The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approve a new drug for HIV, but the price of the new medication received a great deal of criticism from an AIDS activist. Michael Weinstein, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation president, said the drug would put even more pressure on the health programs that are already strained that pay the majority of the HIV medications.
Weinstein called the $28,500 a year cost shockingly irresponsible. He leads the foundation that treats over 100,000 individuals who are infected with the virus. He said the medication was unsustainable at those price levels.
The new drug will have the name Stribild and is the third one-a-day pill for the virus that Gilead has entered into the market following Atripla that became available in 2006 and Complera that started in 2011. During the last 1990s, cocktails of drugs started to be used to successfully treat HIV and patients had to take nearly two dozen pills at different times both day and night.
Stribild was known previously as Quad and is not a huge leap on the medical side. The drug in its clinical trials was nearly equivalent to Atripla, though it does not have some of the psychiatric effects Atripla does. Between 88% and 90% of the participants who took the new medication had HIV amounts that were undetectable in their blood stream after using it for 48 weeks. That compared to 84% of those who used Atripla and 87% of those who used a combination of Truvada by Gilead, Reyataz by Britstol Myers Squibb and Norvir by Abbott.
However, commercially Stribild will be good for Gilead since it owns all the medication’s ingredients. Whereas, in Atripla ingredients are owned by other pharmaceutical companies and Gilead pays for their usage.