Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 5, 2012 05:01 PM
Merck & Co.’s HIV-fighting drug Isentress has been on the market for adults since October of 2007. Now the FDA is letting Merck market the product to children and teens, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Isentress is what’s known as an “HIV integrase inhibitors,” that “work(s) by interfering with the virus's ability to replicate itself,” the Journal notes.
U.S. clinical trials were done with the drug on 96 children and teens between the ages of 2 and 18 years old with HIV. It “found that 53% of these patients had an undetectable amount of HIV in their blood after 24 weeks of treatment with the drug,” WSJ adds.
Merck also is joining five other drug manufacturers to provide discounts on HIV drugs to state drug-assistance programs, according to FiercePharma.com. Starting this week, Merck is discounting Isentress through 2013 to help out the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors.
"With the economy the way it is, there are many more people without jobs and many more people who are qualifying for the programs," said Murray Penner, the organization's deputy executive director. "The need has ballooned."
Johnson & Johnson, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Gilead Sciences, Boehringer Ingelheim and the Pfizer/GlaxoSmithKline joint venture ViiV Healthcare have all also discounted drugs for the state programs.