Drugmakers Roche and Trimeris announced Wednesday the launch of a new consumer advertising campaign aimed at boosting demand for the companies' HIV fusion inhibitor Fuzeon, The [Raleigh, N.C.] News and Observer reports. The announcement came on the heels of reports that the drug, the first medication in the fusion inhibitor class of medications, has generated only $18.9 million in sales worldwide since its approval by the Food and Drug Administration in March. New prescriptions for the injectable medication, which costs $20,000 for a year's supply, also have fallen by half in July, August, and September of this year.
Roche officials in a press release on Thursday announced that they still have confidence that sales of Fuzeon will increase in the coming months. They also noted the company is making progress on getting Fuzeon approved by AIDS Drug Assistance Programs throughout the country and in beginning to collect fees from ADAPs and Medicaid for its use. Promotional efforts for Fuzeon initially targeted only doctors but will be expanded to "convince patients the drug is important," Walter Capone, vice president of communications for Trimeris, told The News and Observer.