Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
HIV PROTEASE INHIBITORS U.S. Patent No. 5,413,999 Issued:May 1995 to Joseph Vacca and others Assigned tMerck & Co. Inc. Prosecuted by:In-house at Merck Protease inhibitors aren’t a cure for HIV infection, but they can keep the disease manageable — and have helped to drastically reduce the number of deaths from AIDS. Approved for use in 1995, the inhibitors have shown a remarkable ability to suppress HIV viral loads, particularly when taken in a “triple cocktail” with two other drugs called reverse transcriptase inhibitors. By inhibiting the virus’s protease enzyme, the drugs prevent viral replication — in essence, holding the virus in check and keeping it from developing into full-blown AIDS. It didn’t take long for these drugs to work their magic, either. In 1997 the number of AIDS-related deaths in the U.S. dropped by 47 percent, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Protease inhibitors have also called attention to a major criticism of the patentability of life-saving drugs: Manufacturers, using patents, can set prices so high the drugs cannot be obtained by many of the people who need them. Merck’s Crixivan, the most widely used protease inhibitor, costs over $6,000 a year in the United States. But the vast majority of HIV-infected individuals live in the world’s most impoverished nations, particularly in southern Africa, where over 250,000 people died of AIDS in 2000. Under pressure to provide greater access to medication, Merck announced last year that it would cut the price of Crixivan in developing nations to $600 a year — a level, the company says, at which it will make no profit. But even that price is too high for most patients, who must rely on charities and relief groups to buy the drugs for them. Alan Cohen is a free-lance writer based in New York City. His e-mail is [email protected].

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

Reprints & Licensing
Mentioned in a Law.com story?

License our industry-leading legal content to extend your thought leadership and build your brand.


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.