State, Federal Governments, Drug Companies Must Make Fuzeon More Affordable, Editorial Says
Although the recently approved antiretroviral drug Fuzeon will "help many, mainly those who have become resistant to traditional treatment, ... we must not forget that the lack of affordability of such drugs is a large concern in this country and funding shortfalls mean more people waiting for treatment and more restrictions in governmental drug assistance programs," a Denver Post editorial says (Denver Post, 6/6). The FDA in March approved Fuzeon, which is designed for HIV/AIDS patients who have failed to respond to other medications. The drug costs about $20,000 per patient per year, double the price of the most expensive HIV treatments currently on the market. The total cost of treatment with Fuzeon could reach between $30,000 and $40,000 per patient per year because the drug must be taken in combination with other medicines (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/2). Drug makers "must get with the program and work with the AIDS Drug Assistance Programs to find ways to make the drugs more affordable," the editorial says, adding that the federal government "also must continue to expand funding to AIDS prevention programming." The Post concludes that Fuzeon and "other drugs that treat HIV and AIDS must become more affordable for those who need them" (Denver Post, 6/6).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.