Critics Respond to Institute for Healthcare CEO Opinion PieceInstitute for Healthcare CEO Donald Berwick's June 26 Washington Post op-ed, "We All Have AIDS," in which he compared the disease to the Holocaust and called for drug makers to provide antiretroviral medicines at no cost for the infected, led to several critical opinion pieces. Below are two of these responses.
- "Trivializing the Horror": In his Washington Times column, Jonah Goldberg says, "The fact is that a disease -- any disease -- is not the Holocaust. The problem with such analogies ... is a profound moral one. The essential fact of the Holocaust isn't that large numbers of people died and the world did little to stop it. It's that large numbers of people were murdered and the world did little to stop it. ... AIDS, however, does not murder people. ... The moral context is completely and unalterably different" (Goldberg, Washington Times, 7/1).
- "Fighting AIDS: Innovation Requires Investment": In a letter to the Washington Post, Elliot Millenson, founder and former CEO of Direct Access Diagnostics, writes that Berwick "ignores the role of business in a capitalist society. Business undertakes innovation and invention in the pursuit of profit. Profits fund further research and development and result in new and better products." Millenson adds, "Wars are won by having better logistics, better weapons, better people and better intelligence than the enemy." He explains that Direct Access Diagnostics developed the first home test for AIDS, and with the profits received from that product, Millenson provided funding to the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative. He concludes, "Innovation requires investment. It may hurt at first, but capitalism does work if given the opportunity" (Millenson, Washington Post, 7/2).