New anti-HIV pill Odefsey comes to Canada (Dr. Julio Montaner)

A new antiretroviral drug will soon be available to Canadian HIV patients, but it comes with a dose of controversy and likely a daunting price tag.

Odefsey, the successor to the older Complera, is the latest in Gilead Sciences’ line of anti-HIV drugs. Gilead also makes Truvada to treat HIV and Truvada for PrEP to lower the risk of HIV transmission.

Dr Julio Montaner, director of the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, says not all patients need TAF. The existing drugs already work perfectly well for nearly all patients, he says, and when rare side effects do appear, they are easy to detect. Unlike the switch from first to second generation drugs in the early 2000s — when the newer drug could mean freedom from crippling side effects and disease — the marginal differences between second and third generation drugs are slender.

Niko Bell reports

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