Are drug companies really looking for a cure?

  • kansascityman

    Posts: 31

    Apr 27, 2008 8:55 PM GMT
    Many drug companies that produce HIV meds are making record profits, often because of the HIV meds. Given that golden goose, I often wonder just how dedicated they are to finding an actual cure. I know the makers of Reyataz raised the price over 400% when it was found to be largely ineffective unless combined with another PI, especially Norvir. Oddly, when combined with their own other PI, the price is not raised.

    Call me cynical, but I have a hard time believing these folks want to cure HIV/AIDS, since a lifetime of taking the high price drugs guarantees them a buttload of revenue for years to come.
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    Apr 27, 2008 11:19 PM GMT
    I think you are presenting a realistic question, considering the history of pharmaceutical companies. In the end, the bottom line is $$$$$ even if it is at the expense of someone's health. It would obviously be more beneficial for these companies to continue conducting research on methods for making the disease more treatable than it would be to find an outright cure. If you keep someone alive with a disease and heavily dependent on a med then you increase your profits. When you find a cure, you eliminate part of your financial base. What company would want to cut off one of their streams of dependable income?

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    Apr 27, 2008 11:33 PM GMT

    You start believing in these conspiracy theories surrounding that AIDS was engineered to wipeout African Americans and homosexuals across America.

    When you pick up a scientific paper about the HIV virus and you realise that it's not this great white elephant of a mythical disease. It's more like the common cold very treatable but may never be cured and a good chance similar disease might emerge.


    The idea that there sitting on a cure to make money is frankly ridiculous.


    Also the drug companies aren't the only ones holding all the research cards ever since the USA stole credit for discovering the HIV virus from the French it's a well accepted fact everyone is competing for the credit for a cure

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    Apr 27, 2008 11:54 PM GMT
    AMT87 said
    You start believing in these conspiracy theories surrounding that AIDS was engineered to wipeout African Americans and homosexuals across America.

    When you pick up a scientific paper about the HIV virus and you realise that it's not this great white elephant of a mythical disease. It's more like the common cold very treatable but may never be cured and a good chance similar disease might emerge.


    The idea that there sitting on a cure to make money is frankly ridiculous.


    Also the drug companies aren't the only ones holding all the research cards ever since the USA stole credit for discovering the HIV virus from the French it's a well accepted fact everyone is competing for the credit for a cure



    I am curious to know why you think it is ridiculous. Yes, I am aware of the fact that the HIV virus can (and often does) mutate into different strains...that is what tends to happend with retroviruses...RNA polymerase lacks editing ability and thus leads to a higher probablity of mutation.
    But regardless, it only seems logical for companies predicated on producing medicines to treat disease to minimize the effort put into actually searching for a cure.

    Say what you will...but $$$$$ talks!!! And that is all that really matters in the end
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    Apr 28, 2008 12:37 AM GMT
    You think a pharmaceutical lobby is keeping you sick to make money off of you....

    You think tens of thousands of different research groups universities and governments are all being paid off by pharmaceutical groups to coordinate a massive cover up of a HIV cure.

    Say it a couple of times and see if it sounds rational


    Most of the actual work done by such companies is concerned with drug action and pharmacology other people do the work finding the cure they turn it into an FDA approved pill...

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    Apr 28, 2008 12:50 AM GMT
    Another thing to consider is that if these companies don't find a cure, and some other researcher does, they still lose a gigantic chunk of income, only it's not offset by selling the cure, since they won't own it. A pharmaceutical company that sells an AIDS drug might have incentive to not make a cure, but a person who isn't selling a treatment has pretty good incentive to come up with a cure.

