Gilead Sciences Inc., a company that has made a visible effort to provide affordable worldwide access to its HIV drugs, last week found itself depicted as denying its Viread tenofovir to HIV patients in Canada because of the threat of re-importation to the U.S.
According to GILD, that's not the case, but that may be the only version the Canadian public ever gets to hear. Thus what happened to the company provides a cautionary tale for biotech managers who think that the issues of global drug pricing and access are the concerns of big pharma.
The situation also shows how government price-setting schemes can deprive patients of access to new therapies. In this case, GILD is waiting to launch the product until the company and the Canadian government agree on a "fair price."
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