Federal Funding For Discovery And Development Of Costly HIV Drugs Was Far More Than Previously Estimated

Health Aff (Millwood). 2023 May;42(5):642-649. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2022.01134.


In July 2012, tenofovir disoproxil fumarate-emtricitabine (TDF-FTC, brand name Truvada) was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prevent HIV infection. To estimate the extent of the US government's direct financial contribution to the discovery and development of Truvada, we identified National Institutes of Health awards using FDA documents, peer-reviewed literature, patent records, court filings, and other publicly available materials. We classified seventy-three federal government awards to eleven researchers as being directly linked to the development and clinical testing of Truvada for prevention therapy, through which the US government spent an estimated $143 million. The substantial public funding raises questions about the high price charged by the drug's manufacturer, which reduced its affordability and limited its accessibility as HIV preventive therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-HIV Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Emtricitabine / therapeutic use
  • Emtricitabine, Tenofovir Disoproxil Fumarate Drug Combination / therapeutic use
  • HIV Infections* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Tenofovir / therapeutic use


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • Emtricitabine, Tenofovir Disoproxil Fumarate Drug Combination
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Emtricitabine
  • Tenofovir