Fuzeon Distributed Free of Charge to Some HIV-Positive Patients This Month
The experimental antiretroviral drug Fuzeon was made available free of charge to some "seriously ill" HIV-positive patients this month through a compassionate use program, the Orlando Sentinel reports (Marsa, Orlando Sentinel, 10/25). Fuzeon, which has not yet been approved by the FDA, is the first in a new class of drugs called fusion inhibitors, designed to fight HIV in people who have strains that are already resistant to one or more antiretroviral drugs. This month, Fuzeon was was scheduled to be made available to approximately 1,200 HIV-positive people worldwide through a compassionate use program. Under the program, people with certain life-threatening conditions for which standard treatment is not working can access new medications before they receive FDA approval if their physician is enrolled in the program. About 600 people in the United States are expected to receive Fuzeon through the program (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 9/17). Fuzeon has received priority review status by the FDA, and the agency will review the drug by March 16, 2003 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/15). Some experts predict that an annual supply of Fuzeon could cost more than $12,000 per person (Orlando Sentinel, 10/25).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.