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New treatment funded for HIV/AIDS

1 June 2004

New treatment funded for HIV/AIDS

A PHARMAC funding decision is to give people with advanced HIV/AIDS access to a new fully-funded treatment.

Kaletra, a combination protease inhibitor drug supplied by Abbott Laboratories, will be fully funded from 1 July 2004. In addition, those patients requiring immediate treatment and fulfilling the access criteria will be able to receive the drug through the Exceptional Circumstances scheme.

PHARMAC’s Medical Director Dr Peter Moodie says Kaletra enhances the treatment options available for people in the later stages of HIV/AIDS.

“These are people for whom there are very few treatment options available, so funding Kaletra will make a very real difference to these people’s lives,” he says.

“This is the 13th drug subsidised for the treatment of HIV/AIDS, and we estimate that 50 to 100 patients will be prescribed this drug.”

In addition to funding the drug for people with advanced HIV/AIDS, PHARMAC will be reviewing access by 30 November 2004 to consider Kaletra as a first line treatment. This recognises the recommendation received from a committee of expert clinicians.

Currently HIV/AIDS treatments account for $6.5 million per year of the pharmaceutical budget, and Kaletra is anticipated to cost a further $4.5 million over the next four years.

About 600 New Zealanders are prescribed subsidised treatments for HIV/AIDS.

ENDS

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