AIDS Healthcare Foundation president Michael Weinstein has made waves in the past few months with his callous dismissal of Truvada as a "party drug" and keeps insisting that PrEP is an ineffective method of HIV prevention, never mind that the results from studies are overwhelmingly against Weinstein's misinformed view. The issue seems to have died down in recent weeks, but the other day I heard an interesting accusation that the AHF's attacks on Gilead, the manufacturer of Truvada, began at about the time that Gilead stopped donating to the AHF.
After digging around a little bit I found that between 2007 and 2010 Gilead Sciences Foundation donated over $5 million to AHF.
The AHF's 990 forms can be found here.
As an interesting coincidence, 2011 is when the AHF began attacking Gilead in earnest. Personally, I found no blog posts on the AHF's website attacking Gilead that predate 2011, but I'll own up to it if I overlooked something. In addition, a PDF report on the Securities and Exchange Commission's website shows that anti-Gilead billboards and protests started in 2011; look at the exhibits on page 70.
Blogger Michael Petrelis noted this coincidence as well and also posted about it on his blog; shortly after he received a tip from an anonymous advocate claiming that Weinstein wants Gilead to "tithe" more than Gilead is willing to give. Petrelis sent followups to both Weinstein and Gilead. Weinstein replied:
There is not now nor has there ever been a tithing concept applied to Gilead or any other company[...]Our 2014 budget is $904 million. Any amount of support from Gilead or any company would not be significant. I wonder why the opposite question is not being asked: How are the tens of millions that Gilead is spreading around to promote PrEP contributing to the support that groups are giving them on pricing and PrEP?
Amy Flood of Gilead responded to Weinstein's accusations with:
Gilead is not promoting PrEP; that means there are no dollars being allocated to promotional activities by Gilead or by any organization receiving grant funding from Gilead; this is a stipulation of our grant-making.
Though the "tithing" accusation may truly be baseless, given Weinstein's public views lately I'm not inclined to give him or the AHF the benefit of the doubt just yet. In the meantime, it sure is a remarkable coincidence that the AHF's condemnation of Gilead and Truvada just so happened to come right on the heels of the end of Gilead's donations.