    Not to mention that a lot of the research is done by people who don't have a financial interest in the matter. For example, a professor of biophysics in my undergrad school was involved with aids research but not with any pharmaceutical companies. People like that are everywhere.
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    Apr 28, 2008 12:51 AM GMT
    I sadly doubt it. Share holders and the Corporation have very little to gain from it.
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    Apr 28, 2008 1:00 AM GMT
    There are lots of scientists and researchers in those companies. Even if you think the pharmaceutical companies are lagging in discovering a cure, you're really talking about the top, greedy fat-cat executives of the companies, I presume.
    Those actually working on the front lines are more likely to be the scientific, honest, ethical sort of people that wouldn't allow something like that.
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    Apr 28, 2008 1:09 AM GMT
    AMT87 saidYou think a pharmaceutical lobby is keeping you sick to make money off of you....

    You think tens of thousands of different research groups universities and governments are all being paid off by pharmaceutical groups to coordinate a massive cover up of a HIV cure.

    Say it a couple of times and see if it sounds rational


    Most of the actual work done by such companies is concerned with drug action and pharmacology other people do the work finding the cure they turn it into an FDA approved pill...



    Ummm...ok...I'm not sick (definitely not HIV+). Anyways, I am not suggesting absolutely no research is being conducted on potential cures for HIV. I think you are formulating your argument in terms of absolutes (and I am not...or at least I am not trying to).

    Of course what you are saying sounds irrational...but that is not what I am saying is happening.
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    Apr 28, 2008 1:38 AM GMT
    Pharmaceutical don't really don't have to keep you sick. They can just create a marketing campaign to convince healthy individuals you and convince half the US population they are sick.


    10 mins of TV and I was told to ask my doctor at least 5 times. Just the idea of approaching a my doc and saying I saw an ad for whatever-exenol between the news and sex in the city seems absurd to me.

    But seems commonplace in the USA
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    Apr 28, 2008 1:49 AM GMT
    AMT87 saidPharmaceutical don't really don't have to keep you sick. They can just create a marketing campaign to convince healthy individuals you and convince half the US population they are sick.


    10 mins of TV and I was told to ask my doctor at least 5 times. Just the idea of approaching a my doc and saying I saw an ad for whatever-exenol between the news and sex in the city seems absurd to me.

    But seems commonplace in the USA


    That's true, but that is only one minor facet of a pharmaceutical company's target audience. Yes, the majority of people in this country are not suffering from some debilitating malady. But also, the vast majority of people are not visiting doctors to express to them their interest in a medication they saw advertised on TV.

    You are right, it is quite absurd that such practices are not well regulated.

    You are aware of how reps in these industries essentially pay for research studies to be conducted and then selectively choose data that ultimately supports their product. I see it happen all the time.

    very backwards
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    Apr 28, 2008 2:25 AM GMT
    My initial response was to simply say, "no," but then I read several other posts.

    So, let me ask this: Why isnt' there a "Team-in-Training" for HIV/AIDS? When is your local fire department (hopefully shirtless) going to accost you for loose change at every major intersection on Labor Day for AIDS research? If you take a look at childhood leukemia, the survival rates have increased exponentially over the last decade or so. No, not a cure...yet. The distinction, here, is that the public sector and non-profits are heavily involved in finding cures for other diseases (leukemia/lymphoma, breast cancer, MD, MS to name but a few). The Gates Foundation aside (which really focuses more on prevention), where is the well organized NGO for HIV/AIDS? Perhaps there are no conspiracy theories at work, here, AMT87, but astounding profits can certainly be considered as a dis-incentive for big pharma to invest R&D funding into a cure that won't bump its stock price up a 1/4 percent.
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    Apr 28, 2008 2:46 AM GMT
    1969er saidThere are lots of scientists and researchers in those companies. Even if you think the pharmaceutical companies are lagging in discovering a cure, you're really talking about the top, greedy fat-cat executives of the companies, I presume.
    Those actually working on the front lines are more likely to be the scientific, honest, ethical sort of people that wouldn't allow something like that.


    and it is too bad they have to answer to those executives!!!!
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    Apr 28, 2008 2:48 AM GMT
    While it might not be that these companies are avoiding cures, I might suggest that there isn't enough emphasis being placed on prevention.
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    Apr 28, 2008 2:49 AM GMT
    SDtrainer saidWhile it might not be that these companies are avoiding cures, I might suggest that there isn't enough emphasis being placed on prevention.

