AIDS-single pill

By HSC Staff Writer • Published: November 1st, 2006
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Just a decade ago, people with H-I-V and AIDS needed a daily cocktail of more than twenty pills to keep the virus under control. Now the Food and Drug Administration has approved a once-a-day pill that will simplify and improve treatment of the disease.

More than a million Americans have H-I-V–AIDS, and about forty-thousand new cases are reported in the United States every year. Globally, over forty-million people are afflicted with the disease and the number is rising.

Experts project the new drug will keep patients healthier because it can help them take their medications faithfully. And following a regimen of a single pill can also prevent the development of community-wide resistance to AIDS drugs, as mutation of the virus occurs when patients don’t, or cannot, take their medications properly.

The creation of this new drug, Atripla [uh-TRIP-luh], required collaboration between two major pharmaceutical companies to combine the H-I-V–AIDS drugs currently being used into a safe and effective single pill. Atripla [uh-TRIP-luh] will be manufactured in Canada and sold in the United States for a wholesale monthly cost of about one-thousand dollars… the equivalent cost of existing treatment. Officials predict that in a few months the drug, priced significantly lower, will be available in regions where the disease is exploding, such as Africa and Asia.

Experts say this has the potential to make a major impact on the AIDS pandemic, which last year alone killed more than three-million people.