On Thursday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved next-generation HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) drug called Descovy that is manufactured by Gilead Sciences.
Gilead manufactures two separate HIV PrEP drugs – Truvada and Descovy. Truvada is a combination of emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF), while Descovy is a combination of emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide (TAF).
Descovy is nothing but the newer version of Truvada. The only difference is Truvada contains TDF and Descovy contains TAF, which is why the latter is considered a safer pill than the former.
Gilead Sciences now holds the control of the U.S. HIV PrEP market, as it manufactures two blockbuster HIV prevention drugs.
The agency has approved HIV PrEP drug Descovy for everyone, except those who indulge in vaginal sex because its effectiveness has not been studied in such patients. However, these patients can use Truvada.
CEO of Gilead Daniel O’Day said, “Descovy for PrEP provides a new HIV prevention option that matches Truvada’s high efficacy with statistically significant improvements in renal and bone safety, which can be an important consideration as people at risk increasingly use PrEP for longer periods of time.”
Descovy, like Truvada, should be taken once a day. It can reduce HIV transmission by more than 95 percent.
One month’s supply of Truvada and Descovy costs around $1,800, according to GoodRx. Earlier this year, Gilead announced that it would make generic Truvada available by September 2020. In May, the drug giant promised to donate HIV PrEP medications to more than 200,000 people in order to prevent the risk of HIV transmission.