Coalition formed to pressure Roche and Trimeris to lower price of Fuzeon
An international coalition of AIDS advocacy groups on Monday launched a campaign to urge drugmakers Roche and Trimeris to lower the cost of their newly approved HIV fusion inhibitor, Fuzeon, which is currently priced at about $20,000 for a one-year supply. The price is more than double that of the next most expensive anti-HIV medication and can raise the cost of multidrug therapy to over $30,000 per year. In a letter to Roche CEO Franz Humer, the coalition wrote that the cost of the medication puts it out of reach for most people with HIV/AIDS and threatens to bankrupt already financially stressed Medicaid and AIDS Drug Assistance programs. The letter also urges the companies to lower Fuzeon's price because a sizeable portion of the research funds used to create the drug came from U.S. taxpayers, including $3.5 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health. Among the groups to sign the letter were the African Services Committee, the AIDS Medicare Project, the European AIDS Treatment Group, the Global AIDS Alliance, and the United African Federation.