EC Approves Gilead, BMS, Merck Antiretroviral Atripla

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AntiretroviralDrugs

TheEuropean Commission on Monday approved the once-daily antiretroviral drugAtripla -- which is manufactured jointly by Gilead Sciences, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck -- forsale in European Union countries, BBC News reports (Dreaper, BBC News,12/17).

Atripla is composed of efavirenz, marketed by BMS and Merck, and the Gilead drugs emtricitabine and tenofovir. It is the firstonce-daily antiretroviral available to most people living with HIV in the E.U.(Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/22). The drug, which wasapproved in the U.S. in2006, will be available in the 27 countries of the European Union, as well as Iceland and Norway. Atripla was approved foruse among adults with viral loads of less than 50 copies per milliliter ofblood on their current combination therapies for more than three months (Gilead release, 12/17).

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According to London'sGuardian, the approval comes as the number of recordednew HIV cases in the European Union is increasing (Barriaux, Guardian,12/17). A report released last month by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control found that the number of new HIVcases recorded in E.U. countries has nearly doubled from 28.8 cases per onemillion residents in 1999 to 57.5 cases per one million residents in 2006 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 11/26).

Paul Carter, vice president of international commercial operations at Gilead, said the company is "trying to work withpolicymakers and opinion leaders in the HIV field to raise awareness"about the increasing number of new cases (Guardian, 12/17). Headded that "Atripla will be available at a price which is in parity withthe sum of its component parts." Simon Portsmouth, a London-based HIVconsultant, said the approval is a "big advance" for HIV-positivepeople living in E.U. countries, adding that they "can just take this pillbefore they go to bed at night, and it doesn't take over their whole life"(BBC News, 12/17).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Reportis published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. KaiserFamily Foundation.

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