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Letter urges US company Gilead Sciences to ‘shape history’ by providing fair access

Former world leaders, celebrities and a Nobel prize-winning scientist who helped discover HIV have written to a leading pharmaceutical company to urge it to make a “gamechanger” HIV medicine available to people living outside wealthy countries.

The US company Gilead Sciences has been urged to “shape history” by avoiding a repeat of the “horror and shame” of the early years of the Aids pandemic, when 12 million lives were lost in poorer parts of the world after effective drugs became available, because the medicines were not affordable.

Gilead’s drug, Lenacapavir, can treat HIV when given as two injections a year. Ongoing trials are expected to show it is also an effective prevention drug.

A Gilead statement said: “As we await the results of our pivotal Phase 3 clinical trials which will start to read out later this year, we are in regular conversations with HIV advocates and partners, including governments and NGOs, as we work to reach our access goals. Those conversations have been ongoing over the course of the trials. We are extremely committed to developing an access model that ensures lenacapavir for PrEP reaches as many people as possible that can benefit.

“This means delivering it swiftly, sustainably, and in sufficient volumes in low- and middle-income countries.”

Kat Lay, Global health correspondent, The Guardian
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