The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare will offer the new AIDS medication Crixivan to eligible Idaho patients starting Feb. 17.
Merck & Co.’s protease inhibitor was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last March after a record-fast review.
When combined with older medicines, protease inhibitors have reduced substantially the level of the AIDS virus in patients and have improved their health at least temporarily.
The annual cost of the medication is about $4,500 per individual. The state agency said Idaho will pay for the drug using federal funds.
An advisory committee of physicians with expertise in the treatment of AIDS and HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, helped develop the medical eligibility criteria for Idaho patients. The Health and Welfare Department said the guidelines would be used to ensure that all patients applying for state-supplied medication are evaluated in the same manner by their physicians.
Besides medical eligibility, income guidelines will be used to determine eligibility to receive Crixivan, the agency said.
The sign-up period will begin this Saturday.
There are 498 people with AIDS in Idaho, according to the state agency, including 56 who have received medication from the Idaho AIDS Drug Assistance Program.
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