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Cheap antibiotics could save tens of thousands of HIV patients

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  1. PAUL MARSHALL 29 Mar 2010, 4:02pm

    This is very good news ;-)

  2. co-trimoxazole aka Septrin has routinely been given to western patients with low CD4 counts for very many years, it used to below 500 now I believe its 300. It was responsible for halting the terrible cases of Pneumocystis pneumonia that typified HIV infection in the early years of the epidemic.

    The most important HIV trial of the moment is PIVOT which stands for “Protease Inhibitor monotherapy Versus Ongoing Triple-therapy in the long term management of HIV infection”. If this works boosted generic PI’s will become standard treatment for HIV infection the world over.

    All has changed since my diagnosis in 1985, we need to revise how we talk, report and record the lives of people living with HIV.

  3. Newspaniard 29 Mar 2010, 5:16pm

    Bloody drugs companies will have a fit if they discover that patients are using ‘cheap’ drugs. Watch them squirm and bring out something ‘better’ for ten times the price.

  4. Newspaniard “Bloody drugs companies will have a fit if they discover that patients are using ‘cheap’ drugs. Watch them squirm and bring out something ‘better’ for ten times the price.”

    These “Bloody drugs companies” are the people that developed the damn stuff in the first place. They only have ten years to recoup their investment before the drug goes public domain. If you want to cut their profits, don’t expect them to show up with new breakthroughs like this. Wake up to the real world.

  5. Sister Mary clarence 29 Mar 2010, 8:54pm

    Rob, to be fair in many cases they haven’t actually developed anything. They have simply bought the right to manufacture from a much smaller research company, marked it up and sold it one.

    There is nothing wrong with a bit of honest profit, but the drug companies are making a killing.

    Its all very well being able to sustain the life of the newly infected with a low-cost course in Seprin, but the cost of the longer term combination therapies with ensure that those infected get finished off later rather than sooner anyway.

    It is slightly incorrect to say that the companies only have ten years to recoup their investment. They have a lifetime to recoup costs, however after ten years their prices have to complete with others who may also market the drug (at profit).

  6. SMC: Who says they are smaller? Many large drug companies both develop and market their own pharmaceuticals. The costs can be astronomical, either way, they need to regain that AND make a profit. It seems in the world of the right-on socialist, profit is a dirty word. Sorry, but they are in the business to make money, not save lives. Cruel, I agree, but honest.

    They cannot recoup and development costs after a drug goes generic because the sale prices are often only just above manufacturing costs and their margins would not be able to factor in anything else. I’ve said it many times before, that the only realistic way of handling this is to for governments to extend copyright to say 25 years, so pharmacos can amortize their investments, and in return, they sell their products at a lower retail price.

  7. Sister Mary clarence 30 Mar 2010, 12:01am

    Rob, if the companies making the cheap copies can turn a profit (and they do) the there is no reason why the original patent holding company cannot. They will probably have better supply chain and economies of scale should allow then to keep prices lower. However they have little interest in competing on price in that market, when they can secure a patent on the next product and hold the consumer over a barrel.

    That’s the game and those are the rules, so you can’t expect anyone to have any sympathy for them when someone finds a way round it that screws them out of their profits – free market and all that. I’m sure you’d agree.

  8. So why don’t the companies selling this cheap stuff develop their own in the first place if they are so humanitarian?

  9. Newspaniard 30 Mar 2010, 5:01pm

    Don’t give me any crap about ‘nice’ drugs companies. Look at the case of peptic ulcers. They conned the medical profession that their treatment was leading edge when it turned out that they were selling the equivalent of Rennies for the equivalent of £10 a tablet. When it was discovered that most stomach ulcers were caused by a virus and could be cured by one simple (cheap) treatment. They tried all sorts of methods to supress this info and bombarded doctors with their ‘Rennie’ treatment for years (maybe still do). What other ailments are being incorrectly treated in a similar manner?

  10. Newspaniard: Who said drugs companies were “nice”? They are in business like anyone else. Why should a company that saves lives be any different to one that saves other people’s money?

    You should be lucky they develop these things at all. It is well known that they target markets that will result in good profits. If you have cancer or heart disease, you’re OK, if you’ve got some rare blood disease, sorry mate, you’re screwed.

  11. I really can’t believe some of the drivel I am reading here.

    For starters: lets just get it clear that there is nothing remotely newsworthy in this, because co-trimoxazole is already widely used, throughout the world, for the very purpose that this study is confirming that it is effective. It is cheap because it is old, unfashionable, dangerous – so much so that it has been banned in many countries because it is so unsafe – and is available as a generic drug that anyone can make without a licence.

    Secondly: co-trimoxazole has no impact on HIV itself and isn’t an alternative to potent HIV-drugs. It simply helps the already weakened immune system to fight some of the opportunistic AIDS-defining illnesses/infections.

    Thirdly: it isn’t a miracle drug that is being kept secret. It comes with a huge red safety alert, has many unpleasant side-effects and can in itself cause life-threatening conditions and is therefore generally only used as a medicine of last resort.

    So, please spare us all this banal and uninformed ‘Big Pharma’ conspiracy nonsense.

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