What We're Reading: Gilead Patent Extension Controversy; Teen Tobacco Use; Postpartum Depression Disparities

December 6, 2019

Activists seek to block Gilead’s patent extension for HIV drug tenofovir alafenamide; 2.1 million teens are using 1 or more tobacco products; African American and low-income mothers are less likely to seek treatment for postpartum depression.

Gilead Under Fire For Alleged Attempts to Delay HIV Drug Development

An advocacy’s group 249-page emergency petition filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office shines the spotlight once again on drug maker Gilead Sciences, claiming the pharma giant deliberately delayed development of tenofovir alafenamide, an investigational drug being studied to treat HIV, according to STAT News. Despite being part of President Trump’s Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America initiative, in which it will donate pre-exposure prophylaxis for up to 200,000 individuals each year through 2030, Gilead is no stranger to controversy. Activists have also accused the company of charging exorbitant prices for its HIV/AIDS pills, preventing some patients from receiving the treatment they need because they cannot afford it.

Middle and High Schoolers Using Several Tobacco Products

Treatment for Postpartum Depression Not Equal

What is a cigarillo? Add it to the list of tobacco products today’s teenagers are now smoking, according to The New York Times. A new federal survey shows that close to one-third of middle and high-schoolers use more than 1 tobacco product. E-cigarettes top that list for the sixth year in a row, which also includes cigars, hookahs, and pipe tobacco, causing the CDC to issue warnings that such extreme nicotine dependence harms brain development. Controversy already surrounds the vaping industry, with a reported 48 deaths and 2291 hospitalizations from the ongoing outbreak of vaping-related lung injuries.Postpartum depression (PPD) does not begin only after birth; it can take root during pregnancy and include symptoms beyond general sadness, including anxiety and exhaustion. Unfortunately, due to the stigma attached to mental illness, certain groups, typically African American and low-income women, are more prone to avoid asking for treatment, Kaiser Health News reports. These new moms also fear their children being taken away by child welfare services if they ask for help, with surveys showing they are unfairly singled out. If left untreated, PPD has led to suicide in rare cases.