Cocktails for Kids
by Walter Armstrong and Ronnilyn Pustil
After long wait, pediatric protease
Children with HIV have paltry treatment options, and pediatric research is minimal. Advocates say that’s because drug companies go after the big bucks of the much larger adult market. Of the nine-FDA approved drugs, only three had been OK’d for kids—AZT, ddI and 3TC—until March, when the FDA blessed two protease inhibitors for kids: A liquid formulation of Norvir (ritonavir) and Viracept (nelfinavir)—the first protease approved simultaneously for adults and children—in a fruit-flavored oral powder. The annual damage? Viracept’s $5,650 for adults, about $3,000 for kids; Norvir runs $6,500 for adults, about $4,500 for kids. Agouron will provide Viracept free to U.S. children ages 2 and up who have no insurance.