Increase in Demand for Two Antiretroviral Drugs Might Exceed Supply, Wall Street Journal Reports
March 4, 2005
The increasing demand for the antiretroviral drugs stavudine and efavirenz, both manufactured by Bristol-Myers Squibb, might soon exceed supply and lead to shortages for HIV-positive patients in developing countries, the Wall Street Journal reports. The potential shortages are largely being attributed to a "rapid increase" in purchases of the drugs by the five-year, $15 billion President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, programs funded through the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and other organizations treating HIV-positive people in developing countries, according to the Journal. In addition, supplies of the two drugs already are low in many developing countries because the World Health Organization recently withdrew its approval of generic versions of the drugs manufactured by two Indian generic drug makers. The withdrawal prompted the companies to remove the generic drugs from the market. Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck, which markets efavirenz in developing countries, acknowledged the possible shortages and said the main priority is ensuring that patients continue to have access to the drugs, the Journal reports. However, some new patients might have to wait or use alternative treatments until the shortages are rectified, according to the Journal. Both companies said that the expected length of the shortages is unknown because demand for the drugs is continuing to increase. The "vast majority" of HIV-positive people in developing countries do not have access to antiretroviral treatment, according to the Journal (Davies, Wall Street Journal, 3/4). According to a December 2004 WHO report, 700,000 people in developing countries were on antiretroviral drugs at the end of 2004, compared with 440,000 as of June 2004. However, only about 12% of an estimated 5.8 million HIV-positive adults in developing countries who need antiretrovirals are receiving them (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/23).
U.S. Generic Drug Approval
Companies', Other Reaction
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. © 2004 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.
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.