Who Makes PrEP HIV Drugs?

PrEP drugs are sold widely, both online and in the local pharmacies. Some pills are attractively cheap, but are they all really effective and, more importantly, authentic? Let’s find out who makes PrEP HIV medications you can buy safely.

PrEP is the shortened name for pre-exposure prophylaxis. “Pre” means measures taken before having some risks, and “prophylaxis” is a strategy that helps to prevent disease. PrEP HIV medication is an antiviral drug that is used to minimize the chances of catching the virus of human immunodeficiency. Unlike the highly active antiretroviral therapy, this pill is recommended for those who are not HIV positive but are in higher danger of being infected.

Such risk groups include individuals who have intimate relations with HIV-positive partners, inject drugs and males who have sexual contact with males. Those who have multiple partners and don’t use condoms have caught sexually transmitted infections in the last 6 months, and couples, where a man practices sex with both women and men, may need this medication too. PrEP is a pill that can effectively protect from HIV on a high level. When used properly and regularly, it can alleviate the risk of HIV infection by over 90%.

🔍What Is PrEP Medication?

The only brand name of PrEP drugs is Truvada. However, as with many other expensive medications, there are lots of generics that contain the same substances and work the same way. Both Truvada and generics have two active ingredients: 300mg of tenofovir TDF and 200mg of emtricitabine FTC. Numerous clinical studies in the UK and all over the world proved that PrEP is almost 100% effective in stopping HIV if taken properly and consistently. The investigations and trials were done on different groups of people who took the drug in various doses:

  • the iPrEx study from 2010 and 2015 on ∼2,500 transgender women and gay men from different countries, who took 1 pill of PrEP per day, showed that it was a new and effective way to reduce risks of HIV infection;
  • PROUD study took place on the basis of 13 UK sexual health clinics in 2015. It also displayed high efficiency of PrEP; the study showed that people who take the medication have significantly lower risks of being infected despite their sexual behavior;
  • IPERGAY studies, carried out in 2015 and 2016, were focused on finding out an easier way of using PrEP with lesser costs. Both investigations were made on French and Canadian men mostly in MSM relationships, and were concentrated on drug dosing depending on how frequently people had sex. Four PrEP tablets in a week gave a high protective effect. This research, together with previous ones, proved that PrEP helps avoid 97% of HIV incidence in people who are prone to HIV due to their way of life and sexual activities;
  • PARTNER studies, in 2016 and 2018, were carried out on gay and heterosexual couples who didn’t use condoms and were in a higher-than-average group of risk of exposure. The research was done in 14 European countries at 75 clinical sites, and over a thousand people were involved. The studies confirmed that the ones who had an undetectable viral load are incapable of transmitting the virus to a sexual partner. The transmission will be also impossible if a person takes the pills over 6 months and follows all the instructions. Alison Rodger, the leading researcher, claimed that when using PrEP, to have one chance for HIV transmission a couple should have sex for 435 years without condoms. It was called Treatment as Prevention or TasP.

Meanwhile, it must not be forgotten that PrEP is effective exclusively for the prevention of HIV. There are many other sexually transmitted infections. Thus, regular STI testing and vaccinations are highly recommended. Using condoms can also help to avoid negative consequences.

Summarizing everything said above, PrEP is a powerful medication that helps to protect yourself from being infected if you’re HIV-negative and have sex in risky situations, such as multiple partners, condomless sex, anal sex, and sexual relationships with people who inject drugs, especially if you are a receptive partner. PrEP will help you stay healthy, but you should remember that it’s effective only if it is taken regularly and in the recommended dosage. You should also see your healthcare provider every three months for follow-up testing.

📝Who Makes Truvada?

Truvada was approved by the Foods and Drugs Administration of the USA (the FDA) as a part of HIV treatment in 2004, and in July 2012 it got the license to prevent the disease in risk groups. Nowadays, it is recommended by all health organizations [1]. The drug is produced by Gilead Sciences, Inc., an American pharmaceutical company, launched and headquartered in Foster City, California. It invents, develops, produces, and trades medications, focusing mostly on manufacturing remedies for STIs, including HIV, hepatitis B and C, and influenza. The company was founded in 1987 by medical doctor Michael L. Riordan, and since then it has become well-known all over the world.

🏭Manufacturers of Generic PrEP HIV Drugs

Although Truvada is a highly effective and approved PrEP, it’s extremely expensive ($2,000 a month per course), and people in developing countries, where there is a high level of HIV morbidity, cannot afford to buy it. The good news is that Gilead doesn’t insist on enforcing their patents in these countries. Thanks to this policy, other pharm producers can make the generic pills, which are much cheaper but have the same effects. The leading supplier of generics is India. Over two-thirds of anti-HIV Truvada analogs are made there. Other countries, such as South Africa, Thailand, and Brazil, are also involved.

