Gilead must do more to make lifesaving HIV drug widely available

It's time for Gilead to prioritize broad access to L-AmB across low- and middle-income countries.

Sarah*: Patiente VIH Habitante Kinshasa

Democratic Republic of Congo 2021 © Charly Kasereka/MSF

NEW YORK/GENEVA, MAY 3, 2023—As Gilead Sciences holds its annual stockholders meeting today, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) called on the US pharmaceutical corporation to finally fulfill its 2018 promise and ensure that the lifesaving drug liposomal amphotericin B (L-AmB, marketed as Ambisome) is more widely available for people with HIV who also have cryptococcal meningitis—an opportunistic fungal infection that is the number two killer of people living with HIV/AIDS.

This medicine must be immediately available to people in all the 116 low- and middle-income countries eligible for Gilead’s “no-profit” access price, said MSF. Gilead is the main supplier of quality-assured L-AmB, which is a central medicine in the WHO-recommended regimen to treat cryptococcal meningitis.

Erin da Costa, HIV/hepatitis pharmacist for MSF’s Access Campaign, said today:

“It’s really disappointing that, despite Gilead promising over four years ago to provide L-AmB for the treatment of cryptococcal meningitis at the access price of $16.25 per vial, the drug is not available to all eligible countries at this price.

“In addition, Gilead has done little to fulfill its commitment to register L-AmB in countries with a high burden of cryptococcal meningitis.

“Gilead just boasted a robust 2022 product revenue of $27 billion, so the corporation seems to have the means to follow through on its access promises.

“It is time for Gilead to prioritize broad access to L-AmB across low- and middle-income countries.”