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New Zealand HIV Patients Given Hope

New Zealand HIV Patients Given Hope

With New Medication

New Zealand HIV patients who were facing a bleak future, will now have a new treatment option thanks to ISENTRESSTM (raltegravir) being approved for use in New Zealand yesterday.

Dr Simon Briggs, Infectious Diseases Physician at Auckland City Hospital, says, "This is great news for people with HIV infection, and for the doctors treating them, as there is a real need for new HIV treatments in New Zealand."

ISENTRESS is used in combination with other HIV medications and is for patients whose HIV has developed resistance to a number of the existing HIV treatments. In New Zealand there are approximately 40 people who are in this position. The availability of ISENTRESS is timely as some of these patients have been waiting for new HIV treatments for a long time. The next few years will see increasing numbers of patients requiring ISENTRESS.

ISENTRESS is the first in a new class of medications called integrase inhibitors. It works by preventing HIV viral DNA inserting into human DNA thereby blocking the ability of the virus to replicate and infect new cells.

Eamonn Smythe, National Positive Health Manager for the New Zealand AIDS Foundation, also welcomed the registration of ISENTRESS in New Zealand. "ISENTRESS becoming available here is extremely good news for people living with HIV as we haven't had a new class of medication since the introduction of FUZEON, which has to be injected rather than taken as a tablet.

"Resistance to current HIV therapies in treatment-experienced patients is one of the leading challenges in effective HIV treatment. Without access to new classes of medication, people may build resistance to current therapies and unless new classes of medications are developed, the long term quality of health for those living with the virus may be jeopardised." added Mr Smythe.

While in New Zealand HIV is not as prevalent as in other parts of the world, in 2007 one hundred and fifty six new cases were diagnosed. Of those, 31 men and 29 women were infected through heterosexual contact although most acquired HIV overseas.

ISENTRESS has been developed by Merck & Co Inc., known in New Zealand as Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSDNZ). MSDNZ Managing Director, Alister Brown, says, "ISENTRESS has taken 14 years to develop but it has arrived just as New Zealand starts to see a need for new treatments.

"This medication is funded by the Government in Australia and the United Kingdom and is showing very positive results. We are waiting on PHARMAC to review our application for funding and hope that we will soon be able to offer ISENTRESS to all New Zealanders who would benefit from it." Ends

Please note the Minimum Product Information is contained in the following pages

TAPS Approval No: NA CH2022

1. MSD Data on file 2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. AIDS Info At a Glance. New Class of Anti-HIV Drugs: Updated Information about Integrase Inhibitors on AIDSinfo. Available at: http://aidsinfo.nih.gov/ListServ/PreviewPage.aspx?pageID=20. Accessed May 11, 2007.U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Drugs Used in the Treatment of HIV Infection. 3.Hazuda DJ, Felock P, Witmer M, et al. Inhibitors of strand transfer that prevent integration and inhibit HIV-1 replication in cells. Science 2000; 287: 646-50. 4.Aids Epidemiology Group, Department of Preventative and Social Medicine, University of Otago Medical School, Aids New Zealand, Issue 61 - February 2008

For further information or to request an interview with Dr Simon Briggs or Eamonn Smythe please contact:

Sheryl Kurte Manager, Global Communications New Zealand Merck Sharp & Dohme (New Zealand) Limited Ph 09 523 6116 Mobile 021 281 7584

THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE USING ISENTRESS (raltegravir) 400 mg tablet. ISENTRESS is indicated in combination with other antiretroviral agents for the treatment of HIV-1 infection in treatment-experienced patients with evidence of HIV-1 replication despite ongoing antiretroviral therapy. ISENTRESS should not be taken by pregnant or nursing women, children or by patients who have a hypersensitivity reaction. Precaution should be taken when administering ISENTRESS to patients with indolent or residual opportunistic infections. Caution should be used when co-administering ISENTRESS with strong inducers of uridine diphosphate glucuronosyltransferase (UGT) 1A1 (e.g., rifampin) Common side effects are: diarrhoea, nausea, headache, abdominal pain, fatigue and dizziness. ISENTRESS is a private purchase prescription only medicine that the patient will need to pay for. Price may vary across pharmacies Consult your doctor to see if ISENTRESS is right for you, a normal doctors visit fee will usually apply. Use only as directed and if symptoms continue or you have side effects, see your doctor, pharmacist or health professional. Marketed by: Merck Sharp & Dohme (NZ) Limited, Newmarket, Auckland. For detailed prescribing information, consult the data sheet or consumer medicine information phone 0800 500 673 or refer to the Medsafe website www.medsafe.govt.nz . [MPI-ISE-1]

Merck HIV research Merck & Co. is committed to developing innovative therapies that offer advances in the treatment of infectious diseases - including HIV. Merck's efforts to develop investigational treatments for HIV/AIDS have been under way for more than 20 years and continue today. Merck began its HIV integrase inhibitor research in 1993 and was the first to demonstrate inhibition of HIV integrase in vitro and in vivo.

ISENTRESS is one part of Merck's history in HIV research, which includes the development of CRIXIVAN* (indinavir sulfate), a PI; STOCRINTM, a NNRTI; and research currently underway on additional treatment options.

About Merck Merck & Co., Inc., which operates in many countries as Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD), is a global research-driven pharmaceutical company dedicated to putting patients first. Established in 1891, Merck discovers, develops, manufactures and markets vaccines and medicines in more than 20 therapeutic categories. The company devotes extensive efforts to increase access to medicines through far-reaching programmes that not only donate Merck medicines but help deliver them to the people who need them. Merck also publishes unbiased health information as a not-for-profit service. For more information, visit www.merck.com .

ENDS


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