Drugs Flash 90

Israel's Meuhedet health fund announced its decision to subsidize the new anti-AIDS drug, making it the first of Israel's four health funds to do so.

The new Teva-manufactured drug, Emtrvir Teva® is intended to help homosexual men and the female partners of infected males avoid falling ill with AIDS. Emtrivir Teva® is the generic drug for Truvada® of Gilead.

Gilead, a research-based biopharmaceutical company, developed the Truvada® trademark more than a decade ago to identify a fixed-dose combination of two antiretroviral medications, emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil, for the treatment of HIV infection. This combination has also been approved as the first oral antiretroviral pill available to reduce the risk of acquiring HIV infection in adults at high risk. Teva’s emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil combination product is sold under the brand name Emtrivir Teva®.

Instead of the drug costing 2,200 shekels per month, it will cost a mere few hundred: Customers with supplementary insurance will pay 300 shekels per month, and those with only basic governmental insurance will pay 500 shekels per month.

The other three health funds - Clalit, Maccabi, and Leumit - are expected to subsidize the drug in the near future.

Four hundred new HIV cases are diagnosed in Israel each year, most of them intravenous drug users, or individuals who have had unprotected homosexual relations.

According to Israel's Health Ministry, doctors can prescribe Emtrvir Teva® only if they have done a special course on HIV.

The drug will be prescription-only and prevention will include a booklet explaining other sexually transmitted diseases and that those taking it are not protected against anything other than HIV. These patients will need to be constantly monitored.

Israel's Health Ministry approved Emtrvir Teva® for marketing in July. It must taken once a day and is intended for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and contains the antiviral drugs emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate.

The drug works by interfering with the virus' ability to reproduce itself. Efficacy is greatly reduced when it is not taken on a daily basis.

Those taking the drug need to be under constant medical supervision. Possible side effects include kidney failure, lactic acidosis, liver problems, worsening of bone problems ore Hepatitis B infections, diarrhea, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, depression, sleep issues, and rash.