- Behind "AIDS Breakthrough" Headlines, December 2004: Important Research, Not So New
The mid-December press reports about an AIDS drug breakthrough were exaggerated, but the research described is important. It concerns the development of a class of related experimental drugs that work like efavirenz or nevirapine, but appear to be more powerful and much less subject to resistance.
- Warning: Do Not Combine Reyataz and Prilosec
The combination has been found to reduce blood levels of the antiretroviral to about a quarter of what they should be.
- India Changes Patent Law to Meet WTO Treaty, Making New Medicines Less Available to Most Citizens, Other Countries
India changed its pharmaceutical patent law to conform to the U.S.-European system, just ahead of a Jan. 1 World Trade Organization deadline -- meaning that most new medicines (patentable in 1995 or later) will be priced out of reach of the great majority of people in India -- and in Africa and other poor regions as well.
"The real issue for the multinational corporations is not the poor-country markets, which are financially small and unattractive, but the poor-country examples. How would thousands of people in rich countries, especially the U.S., be persuaded to accept death from cancer and other diseases because they cannot pay tens of thousands of dollars a year for a new generation of treatments that could save their lives -- if companies in India could manufacture and sell the same treatments for a small fraction of the price?"
- Africa: Children's Access to Prophylaxis May Improve After Medical Study, New WHO Recommendations
On November 22, 2004, days after The Lancet reported that the cheap antibiotic co-trimoxazole (Septra, Bactrim, and other brand names) had dramatically reduced death in a group of Zambian children with HIV, the World Health Organization (WHO), UNAIDS and UNICEF released a statement recommending the drug for all children with HIV symptoms in poor countries. But activists say the global health authorities' seemingly quick action came years -- even decades -- late, and it will take a lot more work to actually deliver the drug's lifesaving promise.
- Treatment Interruption: Most Patients Could Not Maintain Immune Control
Some patients treated very early with an experimental protocol (that stopped and restarted antiretroviral treatment when certain conditions were met) were able to stop antiretrovirals entirely and control their viral load without the drugs for at least 90 days. But after two years, only three of fourteen were still able to control the virus without treatment.
- Retroviruses Conference Reminder: You Must Complete Housing Process to Attend
Those accepted for the retroviruses conference in February must complete the housing-registration process even if they do not need housing, or their registration will be cancelled.
- Weekend Treatment Interruptions for Certain Well-Controlled Patients: Interview With Cal Cohen, M.D.
Dr. Cal Cohen is the research director of the Community Research Initiative of New England, teaches at Harvard Medical School in Boston, and is affiliated with Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates. Dr. Cohen spoke with AIDS Treatment News on September 10, 2004, and we published part I of the interview in issue #405.
Dr. Cohen and others at the Community Research Initiative are studying a schedule of five days on certain antiretroviral regimens and two days off, for certain patients whose virus is well suppressed. The goal is to reduce side effects and cost, and to make the regimens easier to take. We asked about the results so far.
- Sculptra (Formerly New Fill) for Facial Wasting -- Where to Find Information on the Patient-Assistance Program
Dermik Laboratories is now starting a patient-assistance program that provides free or low-cost drug to patients that meet certain income and other eligibility requirements. Information is changing rapidly, so we provide Web, email, and telephone sources to check.
- Buyers' Club List, December 2004
ISSN # 1052-4207
Copyright 2004 by John S. James. Permission granted for noncommercial reproduction, provided that our address and phone number are included if more than short quotations are used.