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Pharmac Funds Two New Drugs To Treat AIDS And HIV

Health Minister Annette King says she is delighted that Pharmac, the Government drug funding agency, has announced on World Aids Day today that it will fund two new drugs for the treatment of AIDS and HIV.

The two drugs, efavirenz and abacavir (e-fav-ear-renz and a-back-a-veer), will be fully subsidised from January 1.

Mrs King said Pharmac had also informed her that two other drugs will now also be funded in different forms, with saquinavir also available in soft gel capsules, and lamivudine as an oral liquid.

"One of the real values of the new funding is that patients will have access to a greater variety of treatment. Patients being treated for HIV and AIDS are on a combination of drugs. Patients will now have access to an increased number of treatments that require a combination of drugs, as well as new combinations. This includes some four-drug treatments, called quadruple therapy."

Pharmac General Manager Wayne McNee said today the announcement was excellent news for patients, as it gave them further treatment options.

“Pharmac has listened to their concerns and has considered the application very carefully. Our medical and therapeutics advisors have carefully assessed the scientific evidence and have clarified the benefits of these new products in terms of multi-drug therapies used to treat HIV and AIDS patients.”

Mr McNee said Pharmac spends about $5 million a year on drugs for HIV and AIDS. Estimates showed about 900 people were currently infected with HIV in New Zealand, with 117 of these diagnosed with AIDS.

Ends

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