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Gilead Sciences is famous — or perhaps, notorious — for its cure for hepatitis C. But the pharma giant believes the foundation of its company will continue to be its HIV franchise, particularly the pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) drugs that help prevent the infection.

“It’s extraordinary that in this day and age, you still have the incidence of HIV increasing around the world, and even in this country,” CEO Daniel O’Day said Thursday at the STAT Breakthrough Summit in San Francisco. “We really are focused on ending the HIV epidemic, and one of the ways I think we can do that is getting more people who can benefit from PrEP on PrEP.”


Access to HIV medications has been a problem for a long time, and for varying reasons. The racial and social stigmas associated with having or being at risk for HIV have not disappeared. Health insurers often erect barriers to getting the treatment, which is supposed to be free under federal law.

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