RECENT ACTIONS by federal health officials deliver on promises made in Montreal at the Fifth International Conference on Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) to speed up development, clinical trials, and availability of drugs to combat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease.
A month ago, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved for marketing ganciclovir, produced by Syntex Corporation, Palo Alto, Calif, which is used to treat cytomegalovirus retinitis. The agency also gave the status of "investigational new drug for treatment"—thus allowing expanded premarket distribution—to recombinant human erythropoietin used to treat AIDS-associated anemia, produced by Ortho Pharmaceutical Corporation, Raritan, NJ. Ortho has announced that the company will provide the drug free during testing to patients who are anemic either as a result of HIV infection or because of the effects of taking zidovudine, or AZT. Two weeks earlier, the FDA approved for marketing aerosolized pentamidine (made by Lyphomed Inc, Rosemont, Ill) as prophylaxis