Welcome back to Six Minute Sex Ed, the podcast that helps families talk about sex and relationships, hosted by Sex Education teacher, Kim Cavill: https://www.teaandintimacy.com/
This episode is Level Two, which makes it more complex than my level one episodes and perfect for tweens, teens, and adults. This week we’re going to talk about Gilead Sciences’s profiteering from PrEP:
This is June, which means it’s Pride month. June is Pride month as a commemoration of the Stonewall Riots, which happened in June of 1969. To learn more about the Stonewall Riots, check out this link: https://www.hrc.org/blog/stonewall-at-50-remembering-importance-of-riots-pride-and-visibility
In honor of Pride month, I’m going to talk about Gilead Science’s profiteering off of Truvada, also known as PrEP, which is an really important HIV prevention drug. For more information about PrEP and how it works, listen to episode 22, HIV prevention, and check the updated show notes for that episode with information about PrEP, including patient assistance programs in your state.
I’m celebrating Pride month in this way because, for decades, the history of the LGBTQIA community is one of fierce, passionate, joyful survival in the face of multiple kinds of oppression: state-sponsored discrimination, social stigmatization, medical disenfranchisement, religious exclusion, corporate profiteering. That struggle isn’t over. It never ended. It’s going on right now.
Gilead Sciences is a pharmaceutical company that holds the patent for Truvada, or PrEP, which is the only FDA approved version of the drug available in USA. The current sticker price for PrEP in the US is $1,780 a month –– or $21,360 per year.
To read more about this, check out the following links:
From the Washington Post: An HIV treatment cost taxpayers millions. The government patented it. But a pharma giant is making billions - https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/pharma-giant-profits-from-hiv-treatment-funded-by-taxpayers-and-patented-by-the-government/2019/03/26/cee5afb4-40fc-11e9-9361-301ffb5bd5e6_story.html?utm_term=.13cf30298696
Also from the Washington Post: Gilead CEO insists federal government patent for HIV prevention pill Truvada is invalid - https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/gilead-ceo-insists-federal-government-patent-for-hiv-prevention-pill-truvada-is-invalid/2019/05/16/7c0a79b6-77e1-11e9-b3f5-5673edf2d127_story.html?utm_term=.4ef8cae7e986
From NPR: AIDS Activists Take Aim At Gilead To Lower Price Of HIV Drug PrEP - https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/05/30/727731380/old-fight-new-front-aids-activists-want-lower-drug-prices-now?utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_term=nprnews&utm_campaign=npr
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez questions Gilead Sciences about their patent: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ma2FvPTi5uQ
Break the Patent: https://breakthepatent.org/
I’m dedication this episode to this issue because this issue makes me so angry. It makes me angry that many state governments, and the federal government, continue to sanction discriminatory policies including prohibiting trans people from serving in the military according to their gender identity and the institution of no promo homo laws which prevent teachers in many areas of the US from portraying LGBTQIA+ people in a positive light, It makes me angry that people continue to stigmatize LGBTQIA+ people, that churches exclude them, that medical institutions deny them healthcare, corporations like Gilead sciences make billions in profit from making necessary products inaccessible.
So...what do you want for Pride Month?
I know what I want. I want Gilead Sciences to release the patent for Truvada and make Prep available for everyone who needs it.
Email Kim at email@example.com, follow on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Support the podcast on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/sexpositiveparent