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Revolutionary new HIV drug approved by Pharmac

August 24, 2006

Revolutionary new HIV drug approved by Pharmac

A revolutionary new treatment against HIV will be funded for New Zealanders from September 1st by Pharmac, and the New Zealand AIDS Foundation is welcoming the decision.

Fuzeon (AKA enfuvirtide or T20) is a new type of drug called an entry inhibitor, which blocks the HIV virus outside the body’s cells, rather than attempting to treat it once it is already inside. It will be of most benefit to HIV-positive people who are failing their current treatment regimes.

“A significant number of the 1700 people living with HIV in New Zealand today are receiving antiretroviral medications, and will need access to new treatments as their virus develops resistance,” says NZAF Positive Health Manager Eamonn Smythe. “The ability to have alternative medications available is one that can mean the difference between life and death for some.”

NZAF is also pleased that the approval process for Fuzeon through Pharmac has taken only half the time of the last anti-HIV drug, Kaletra, which took almost three years to become fully available.

“This hopefully bodes well for two other medications awaiting funding, Reyataz and Tenofovir, which have been available in Australia for two and four years respectively,” Smythe says. “Both these medications are needed by people living today here in New Zealand, and are widely used elsewhere in the world.”

ENDS

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