hills Jr.

"The fact that Gilead knowingly gave an inferior version of their
product that they knew caused kidney damage and bone loss to patients in
order to make more money and extend their patent is despicable," said Michael
President of AHF.

"These two actions in Louisiana, similar to the claims filed
in California, seek justice for individuals who now suffer severe health
issues after taking TDF based HIV drug regiments, which Gilead marketed
and sold, when it knew that a safer alternative existed in TAF based
regiments," said Arti Bhimani, Attorney for Plaintiffs.

"I am honored to represent Messrs. Hills and Pierot in their efforts to
obtain justice for being the collateral damage caused by Gilead's
strategy of continuously placing profits over patient health," said Michelle
, Attorney for Plaintiffs.

The case(s) also assert that Gilead deliberately and maliciously
suppressed from the market its alternate and newer formulation of the
drug, TAF, in order to extend the patent life—and sales—of its existing
medications that included TDF. Gilead earned over $18 billion in net
profit in 2015.

Personal Injury Claims Against Gilead

The personal injury action against Gilead asserts claims for: 1)
Louisiana Products Liability Act– Design Defect LSA RS 9:2800.56 2)
Louisiana Products Liability Act– Breach of Implied Warranty LSA RS
9.2800.57, 3) Louisiana Products Liability Act– Breach of Express
Warranty LSA RS 9.2800.58 and 4) Breach of Warranty in Redhibition, a
claim for violation of Louisiana's consumer protection laws.

Regarding the potential harm caused by TDF, Mr. Hills' personal injury
claim asserts that:

"… at the time the Viread used by Plaintiff left Defendant's control,
there were other practical and feasible alternative designs that would
have prevented and/or significantly reduced the risk of Mr. Hills'
injuries without impairing the reasonably anticipated or intend function
of the product. These safer alternatives designs were economically and
technologically feasible, and also would have prevented or significantly
reduced the risk of Ms. Hills' injuries without substantially impairing
the product's utility."

It also noted that:

"Defendant (Gilead) expressly warranted that Viread was safe for its
intended use and as otherwise described in this Complaint. Viread did
not conform to these express representations, including, but not limited
to, the representation that it was well accepted in patient and animal
studies, the representation that it was safe, and the representation
that it did not have high and/or unacceptable levels of permanent or
chronic side effects like kidney disease, and that it would improve
health, maintain health, and potentially prolong life."

Surprisingly, in October 2004, Gilead's CEO John C. Martin announced, "the
company is discontinuing its development program" for TAF."
Gilead did not discontinue development of TAF. Instead, between October
2004 and May 2005, Gilead applied for seven (7) patents
associated with it.

Gilead, knew that continuing to sell TDF risked permanent and possibly
fatal damage to the kidneys and bones in patients prescribed and taking
the drug. It also knew that its newer, alternate version, TAF, would
reduce the risk of toxicity and damage to kidney and bones.

Previous Federal Lawsuit on Gilead and
Tenofovir TDF/TAF

AHF filed a separate and previous legal action in federal court in 2016
seeking to hold Gilead accountable for its misdeeds and
misrepresentations regarding TDF and TAF. The Federal Circuit Court of
Appeals in Washington D.C. recently issued an unjust ruling and AHF
intends to seek review by the Supreme Court of the United States. The
case is Case No. 16-2475.

In May 2016, the Los Angeles Times published a front-page article, "A
question of timing: A lawsuit claims Gilead Sciences could have
developed a less-harmful version of its HIV treatment sooner"
reporter Melody Petersen that was prompted in part by the lawsuit.

In an astounding revelation in her 2016 article, Petersen reported:

"In stark language contained in a recent court filing, the company's
(Gilead) lawyers said the firm ‘had no duty to develop, test, seek
approval of, or launch its new product on any particular timetable.'"

About AIDS Healthcare Foundation

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS
organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over
950,000 individuals in 41 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin
America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn
more about AHF, please visit our website:,
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