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Gilead Sciences' Four-in-One HIV Pill Approved by FDA

The pill, called Stribild, combines four treatments into one pill and allegedly has less side effects.

 

Foster City's largest employer, Gilead Sciences, is celebrating another win, as its latest HIV drug, Stribild, won the approval of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last week.

Stribild - previously named Quad - combines four of Gilead's HIV drugs into one, thereby simplifying patients' treatments, said FDA representatives. Two of the four drugs are new, and two are part of Gilead's other popular, , prescribed by doctors as a preventative measure.

In addition to being more convenient for patients, Stribild also reportedly has less side effects than taking the four different drugs separately, such as abnormal dreams, anxiety and dizziness.

SFGate.com reports that 35 percent of new HIV-positive patients will take Stribild, at an estimated cost of $29,000 per year. Approxomately 50,000 people are infected with HIV each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

An article published on SFGate last week says that a significant number of California lawmakers are concerned about the drug's high price. Reportedly, a number of them have written letters to Gilead's CEO urging a lower price for low-income Californians. According to SFGate, at this time, Gilead has agreed to freeze the price of Stribild through 2013, but has not agreed to lower it for financially challenged patients.

According to Reuters, Wall Street analysts expect that sales of Stribild will meet or exceed estimates of about $46 million in sales this year, and $370 million in sales next year.

Gilead's share price has risen 48 percent in the past 12 months. The company also recently acquired its competitor, Pharmasset, for $11 billion, meaning Gilead will reap the benefits of the release of Pharmasset's highly anticipated Hepatitis C drug, currently in development.

 

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