Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
Gilead Sciences Expects New Antiretroviral Will ‘Drive’ Company’s Success
Gilead Sciences "expect[s]" its HIV drug Viread to "drive the company's future growth" and provide "much needed relief" for HIV-positive people who are running out of treatment options, the Oakland Tribune reports. Viread, a nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitor that was approved by the FDA in November, can be combined with other antiretroviral drugs, has "practically" no side effects and has been shown to be an "effective" HIV treatment, even over time after other treatments "lose their effectiveness ... as the virus becomes resistant." Last fall, Gilead "doubled its sales force" in anticipation of the drug's popularity; the company "has not been disappointed." Sales of the one-pill-a-day drug, which costs about $4,000 per patient per year and is covered by most insurance companies, were expected to be "strong" and to "fuel future profits" for Gilead. The "main challenge" to Gilead's success would be the development of a "similar and better" drug than Viread; however, "there isn't currently one in the pipeline," according to the Tribune. Gilead owns the rights to the drug and will receive all sales profits from Viread. Sales of Viread are predicted to reach $600 million by 2006. "These are very exciting times at Gilead," Shay Weisbrich, vice president of sales and marketing, said (Simmers, Oakland Tribune, 1/30).
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