AIDS: Open market or triumvirate?

Triple combination therapy with a protease inhibitor, Glaxo-Wellcome's AZT zidovudine and BioChem Pharma Inc.'s Epivir 3TC has quickly become the standard of care for AIDS patients. The question for a growing group of new therapies is how they will find a place in the market in addition to this triumvirate.

Two obvious routes for market entry are the addition of a new drug to existing treatment regimens or the replacement of one of the triple combination components with a better alternative. As AIDS patients move increasingly towards combination therapy, the hurdle for AIDS drugs to show additional benefit becomes higher.