‘Put Cure Ahead of Politics,’ PACHA International Committee Chair Says in Boston Herald Opinion Piece
With the pharmaceutical industry under "tremendous pressure" to lower prices for antiretroviral drugs in developing countries and with U.S. lawmakers looking to "import Canadian price controls," drug makers are facing an "increasingly hostile, anti-capitalist environment," which does not lend itself to pursuing HIV/AIDS research, Abner Mason, executive director of the AIDS Responsibility Project and chair of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV and AIDS International Committee, writes in a Boston Herald opinion piece. Research and development for HIV/AIDS treatments has become a "high-risk venture," even with the "global proportion of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the attention brought to this growing calamity," Mason says. The "assault" on the U.S. pharmaceutical industry represents the "biggest threat to public health in poor countries and HIV patients worldwide," Mason says, asking, "Amid slashing its prices, price controls in major markets such as Canada and chronic violations of property rights, why would the industry continue to spend millions on HIV/AIDS research?" According to Mason, "it won't," adding that the United States should be "doing everything possible to protect a health care system the world expects to dream up the second generation of life-saving HIV/AIDS medicines." Mason calls for the United States to "pu[t] a cure ahead of politics" because it is "vital" to keep "intact the free market structure that rewards U.S. drug firms for their ingenuity." Mason concludes, "After all," large U.S. drug makers "do not have to spend money on HIV/AIDS research -- they choose to," and "[u]nfortunately, money-losing ventures in America rarely last long" (Mason, Boston Herald, 11/1).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.