PRI’s ‘Marketplace’ Examines AIDS Drug MarketingPRI's "Marketplace" yesterday reported on pharmaceutical companies' marketing of AIDS drugs at the XIV International AIDS Conference in Barcelona, Spain. "Marketplace" reports that some HIV/AIDS activists are concerned that the pharmaceutical companies sponsoring the conference are "exploiting" the event for "their own commercial purposes" and view the conference as a "marketing opportunity." VaxGen announced Monday "what looked at first sight as a major breakthrough": a potential AIDS vaccine. The announcement was greeted with hope despite "reasons for caution and concern," such as human trials continuing through next year and the fact that, "even if it does work," the vaccine would not provide protection against the strain of HIV carried by 70% of those infected with the virus. Dr. John Moore, professor of microbiology and immunology at Cornell University's Weill Medical College, "criticized" VaxGen for "hijacking" the conference with a "premature commercial announcement." Moore said, "I think also public confidence will take a hit. If a vaccine is talked up and doesn't work, the next time a vaccine comes along, is the public going to believe the scientific community? Or is the public going to say that we're all crying wolf?"
The full segment is available in RealPlayer Audio online (Beard, "Marketplace," PRI, 7/9). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.