FDA is considering using an established drug to prevent AIDS. Is this a good idea?
In the news today, the makers at Gilead Sciences, the makers of the AIDS drug Truvada must be thrilled as are their stock holders. Truvada, long a staple for treating and minimizing the effects of the AIDS virus, may be safe enough when taken daily to prevent the spread and proliferation of the AIDS virus. This type of endorsement on an established drug can be worth billions.
Is this a good idea? While the intention of preventing AIDS is admirable, all drugs have side effects and if taken by people who are high risk on a daily basis (My assumption is being married to someone with AIDS, or perhaps involved sexually in groups most likely to contract it), it will prevent the proliferation of the virus among those groups and avoid lengthy and expensive prolonged or lifelong treatment.
The problem is that it is treating the what if disease. It also may have long term side effects (here come the lawsuits in 10 years), and from a pharmaceutical companies perspective, any drug that can be deemed medically necessary which can be paid for by the system (insurance companies, government) and be taken out of fear (take it or else), is clearly a great way of building up the profit of a company while offering a solution that will likely be expensive and offer no benefit if it is not taken.
Would vaccination be a better idea, and would this work? We will likely never find this out from big pharma because they want us to be on a subscription that lasts forever, which makes us dependent on their product and then makes us fearful of losing it.
Buyer beware, if this is approved, a problem has not been solved. A financial problem has been created with people who need it because they will now believe they cannot live without it. We need to rethink prevention. This is not a daily supplement like vitamin C. I am sure for those who are scared of contracting the virus, it will seem like it is, but at what cost (financial, side effects, etc)?