Antiretroviral Drug Fuzeon Sales Slower Than Expected; High Cost, Injection Delivery Method Cited
September 16, 2003
Sales of the antiretroviral drug Fuzeon, which attracted worldwide attention earlier this year, have been slower than expected, the Raleigh News & Observer reports. The drug has "ru[n] into resistance" from doctors and patients because of its high cost and injection delivery method (Vollmer, Raleigh News & Observer, 9/16). The FDA in March approved Fuzeon, which is designed for HIV/AIDS patients who have failed to respond to other medications. The drug, developed by pharmaceutical companies Roche and Trimeris, costs about $20,000 per patient per year, double the price of the most expensive HIV treatments currently on the market. Fuzeon is in a new class of drugs called fusion inhibitors, which prevent HIV from entering cells by preventing the virus from attaching to cell membranes (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/25). Shares of Trimeris "tumbled" yesterday after the brokerage firm SG Cowen said that Fuzeon's slow sales would delay the company's profitability by two years, according to Dow Jones/AP. "Unlike the current oral HIV agents, Fuzeon requires multiple steps to prepare and reconstitute for injection," SG Cowen analyst Yaron Werber wrote in a research note, adding, "Additionally, pain and unattractive nodules stemming from injection site reactions are deterrents" (Dow Jones/AP, 9/16).
Supply and Demand
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