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National News

Firms to Help Buy HIV Drug

March 17, 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 As a result, parts of this article may be outdated.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 Inc. and Roche Holding AG said Friday they will take unusual steps to help patients afford their Fuzeon medication, the most costly and complicated HIV drug to reach the market.

"For every patient who receives a prescription, we will provide reimbursement specialists, who work with the patients and their caregivers to seek out all forms of reimbursement," said George Abercrombie, head of Roche's U.S. pharmaceutical unit. Some may get Fuzeon free, he said.

State and federally funded programs that cover therapies for about 70 percent of patients in treatment "are all falling apart right now," said Lei Chou, director of the access project at the AIDS Treatment Data Network. "In order for any of the programs to add Fuzeon, they are going to have to juggle."

Trimeris and Roche plan within days to start U.S. sales of Fuzeon, whose manufacturing process takes 106 steps, 10 times more than for most medications. To formulate it, 36 amino acids are threaded one by one to create a fragile chain. Trimeris CEO Dani Bolognesi said he knew that drug makers generally want simpler compounds that can be made into pills. The Fuzeon molecule, which is larger and more complex, must be injected and requires new production methods.

Back to other CDC news for March 17, 2003

Previous Updates

Adapted from:
Charlotte Observer
03.15.03; Kerry Dooley

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 As a result, parts of this article may be outdated.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.
 
See Also
More on HIV Medications
More News on T-20 (Enfuvirtide, Fuzeon)

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