translation agency

CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
Drug Concerns to Share AIDS Data

April 20, 1993
New York Times (04/20/93), P. C10 (Kolata, Gina)

A total of 15 major pharmaceutical companies have decided, in a highly unusual move, to share AIDS drugs and information while the drugs are undergoing early clinical testing. Dr. Edward Scolnick, president of the Merck Research Laboratory in Rahway, N.J., arranged the collaboration. He said that cooperation between companies seemed increasingly significant as it had become clear that combinations of drugs were likely to be more effective in fighting HIV than any drug used alone. The researchers are hopeful that HIV, when faced with a combination of several drugs requiring mutation at different sites for resistance to develop, will be unable to evolve all the mutations at the same time. Therefore, several drugs taken together or one after the other could halt the spread of HIV. Currently, the drug companies do not know what other drugs their competitors are developing. The new agreement allows companies to routinely exchange animal data and safety data on new AIDS drugs. "An agreement like this will greatly facilitate companies' ability to choose the best drug combinations much faster and in a much more efficient way," said Scolnick. He also said that the collaboration would not violate antitrust laws. In creating the agreement, Merck spoke frequently to members of AIDS advocacy groups, including ACT-UP. Dr. Daniel Hoth, director of the division on AIDS at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease said, "We're delighted to see the pharmaceutical industry take this step because we think that increasing the information flow will likely accelerate the discovery of better compounds for AIDS." Related Stories: Wall Street Journal (04/20) P. B1; Philadelphia Inquirer (04/20) P. A3; USA Today (04/20) P. 1B