Following a meeting between the medical committee of the National AIDS Council and the representatives of associations belonging to the TRT5 collective (Actions Traitements, Act-up, Aides, Arcat-Sida, Sida Info Services, Vaincre le Sida, Nova dona, Sol En Si), the National AIDS Council wishes to express its gravest concern regarding the situation of individuals suffering from AIDS for whom treatment is ineffective.
Failure of treatment is generally defined as the situation in which an individual develops resistance to one or more antiretroviral drugs. The ineffectiveness of treatment is defined as the situation in which none of the various antiretroviral drugs available is able to curb the progression of the disease.
At the present time, the number of such individuals (for whom treatment is ineffective or has failed) is estimated at several thousand. Moreover, there is every reason to fear that the number will continue to increase in the coming months if the public authorities and all those involved do not undertake firm, appropriate steps. While it is aware of the scientific uncertainties regarding the new molecules currently being developed by pharmaceutical companies, the National AIDS Council considers the situation of such individuals to be intolerable.
The availability of ABT 378, a molecule developed by the drug company Abbott, already planned, represents a step in the right direction but is not enough, given that sufferers for whom previous treatment has failed due to drug resistance can only hope to continue their fight against the infection if they can be treated with this drug in combination with other new molecules.
In addition, it is important that the new drugs should be offered at an early stage to patients in order to avoid further increases in the numbers of cases of resistance to treatment.
Total lack or shortage of new drugs is intolerable for the patients involved, and should no longer be considered acceptable.
The National AIDS Council therefore calls upon the General Health Directorate, the National AIDS Research Agency and the Agence française de sécurité sanitaire des produits de santé [French Food and Drug Safety Agency] to meet under the aegis of the Secretary of State for Health to study together the earliest possible solution to this crisis, notably by obtaining pharmaceutical companies’ commitment to supplying the new antiretroviral molecules in sufficient quantity, and by encouraging cross-over trials of such drugs.