    I disagree. It seems that all of the emphasis is on prevention, but not a cure or even a vaccine.
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    Apr 28, 2008 3:11 AM GMT
    quote]
    I disagree. It seems that all of the emphasis is on prevention, but not a cure or even a vaccine.[/quote]

    I'd say the focus is more on management, which keeps those dollars coming in (and this is with regard to all ailments, not just HIV). The companies talk about prevention, but only half-heartedly. I do agree with your other points with regard to the tremendous profits being made with pharmaceutical sales and such. The bottom line is that these companies must appease shareholders and have to improve sales in order to stay in business. Big Pharma is Big Business and their biggest concern is profit.
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    Apr 28, 2008 3:21 AM GMT
    When you say "prevention" I am assuming you are refering to the development of a preventative vaccination.

    Yeah...that would be extremely cost ineffective for these companies (in the long run), but it would also be very difficult to develop a viable vaccine that could protect people from the several different strains.

    HIV mutates very easily
  • OptimusMatt

    Posts: 1124

    Apr 28, 2008 3:29 AM GMT
    I study the HIV virus in my spare time. Sort of a side project...if I can come up with something for a thesis then I'll take it, lol.

    One thing you should consider is that there is money in a cure, but not in a vaccine. If you can cure an illness without granting immunity to the illness your profit margins will still decrease, but they will still exist, because people are still getting sick. There is DEFINITELY money in a cure.

    Also, HIV isn't a really complex virus. I mean, it's a virus so yeah it's complex, but it only has like, 8 or 9 genes, as compared to the herpes virus which has 32.

    Most treatments target RT (reverse transcriptase) because it's (so far) the most effective treatment. But RT can handle some large variations so it's really a limited method of attack. That's why HAART came into existence.


    Also, a few years ago a drug was created that targeted the protein 'spoke' that litters the HIV viron and is the primary means of host recognition and fusion of the two membranes. However, GP120 (the part of the spoke that recognizes the CD4 protein) has 5 'variable loops' that kind of 'hide' the active site of the protein, making drug delivery difficult. The drug is on the market but due to problems with delivery methods it's not a big player and is typically only used in patients resistant to HAART.

    Presently, I think it's the viral protease that's the current focus of treatment research, but I could be wrong...it could be the integrase. (Side note - stuff that ends in 'ase' is an enzyme which is a protein. Integrase 'integrates' the viral genome into the host genome and proteases cut protein products to various degrees). I have a theory on how to attack the HIV virus, but I don't have my protein model built...and I'm just a lowly undergrad, so I definitely don't want to paint myself as doing something I haven't done yet. But I AM working towards a cure, and I'm not being paid for it. I'm pretty sure the researchers getting paid at universities and hospitals are working towards said cure as well.

    And, the long and short of my essay here is that there IS money in a cure - just not in a vaccine.

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    Apr 28, 2008 3:35 AM GMT
    orthojock saidWhen you say "prevention" I am assuming you are refering to the development of a preventative vaccination.

    Yeah...that would be extremely cost ineffective for these companies (in the long run), but it would also be very difficult to develop a viable vaccine that could protect people from the several different strains.

    HIV mutates very easily

    Not exactly. Many of these prevention programs focus upon safe sex and/or abstinence.
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    Apr 28, 2008 3:25 PM GMT
    Yes the drug companies are continuously working on medications to try and control the virus, even get rid of it.

    I am presently participating in a study that has added a new type of drug to my other 3 HIV medications in the hope that the virus can be killed off. I was allowed to participate in the study because I have been undetectable for more than four years and I am taking two or more anti-retroviral drugs. Stay tuned.
  • joeindallas

    Posts: 484

    Apr 29, 2008 9:07 PM GMT
    HIV is not an easy virus to catch, you have to work at it. The problem is that in 1980's HIV/AIDS was given sorta Civil Rights. It is a virus and it can not spread outside the body.