Scientists from the UK’s Imperial College, Terrence Higgins Trust, and PrEPster group tested Truvada and several generics of leading manufacturers. They’ve chosen Tenvir-EM, Ricovir-EM, Tenof-EM, Teno-EM, Tavin-EM, and Adco-Emtevir, by Cipla, Mylan, Hetero Healthcare, GPO, Emcure, and Adcock Ingram respectively, bought from different online retailers. They checked the samples of drugs for the announced amount of emtricitabine and tenofovir in them. The results were impressive. Branded Truvada had 100% of both active compounds. The generics included between 97% and 104% of the stated content of emtricitabine, and 94%-105% of tenofovir. The CEO of Terrence Higgins Trust, Ian Green, summarized that generics, as well as Truvada, are extremely effective at preventing HIV and are fit for the purpose if used correctly [2].

Cipla Limited

Cipla LTD is an Indian pharmaceutical and biotechnological company that was founded by the scientist Dr. Khwaja Abdul Hamied in 1935, in Mumbai. The name of the company is shortened from “The Chemical, Industrial & Pharmaceutical Laboratories.” Cipla specializes in developing medications for different kinds of diseases in various spheres of human health. Tenvir-EM by Cipla is a generic version of Truvada. Cipla Limited is considered to be the first company that has been approved to produce anti-HIV generics by Drug Controller General of India. It also has tentative certification from the US FDA and the WHO (World Health Organization) that ensures its quality, effectiveness, and safety [3]. Cipla LTD has already officially imported medicines to the countries of Africa. The only reason that it can’t be seen on the shelves of the USA drugstores is because of the Gilead monopoly.

Mylan Inc.

Mylan is a great manufacturer, developer, and distributor of various pharm products. Founded in 2015, it is headquartered in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania and is a subsidiary company of Mylan N.V. (founded in 1961 by the entrepreneurs Milan Puskar and Don Panoz). It is the second largest generics’ manufacturer in the world. Its Ricovir-EM is officially approved by Health Canada in July 2017, and, according to the FDA, it would be marketed in the USA if not for the exclusive rights of the Gilead company. It meets all criteria — efficacy, strength, quality, safety, etc., however, it can be found in the pharmacies of Canada and some other countries, but not in the US.

Hetero Drugs Limited

An Indian pharmaceutical company, founded in 1993 by Dr. B. Parthasaradhi Reddy, Hetero Drugs Limited is headquartered in Hyderabad. It produces, designs, and trades active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), intermediate chemicals, and generics. The company also develops formulas, new delivery systems for pharmaceuticals, new chemicals, etc. Tafero-EM for HIV treatment is the generic of Descovy, the Gilead’s preparation used in combination with other anti-HIV medications. Tenof-EM is the Hetero’s generic PrEP medicine. The company has its marketing branches worldwide.

Emcure Pharmaceuticals

This company was launched in 1983 and has headquarters in Hinjwadi, Pune, West India. It researches, fabricates, and markets different kinds of pharmacological production. Emcure promotes its anti-HIV initiative, and supplies its antiretroviral drugs to the countries of Africa, Asia Pacific, and CIS. It is also a participant and sponsor of “Taal” pharmacy for HIV/AIDS infected people. As a part of the Global Access Program, Emcure has a license agreement with Gilead Sciences for distributing Tenofovir as a means of HIV prevention. The generic of Truvada, manufactured by this company, is Tavin-EM.

⚖What to Choose for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis?

There is a vast range of drugstores and online retailers that suggest a variety of antiretroviral meds. And there is only one branded and fully approved PrEP in the USA, which is Truvada by Gilead. It goes without saying that this reliable and proven preparation is the best choice to buy. However, being the only patented PrEP, it has an extremely high price, and not everyone can afford such costs. Choosing a credible and tested online pharmacy, you can get an effective generic for a comfortable price, which can become a great alternative to the expensive branded pill. In our HIVPrEP internet source, you will find comprehensive information about the best products from top producers.

📚References:

  1. AIDSinfo, a service of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  2. NAM Aidsmap. Retrieved 28 October 2018.
  3. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
Logan Morris

Expert in pharmaceutical practice and antiviral medicine, founder of HIVPrEP. Main goal is to popularize HIV topics and create awareness for global masses on how to prevent the disease and how to use HIV medication safely.

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