Benjamin Crump
Benjamin Crump (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

A new federal lawsuit has been filed against Gilead Sciences alleging that the pharmaceutical giant of putting profits over people.

According to the Jacksonville Free Press, civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump believes the company is intentionally withholding a safer HIV drug from hundreds of thousands of patients — particularly those in marginalized groups including black and LGBT communities — in order to extend the profitability of the patent it holds on an older, and more risky drug.

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“The HIV epidemic is characterized by extraordinary disparity regarding minority groups,” reports the Free Press, noting that African-Americans have the highest rate of new HIV diagnoses compared to other groups and that more than 70 percent of all new HIV diagnoses in 2017 were given to gay and bisexual men, as well as transgender women, of all races.

“Gilead’s chosen path of inaction is causing tremendous harm to persons with HIV, particularly black and LGBT minorities, by keeping drugs that would reduce deadly symptoms off the market and unavailable to those who need them the most,” said Crump. “This lawsuit is a major step in the right direction toward racial equity in communities unevenly affected by HIV and exploited by pharmaceutical Goliaths like Gilead.”

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Making the case even more urgent is the fact that Gilead has a monopoly on the market and is therefore about to charge outlandish prices  — over $3,700 a month — that the populations who need help the most simply can’t afford.

“This new lawsuit seeks justice for underrepresented communities, providing a voice to those who may not have ever received one otherwise,” Crump said. “As long as Gilead continues to cravenly value profits over people, people living with HIV/AIDS will suffer from a lower quality of life. This must stop.”

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