    Today, as a community we could stop 90% of transmission by merely asking. He a person does not know or is unwilling to tell their status shoudl be avoided sexually. WE HAVE THE POWER to stop this Virus at least in our Community. Knowledgable Pro action combined with Compassionate Reaction is the best responce to this virus
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    Apr 29, 2008 9:25 PM GMT
    Wysiwyg60 saidYes the drug companies are continuously working on medications to try and control the virus, even get rid of it.

    I am presently participating in a study that has added a new type of drug to my other 3 HIV medications in the hope that the virus can be killed off. I was allowed to participate in the study because I have been undetectable for more than four years and I am taking two or more anti-retroviral drugs. Stay tuned.


    which drugs are you taking!

    Sorry for being so nosy, but the research I am currently working utilizes subjects who are both seriously mentally ill and HIV+...it is an adherence study.

    How long have you been on your meds and is your CD4 count fairly stable?


    best of luck to you
  • dfrourke

    Posts: 1062

    Apr 30, 2008 6:13 AM GMT

    The original sentiment is a perfectly valid opinion...however, I don't believe a cure is going to be found in a pharmaceutical company...there are tons of universities doing research on this virus...typically academia takes charge of this area...and I think this is where the major break throughs are coming through...

    - David
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    May 01, 2008 4:59 PM GMT
    orthojock said[quote][cite]Wysiwyg60 said[/cite]Yes the drug companies are continuously working on medications to try and control the virus, even get rid of it.

    I am presently participating in a study that has added a new type of drug to my other 3 HIV medications in the hope that the virus can be killed off. I was allowed to participate in the study because I have been undetectable for more than four years and I am taking two or more anti-retroviral drugs. Stay tuned.


    which drugs are you taking!

    Sorry for being so nosy, but the research I am currently working utilizes subjects who are both seriously mentally ill and HIV+...it is an adherence study.

    How long have you been on your meds and is your CD4 count fairly stable?


    best of luck to you[/quote]

    The new drug is called isentress. It is an integrase inhibitor (new type of drug). It was approved in Nov. 2007 by the FDA.

    I already take Sustiva, Abacavir and 3TC. I have been taking anti-HIV meds since about November 1995. I have been undetectable for so long I have actually never received a number for my viral load. My CD-4 counts were only 168 at their lowest (Fall 1995), but are now 720.

    The study lasts 64 weeks, with half the participants on a placebo and half on the drug. I strongly suspect I am on the drug because of certain side effects (I initially did not pay attention to what the side effects were so I would not be influenced if I was taking the placebo).

    On May 6th I go for my next round of blood-letting. The nurse indicated they are taking up to 14 vials from me. Good thing I don't mind needles or the sight of blood!

    Thanks for your best wishes Orthojock, support from my family, friends and the gay community helps my mental health.
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    Jul 14, 2008 2:55 AM GMT
    I posted this on another thread, but I think it bears repeating here. I am addressing this to those who don't think there's a link between Treatment and Revenue vs an outright cure. I have AIDS.

    I am on the triple cocktail called Atripla. It's a once-a-day pill that has literally saved my life. It costs $1,200 for a one-month supply here in the Good Ol' US of A. That's over $16,000 per year.

    In Sao Paulo, Brazil, the generic version of this drug is... drum roll, please...

    $30 American per month.

    The same drug in most of Africa is $15 American.

    The drug companies in the U.S. DON'T want to cure us. They want to keep us paying (or the government paying) for this drug so the CEO's and shareholders can fatten their wallets on the backs of the sick. We Americans are subsidising low-cost funding of this drug for the rest of the world. I don't want anyone to have to deal with this illness, but at the same time, charity begins at home. We need to do something to expose the greed these drug companies are practicing at the expense of our lives.