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National News

U.S. Price for AIDS Drug: $20,000

March 24, 2003

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!

Trimeris announced Thursday that the U.S. price for its new drug Fuzeon will be just under $20,000 for a year's supply. Fuzeon will cost more than twice as much as any other HIV drug, yet some AIDS activists had worried that the price might be even higher -- as much as $30,000 -- since drugs usually cost more in the United States than in other markets.

In other developments Thursday:

  • An advisory committee recommended that the European Union grant marketing approval to Fuzeon. Applications are pending in Australia, Canada and Switzerland.

  • Newly disclosed data reveal that 80 percent of patients who benefit from taking Fuzeon with other AIDS drugs continue to respond well after 48 weeks; previous data focused on 24-week results.

  • Chronimed of Minneapolis was named exclusive U.S. distributor; it will distribute the drug primarily by mail. Patients will be served on a first-come, first-served basis upon receipt of a faxed prescription from their physician. This worries Project Inform founding Director Martin Delaney, who is concerned that even those state AIDS Drug Assistance Programs that decide to pay for Fuzeon will not make a decision quickly, leaving ADAP patients in line behind those with private insurance. Trimeris said Wednesday it expects to be able to serve 8,000-10,000 U.S. patients initially.

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Trimeris spokesperson Robin Fastenau said that Trimeris and its partner Roche have set up an assistance program to help patients get third-party funding for Fuzeon, and there will also be a patient assistance program for low-income persons.

Even though North Carolina's ADAP has not decided to pay for Fuzeon, Evelyn Foust, head of the HIV/STD prevention and care branch of the state Division of Public Health, said the agency is advising AIDS physicians to write prescriptions for their patients as soon as possible to increase their chances of obtaining the drug -- and worry about finances later.

Back to other CDC news for March 24, 2003

Previous Updates

Adapted from:
News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)
03.21.03; David Ranii

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!



  
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
 
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