TO CALIFORNIA FORMULARYMedi-Cal, California's Medicaid program, is providingfull reimbursement coverage for Serono LaboratoriesInc.'s human growth hormone product, Serostim, for usein AIDS patients suffering from wasting.
It is the first product covered by Medi-Cal that is madeavailable through the FDA's treatment investigationalnew drug program, which is designed to provide access todrugs for life-threatening conditions although theyhaven't been approved by the FDA. Serono, of Norwell,Mass., is testing the growth hormone in Phase III trials inpatients with AIDS wasting.
Approved human growth hormone products _ such asthose from Eli Lilly and Co., of Indianapolis, andGenentech Inc., of South San Francisco, _ are notreimbursable for AIDS wasting under California's planbecause they have not been extensively tested in thatindication, said Peter George, a treatment advocate for thenon-profit support and service group, AIDS Project LosAngeles.
George said Serostim benefits patients by providing leanmuscle mass rather than the fatty body mass provided byother approved appetite-stimulation or weight-gainproducts. _ Jim Shrine
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