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"New Merck HIV drug works in untreated patients"

Calgary Herald

Source: Calgary Herald

Published: 26 Oct 2021

Category: Pharmaceutical

Rating: (3½ stars)

what they said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A new class of HIV drugs can help control the virus in untreated patients, researchers reported on Sunday.

Merck and Co. hopes the findings will open a new market for its drug Isentress, the first drug on the market in a new class called integrase inhibitors.

Isentress worked slightly better than an older HIV drug called efavirenz in suppressing levels of the AIDS virus, the researchers told a meeting of the American Society of Microbiology and the Infectious Diseases Society of America...

The original article can be found at:

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 5 of 8
Availability of Treatment Not Applicable
Novelty of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Disease Mongering Satisfactory (?)
Treatment Options Satisfactory (?)
Costs of Treatment Not Applicable
Evidence Not Satisfactory (?)
Quantification of Benefits of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Sources of Information Satisfactory (?)
Relies on Press Release Not Applicable
Quantification of Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)

what we said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

Due to the preliminary nature of this report, several aspects of this story have been declared as 'not applicable.' Although not mentioned or explained, information about treatment availability and cost is not available before a drug hits the market. Having said that, there were some important points that were not mentioned in the report.The harms of this new drug were neither mentioned nor quantified, resulting in a significant reporting bias. In addition, details regarding the study design (i.e. how the patients were selected and whether this was a randomized control trial) were excluded from the article.

The report states that "the 500 patients [enrolled in the study] were also taking the HIV drugs tenofovir and emtricitabine." Readers were not made aware of any potential effects that these drugs might have on the actions of Isentress. Given only this article, readers would not know whether a cocktail of various drugs would be necessary to reap the benefits of Isentress As this new drug gains further ground and potentially hits the market, we hope that more information would be come available for individuals considering this treatment option and for all the readers of the Herald.

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