Again, CSOs tackle Gilead on greed over human lives

Over 50 civil society organisations (CSOs), led by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) have demanded that Gilead Sciences, a pharmaceutical company based in the United States, must desist from being greedy in the manufacturing of drugs, but should put human lives above profit-making.

During a world press briefing at the AHF office in Abuja, Thursday, the Director Advocacy, Policy and Marketing, AHF Africa Bureau, Mrs Oluwakemi Gbadamosi-Braimah, said Gilead is notorious for evergreening patents on existing HIV/AIDS drugs like Truvada, advising the pharmaceutical company to open the license for the generic production of the hepatitis C drug, Harvoni, to all low and middle-income countries.

She said: “Gilead is among the top 15 largest biopharmaceutical firms in the world and is one of the worst offenders of putting profits before people’s lives. In 2021, Gilead generated over $27 billion in revenue and paid its CEO over $19 million in compensation. At the same time, Gilead has priced several of its HIV and hepatitis C drugs out of reach for many people, refused to register some drugs in developing countries, and consistently blocks attempts to introduce cheaper, generic versions of its medicines.

“Enough is enough! Gilead must be held accountable for arbitrarily placing a price on who lives and who dies by keeping the most effective, modern, and lifesaving medicines out of reach of millions of people in low- and middle-income countries. AHF is taking its grassroots campaign global to raise awareness about Gilead’s shameful practices and calling on the company to do license technology for the production of treatment for cryptococcal meningitis to generic manufacturers and link executive compensation to the impact on positive public health outcomes and access to medicines in developing countries.”

Also speaking, the Executive Secretary of Nigeria Network of Religious Leaders Living with or Personally Affected by HIV/AIDS (NINERELA+), Amber Itohan Erinmwinhe, said there is need for the advocacy campaign against Gilead to be taken to social media by CSOs, while the AHF will be at the background to offer support.