HIV-Positive People in Zambia React to Recall of Roche Antiretroviral Viracept
June 21, 2007
The recent recall of Roche's antiretroviral drug Viracept has "created panic" among HIV-positive people taking antiretrovirals in Zambia, some of whom believe that other drugs might not be safe, IRIN News reports (IRIN News, 6/19).
Zambia's Health Minister Brian Chituwo last week announced that the country immediately will discontinue Viracept, which primarily is used in second-line treatments in Zambia. He also ordered health care workers to explain the situation to people affected by the recall. The Zambian government estimates that fewer than 1,000 of the 100,000 HIV-positive people in the country receiving antiretroviral treatment are taking Viracept. Some independent analysts said the number of HIV-positive people taking the drug could be much higher, IRIN reports. Nkandu Luo, an HIV/AIDS consultant and former health minister, said, "There could be more people affected by this because some of them take Viracept as part of a combination therapy." He added that the government should be "speaking to Roche because the damage has been done. Roche should take responsibility for distributing contaminated drugs."
Chituwo said that all HIV-positive people taking Viracept will be examined by health care providers before being switched to other antiretrovirals. He added that HIV-positive people "should not unilaterally decide to change drugs on their own" (IRIN News, 6/19).
Some HIV-Positive People in Zambia Abandoning Antiretroviral Regimens for Ineffective Cures, Group Says
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.