Seeking to widen access to a pricey HIV prevention pill, a group of prominent AIDS activists is urging the federal government to create a national public health program that could lower costs by sidestepping patents held by Gilead Sciences (GILD), the manufacturer.

At issue is the cost of Truvada, which is also known as PrEP and was approved six years ago as the first pill to prevent HIV. Despite clinical trials demonstrating a high degree of safety and efficacy, however, the uptake in the U.S. has been slow, falling far short of the potential to have a significant impact.

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