FDA OKs Drug to Block Infection After Marrow Transplant

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -

U.S. regulators have approved the first drug to prevent life-threatening infections in adults after a bone marrow transplant.

The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved sales of Merck and Co.’s Prevymix (PREH’-vih-miss) to prevent infections with cytomegalovirus (sy-toe-MEG’-a-low-vy-rus), a common virus. It doesn’t sicken most people, but strikes at least half of transplant patients, who are particularly vulnerable to infection. The virus can damage the eyes, lungs and other organs, trigger pneumonia and even kill.

Kenilworth, New Jersey-based Merck, says the drug will cost $195 to $270 per day for 100 days.

Each year, about 8,500 Americans receive transplants of blood-forming cells from bone marrow to treat blood cancers or other blood disorders. Currently, they get antiviral therapy if they develop an infection, rather than a preventive treatment.

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