Drug Companies Unlikely to Develop HIV Vaccine; Government Must Invest More in Development, NIH Official Says
January 3, 2006
Pharmaceutical companies likely will wait for the government to develop an effective HIV vaccine because of a lack of financial incentive to develop a vaccine in the private sector, Edmund Tramont, director of the Division of AIDS at NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, said in July 2005 during a deposition regarding an employment lawsuit, the AP/Yahoo! News reports. Tramont's deposition in the case of former NIH employee Jonathan Fishbein was obtained recently by the Associated Press. "[W]e're going to have an HIV vaccine," Tramont said in the deposition, adding, "It's not going to be made by a company. They're dropping out like flies because there's no real incentive for them to do it." Therefore, he added, government agencies must spend more "time and energy" toward developing new treatments for market. If the government develops an effective vaccine, pharmaceutical companies will then "make it and sell it and make a profit" without having "to make that big investment," Tramont said. However, Ken Johnson, senior vice president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, said U.S. drug companies are "firmly committed to HIV/AIDS vaccine research and development, with 15 potential vaccines in development today." He added, "Vaccine research is crucial to controlling the AIDS pandemic, and our companies are well aware of the need to succeed in this vital area of science." Tramont in an e-mail response said the lack of incentive for an HIV vaccine parallels the history of other vaccine development, which is why there "was/is a shortage of flu vaccines." The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative estimates that about $682 million is spent annually on HIV/AIDS vaccine research and development, with about $100 million coming from the private sector (Solomon, AP/Yahoo! News, 12/26/05).
Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2006 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.
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