JANUARY 21, 2000 • HOUSTON VOICE
Provider dedicated to serving the HIV community
Now Accepting Medicare, PPOs
& Standard Insurances.
Workshops & Seminars
Increase Self Esteem
Patricia Salvato, MD
For more information call
is built on OUR MEMBERS!
in Customer Satisfaction!
4040 MILAM 77006
MONTH BY MONTH
Director: Kinetic Sports
Monday to Friday 5 am - 10 pm
Saturday & Sunday 8 am - 8 pm
Drug giants set to merge, capturing almost one-fifth of market
LONDON (AP)—British pharmaceutical
heavyweights Glaxo Wellcome PLC and
SmithKline Beecham PLC announced Jan. 17
that they have agreed to merge, forming the
world's largest drugmaker. The U.S. Federal
Trade Commission and the European Union
must still approve the merger. The new group
is headquartered in London but will likely run
from the U.S., and would have a 7.5 percent
share of the global pharmaceutical market.
Glaxo's strength lies in its top anti-migraine
drug, Imirrex, and in treatments for asthma
and viral infections, including HIV.
SmithKline's top products include the antibiotic Augmentin, and the antidepressant
Paxil, as well as a strong vaccine business.
The merger would eclipse the just-
announced takeover by Pfizer Inc. of U.S.
drugmaker Warner-Lambert Co. If that deal
goes forward, the combined group would
have 6.5 percent of the global market.
SmithKline Beecham is set to be purchased by
British rival pharmaceutical company Glaxo
Wellcome in a deal that would create the
world's largest drugmaker.
Difficulty in taking HIV cocktail may be main blame for failure
CHICAGO (AP)—When drug cocktails fail to keep HIV in check, the most likely reason is failure to take drugs properly and not that the virus has become drug-resistant, two recent studies
published Jan. 12 suggest. Antiviral drug cocktails suppress HIV in 60 percent to 90 percent of
patients, researchers noted in the journal of the American Medical Association. But an estimated 30
percent to 60 percent of those patients end up being considered treatment failures, either because
the drugs never knock the virus down or because it rebounds. The new studies looked at 58 HIV
patients in France and in 26 U.S. patients where the virus rebounded. The 1998 French study
looked for signs of genetic mutation associated with drug resistance, but found more evidence to place blame on the failure to take medicine properly and on the inadequate potency of drugs in the body. "We need to help the patient be well-adherent to the treatment,"
said Dr. Francoise Brun-Vezinet, virology director at Claude Bernard Hospital in Paris and
head of the French study. She cautioned that drug resistance may play a bigger role in
patients who have had longer treatment with antiviral drugs.
New drug may cure common cold and hundreds of viral infections
EXTON, Pa. (AP)—A new drug called Pleconaril has shown effectiveness against viral infections like meningitis, polio and the common cold, and may be in drugstores .is early as next year.
The drug has been effective in blocking 169 different viruses, the largest single family of viruses
that affect humans. It is part of a new generation of drugs designed to work against specific
physical characteristics of the targeted virus, and developers tested 1,500 different versions of
Pleconaril before settling on one. The drug fits neatly into a groove on the surface of the virus,
gumming up the machinery it needs to infect the body's cells. "Pleconaril... provides a lot of
hope for the eventual design of drugs for virtually every viral infection," said Dr. Catherine
Laughlin, chief of virology at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious I diseases. Two large
studies are due out in the spring from Pleconaril manufacturer ViroPharma that will determine
whether the drug works well enough to win FDA approval.
Clinton to ask for $1 billion more to fund biomedical research
WASHINGTON—President Clinton will propose an additional $1 billion for biomedical
research as part of his fiscal 2001 budget, Reuters news service reported. White House chief
of staff John Podesta also told ABC's "This Week" that he would meet drug company leaders on Jan. 20 to build support for providing prescription drug benefits to the elderly
through the Medicare. The industry opposed the idea last summer but has shifted to support it. "We're going to make a major investment again in the National Institutes of Health,"
Podesta said, as well as proposing "the largest increase" for the National Science
Foundation. With the additional $1 billion, NIH would have $19 billion for biomedical
research. In the past year, the White House said, researchers supported by NIH discovered
"a simple, affordable drug to prevent transmission of HIV to infants."
AIDS funding announced for UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke and Boston
CHAPEL HILL, N.C (AP)—The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke
University will receive $21 million in renewed federal grants to help treat AIDS pahents in the
state and to participate in experimental treatments. UNC-Chapel Hill will receive $12.5 million
over the next five years, while Duke will receive $8.5 million, the two schools announced at a
Jan. 12 news conference. The focus on much of the grant money will be on African-Americans
with AIDS. Also, the Boston area will get nearly $12.5 million in federal funding for services to
people infected with HIV. A host of state, federal and local officials announced the grant, which
was $1.8 million higher than the same grant last year.
—From staff and wire reports