The Drug Advisory Committee for the District of Columbia's HIV/AIDS Administration has recommended that the district's AIDS Drug Assistance Program delay adding the recently approved HIV fusion inhibitor Fuzeon to its formulary until more information about the drug is made available, the Washington Blade reports. The committee, which meets just four times a year, approved the delay in May and won't be able to reconsider it until its next meeting in August.
Committee members say they want more information about the impact of Fuzeon's high cost--more than double that of the next-most expensive anti-HIV drug--on the ADAP before giving approval. There are fears among committee members that the $16,000 annual per-person price tag for the drug, down $4,000 from the normal retail cost, is still too expensive for the program to handle. AIDS activists, however, say the ADAP can afford to provide the medication to HIV-positive people exhibiting resistance to all other anti-HIV medications and urge the committee to approve it in August. "People are going to die while they drag their feet," Wayne Turner, head of the D.C. chapter of ACT UP, told the Blade.