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Most Pharmaceutical Companies Receive Poor Grades on HIV/AIDS Drug Development Innovation, According to AIDS Treatment Activist Coalition Report Card
Date:9/10/2009

NEW YORK, Sept. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- With the estimated 1.2 million people with HIV/AIDS in the United States expected to live close to a normal life span, the majority of pharmaceutical companies are not developing innovative, new long-term treatment options that offer improved efficacy, safety and tolerability when taken for decades, according to a report card on the pharmaceutical industry released today by the AIDS Treatment Activists Coalition's (ATAC) Drug Development Committee. ATAC, www.atac-usa.org, is a national non-profit AIDS advocacy group working to end the AIDS epidemic by advancing research of HIV/AIDS.

The ATAC Pharmaceutical Company HIV/AIDS Report Card ranks the nine largest pharmaceutical companies (Abbott Laboratories, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Gilead Sciences, GlaxoSmithKline, Hoffman La Roche, Merck & Co., Pfizer and Tibotec) with HIV/AIDS drugs on the market in five categories: drug development portfolio and plans, access to drugs, pricing, community relations and marketing practices. The average final grade was a C-: Abbott Laboratories received the lowest grade, an F, and Merck & Co. and Tibotec each received the highest grade, a B. The companies were issued a letter grade from A-F for each of the five categories as well as a final grade average. To view the companies' grades, view http://atac-usa.org/assets/docs/atacreportcard.png.

ATAC gave most companies low marks in five benchmark treatment categories:

  • Drug Development and Plans: The pipeline is shrinking, investment is falling, and in some cases, cooperation with the community has been diminishing. This adds up to fewer truly innovative new drugs and the possibility that clinical trials could be less safe or less likely to get relevant information.

  • Access to Treatment: With fewer drugs in the pipeline that will be useful for people who have already used existing treatments, early access to potentially life-saving treatment is a growing concern.

  • Pricing: HIV/AIDS drugs are among the most highly priced on the market, and price increases taken by most companies have been at least double the rate of inflation. This means fewer low income people can be accepted into government programs, and most people with HIV are paying higher insurance co-payments.

  • Community Relations: Many companies are less willing to seek independent input from the U.S. HIV/AIDS community regarding research and trials, particularly in the early stages of the drug development process. This is putting trial participants at a greater risk for illness and treatment failure.

  • Marketing Practices: Negative or misleading advertising has serious consequences for people with HIV/AIDS; potentially causing alarm if they are taking competing drugs, or stoppage of a current regimen before consulting with their provider. Some companies have sometimes overstated efficacy, safety, or are marketing drugs for non-approved uses.

To view the full report card, executive summary, criteria for scoring, and backgrounder with current statistics on the state of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, visit http://www.atac-usa.org/atac-pharmaceutical-report-card.html.

About the AIDS Treatment Activists Coalition (ATAC)

The AIDS Treatment Activists Coalition (ATAC) is a national non-profit AIDS advocacy group working to end the AIDS epidemic by advancing research of HIV/AIDS. The organization brings together people with HIV/AIDS, government, industry and academia in matters affecting research, treatment and access. ATAC receives support from the pharmaceutical industry, on which it reports, and private donors. For more information, visit www.atac-usa.org.


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SOURCE AIDS Treatment Activists Coalition
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