The Food and Drug Administration approved Fuzeon, Trimeris and Roche's HIV fusion inhibitor, on March 13, making the drug the first approved medication in the fusion inhibitor class. Fuzeon, also known as T-20, works by preventing HIV from being able to attach to and enter immune system cells. The drug, which must be injected, was designed primarily for HIV-positive people who have failed all other available treatments.
Roche announced March 20 that the cost of the drug in the United States will be just under $20,000, making it the most expensive anti-HIV medication on the market. A complex manufacturing process will limit production of the drug to supply between 12,000 to 15,000 people by the end of the year. It will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.