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PhRMA Survey Offers Update on 98 AIDS Drugs and Vaccines Currently in Production
Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) recently released its 2001 survey "New Medicines in Development for AIDS." According to the survey, since 1987, 68 medicines have been approved for the treatment of AIDS and AIDS-related complications and 98 new treatments and vaccines are currently "in the pharmaceutical pipeline." Four new medicines were approved in the past year: a treatment for an AIDS-related fungal infection; a medicine for AIDS-related cytomegalovirus retinitis; a treatment that combines three existing antiretroviral drugs in one pill and the first nucleotide drug -- a new class of antiretroviral drug that has proven effective in patients who have developed resistance to other AIDS drugs. Drug resistance continues to be a focus for many pharmaceutical companies. "Drug resistance with this virus is a big issue. We are constantly looking for new drugs that can defeat these mutated viruses," Dr. Michael Rogers, head of HIV Clinical Development for GlaxoSmithKline, said. Vaccines are another area of focus for the industry. "Everything in science suggests that a vaccine is possible," Seth Berkley, CEO of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, said. The survey lists the 98 drugs and vaccine currently in development, identifying them by product name, company, indication and development status. The survey also lists by name, company and indication all 68 medicines already approved for the treatment of HIV and AIDS-related illness. The report includes a glossary of terms, a list of facts about AIDS and a flow chart of the drug-approval process. One section of the survey also focuses on pharmaceutical company initiatives in the developing world, noting that from 1998 through 2001 the industry gave more than $1.9 billion in financial assistance and medical products to developing nations. The survey goes on to list some of the industry's initiatives including the Accelerating Access program, which offers AIDS drugs at "deeply discounted" prices, and the donation of drugs to treat fungal infections and reduce vertical HIV transmission. The survey is available online at the PhRMA Web site ("New Medicines in Development for AIDS," November 2001).
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