FDA approves more than 150 antiretroviral drugs to treat HIV/AIDS infected people globally
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg announced Sunday, that in association with the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the approval or tentative approval of 152 antiretroviral drugs (ART) for battling the AIDS pandemic. The first of the 150+ drugs approved occurred in 2004 under the program.
According to the FDA, the PEPFAR program has supported life-saving antiretroviral treatment for more than 3.9 million men, women, and children worldwide as of Sept. 30, 2011, the most recent figure available. In fiscal 2011, PEPFAR directly supported antiretroviral drug prophylaxis to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission for more than 660,000 HIV-positive pregnant women, allowing more than 200,000 infants to be born HIV-free.
PEPFAR was a commitment of $15 billion over five years (2003–2008) from former United States President George W. Bush to fight the global HIV/AIDS pandemic.
PEPFAR increased the number of Africans receiving ART from 50,000 at the start of the initiative in 2004 to at least 1.2 million in early 2008.
PEPFAR has been called the largest health initiative ever initiated by one country to address a disease.
During his last budget in 2008, President Bush requested $5.4 billion for PEPFAR. Since then, the funding has increased dramatically to nearly $50 billion through 2013.
The former President was even given kudos by legendary rocker and AIDS activist Elton John who said recently, “No other US President has done more to fight AIDS” and stated that Bush was “amazingly informed about AIDS.”
According to a 2009 study published in Annals of Internal Medicine, the program had averted about 1.1 million deaths in Africa and reduced the death rate due to AIDS in the countries involved by 10%.
See the FDA video for more about the approval process and PEPFAR: