Increased Number of Low-Income HIV-Positive People, High Price of Fuzeon Creating Care "Rationing"
January 13, 2004
As HIV/AIDS increasingly affects low-income populations in the United States, expensive antiretroviral drugs such as Roche's Fuzeon are starting to create a "rationing" of HIV care "rarely" seen in the country, the Wall Street Journal reports. State and federal AIDS Drug Assistance Program officials estimate that the program will need an additional $215 million in funding for fiscal year 2004 to cover the cost of treating current and new patients. However, Congress has proposed only a $35 million increase. As a result, 13 states have closed enrollment to new patients, leaving more than 700 patients on waiting lists for drugs. The number could grow to 7,000 this year if no additional funding is secured, according to the ADAP Working Group, which helps advocate for more ADAP funding. State resources have also been strained by the high price of Fuzeon, which costs roughly $20,000 per year per patient -- three times as much as most antiretroviral drugs (Fuhrmans, Wall Street Journal, 1/13). Fuzeon, which is in a new class of drugs called fusion inhibitors, is designed for HIV/AIDS patients who have failed to respond to other medications (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/7).
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.