The US Department of Health and Human Services announced yesterday that, in conjunction with the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief [PEPFAR], the FDA had approved the 100th different antiretroviral drug for use in combating HIV/AIDS around the world. Please read the HHS announcement here.
This is excellent news for those overseas receiving the exceptional care provided by PEPFAR — but it does raise valid questions: why are there so few drugs being approved for use inside the United States, when treatment is expensive and often difficult to access for those in need of help? The HHS announcement states that:
To date, more than 100 products have been assessed by the FDA and either fully or tentatively approved in association with the PEPFAR program. Of these, 29 have been new products and 71 have been generic copies of previously authorized antiretroviral products in the United States. Twenty-two of these new products are new combinations or regimens that have not previously been authorized in the United States. In addition, there are seven new pediatric products considered innovative for patients in developing economies.
22 new products approved for use by PEPFAR in treatment are not authorized for use in the United States [the announcement does not detail why they are not approved for US use]. As the United States moves forward with an aggressive new public health campaign against HIV and AIDS, it stands to reason there would be an emphasis placed on the accessibility and affordability of much-needed treatment regimens for AIDS patients. We must make sure that the United States takes as excellent care of its own population as it does the rest of the world.
-Until There’s A Cure
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