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Thu May 15, 2014, 08:17 AM

Does Gilead Know Someone in the CDC?

Just asking. Two years ago, the CDC recommended that every baby boomer get screened for Hepatitis C, even if they had no risk factors. They made this recommendation one year before Gilead was scheduled to introduce its new, blockbuster, easy to take, tres cher (expensive) Hep C drug which costs $1000 a pill or $84,000 for a course. And now, the CDC has recommended that everyone who uses IV drugs and shares needles, has unprotected gay sex with men, has a partner infected with HIV or has an IV drug using or bisexual partner (or does not know what their partner does in his free time) should be on a $13,000 a year Gilead drug forever to prevent HIV. Note that taking the drug does not guarantee that you will not get HIV and Gilead still recommends that you not share needles and that you not have unprotected sex. So, if you are using only clean needles and you are using condoms (correctly) every single time, do you really want to take a medication that can have some pretty serious side effects? If you partner is HIV positive this is a great medication. Or is you are a professional sex worker, yeah, sure. But risking your liver on the off chance that a condom might break and that the partner you are sleeping with when the condom breaks is HIV positive? Is it really worth it? Since there is no way to know if your partner is bisexual or using IV drugs do you just assume that they are? Should every 16 year old girl go down to Planned Parenthood and say "I want some birth control pills and I want some anti-HIV pills, too?"

Note that the VA, which has not been doing a very good job of getting our Vets timely appointments, has rounded up the funds to get the Hep C drug on its formulary. Is this their way of taking care of our vets or their way of showing thanks to Gilead's old owner, Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld? The drug to prevent HIV is already covered by many insurers, though I am not certain if they cover as many people as the CDC is now recommending take it---one source says this will increase usage 50 fold.

Which has me wondering: Who will be the first person at the CDC to leave through the revolving door and get a job at Gilead.

Ok, I am ready for the long list of testimonials from all the folks at DU whose 1) Hep C was cured by the drug above 2) HIV was prevented by the durg above or 3) are absolutely pumped knowing that these medications are available and will be covered by their insurer. But if anyone is at all interested in how private industry uses government regulatory bodies in order to increase their profits--and then turns around and hires former US government officials by way of payment (the so called revolving door), I would be happy to hear from you.

In case people think that this stuff doesn't happen here is a link to a link to some old stuff I wrote about Glaxo-Smith Kline and Dan Troy.


Links about Gildead.




PS. Oh, and by all means, buy Gilead stock. If they know someone at the CDC, they are going to make a gazillion dollars. This is meant to be sarcastic in case anyone wonders. I do not bet on stocks or give stock tips. Just thought it was funny that so much medical news pops up in business journals first when you do a google.

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Response to McCamy Taylor (Original post)

Thu May 15, 2014, 08:25 AM

1. Is there - is there balm in Gilead? - tell me - tell me, I implore!

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Response to Orrex (Reply #1)

Thu May 15, 2014, 11:00 AM

4. Nevermore

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Response to McCamy Taylor (Original post)

Thu May 15, 2014, 09:00 AM

2. Gee, they also recommended it for Hepatitis A and B. In fact they recommend that all school age

Last edited Thu May 15, 2014, 10:03 AM - Edit history (1)

children get the Hepatitis B vaccine also.

Now you may not think that Hepatitis C is a problem, but guess what, it is a world wide problem. In fact that CDC recommendation has been on for at least several years, but NO ONE IS FORCED TO BE SCREENED if they don't want to. It is a recommendation, just like the Hepatitis A and B vaccine.

As far as Gilead, what they have done is develop a drug that actually cures Hepatitis C for those that have it, and it is far cheaper for the one year treatment than for the yearly interferon or other treatments that occur for the rest of a person's life. Again, anyone who has hepatitis C is NOT forced to take the treatment, just like anyone with any illness is not forced to take treatment.

As for the recommendation for folks that engage in high risk behavior, it is only a recommendation. The fact remains that people who share needles, and have unprotected sex with a lot of partners would probably not even follow that recommendation.

It is the CDCs job to make recommendations for public health. They also make recommendations on the influenza and other vaccines. In addition they make recommendations for protected sex in non monogamous relationships.

Their job is to make recommendations so people remain healthy.

You don't want to be screened for Hepatitis C or be vaccinated, then don't do it

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Response to lostincalifornia (Reply #2)

Thu May 15, 2014, 10:57 AM

3. Many states required Hepatitis B vaccine to enter school

since the mid or late 1990s.

Here's a chart:


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Response to frazzled (Reply #3)

Thu May 15, 2014, 01:14 PM

5. ok. I suspect they are doing it to prevent it spread and protect people. It must be having some

effect since the rates of Hep B have been dropping since 1990's, there might be a correlation

Regardless, my main point was that one of the functions of the CDC is to make recommendations for the public health.

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Response to lostincalifornia (Reply #5)

Thu May 15, 2014, 01:24 PM

6. Yes, these recommendations have their basis in protection of public health

And I in general commend the work of the CDC.

My question about this new drug recommendation (which I truly believe is being done to stop the spread of HIV and AIDS, not benefit a drug company) has to do with insurers and with the public. These drugs are indeed expensive, and I would hope that their cost could come down. But once again, we see a general reluctance to pay for massively cheaper female contraceptives, which were only recently required by ACA. And these cheap drugs have a true benefit to society: unwanted pregnancies cost society beaucoup dollars across the lifespan of that unwanted child. Not to mention the personal choice on the part of women that needs to be considered. Will the right raise an equal stink about these HIV drugs?

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Response to frazzled (Reply #6)

Thu May 15, 2014, 01:36 PM

7. we are on the same page my friend

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