For the first time in the history of the AIDS pandemic a drugmaker will discontinue two available antiretroviral medications. Roche has announced that it will stop making the nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor Hivid (ddC) and the protease inhibitor Fortovase in 2006 or shortly thereafter because of declining demand.
Experts do not expect the move to reduce treatment options for HIV patients, since neither drug is widely used because of the availability of other medications. Hivid is rarely prescribed because it has been linked with high levels of peripheral neuropathy. Fortovase is not as well-tolerated as Invirase, a sister formulation of the same medication, Roche officials say. AIDS treatment advocates add that the high pill burden associated with Fortovase also limited the drug's usefulness.