AIDS activists are immune!
Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/10/30
AIDS Activists Issue Grades to Drug Companies, by Duff Wilson; 10 September 2009
“Merck won the highest grade and Abbott Laboratories flunked in a report card being issued Thursday by a prominent group of AIDS treatment activists after a yearlong study of the actions of nine major pharmaceutical companies to address the contagion in the United States. . . . the report card graded the drug makers overall with a below-average C-minus and recommended improvements. . . . The companies were scored on research and development, pricing, patient assistance programs, marketing, and community relations. . . .
The coalition was to some degree biting the hand that feeds it. It receives all of its financing from drug companies, mostly for activists to travel to meetings with them. The executive director, Edward T. Rewolinski, disclosed specific amounts to The New York Times for the last two years. ‘None of our members has the wherewithal to afford this activity,’ he said.
‘People like that would never be influenced by the flow of money,’ Jennifer Flynn, managing director of an unrelated AIDS group, Health GAP, in New York, said.
The top fund provider was Gilead with $100,000, followed by Pfizer, $63,000; Bristol-Myers Squibb, $50,000; Tibotec, $45,000; Merck, $15,000; and Boehringer, $5,000. Abbott gave no money.
Mr. Huff said the grading group was insulated from financing requests. . . . [Bob Huff is antiretroviral treatment director of the Treatment Action Group in New York and a board member of the rating group.]
The coalition was formed in 2001 partly to coordinate contacts with drug companies instead of letting the industry decide whom to invite to meetings” [emphasis added].
Financial conflicts of interest, we’re asked to believe, have no influence on AIDS activists. They’re immune.
We’re not told, however, how they acquired that immunity, which is normally reserved for the gods.
As to the matter of biting the hand that feeds, social activists of various stripes trade on the fact that political correctness has made certain forms of blackmail openly acceptable. Once a group has attained the status of victim-hood, it is not only free to indulge in hyperbolic criticism of mainstream institutions but is actually rewarded for it.
In the present instance, the drug companies profit more than handsomely from the activists’ incessant propaganda for more funds for AIDS treatment. Criticisms like the present ones, that they should do more to develop yet more antiretroviral drugs, are a valuable basis for claiming the need for even higher profits in order to support even more research. If it weren’t all so blatantly open and obvious, one might be tempted to talk of a conspiracy between drug companies and AIDS activists.
This entry was posted on 2009/10/30 at 2:16 pm and is filed under antiretroviral drugs, Funds for HIV/AIDS, HIV absurdities, uncritical media. Tagged: AIDS activists and conflicts of interest, Bob Huff, Duff Wilson, Edward T. Rewolinski, Jennifer Flynn. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.