Atlanta Journal-Constitution Features Opposing Opinion Pieces on AIDS Drug Industry
The United States' "support for the shortsighted pursuit of intellectual property protections by American pharmaceutical companies" will make it difficult for developing countries to obtain inexpensive generic antiretroviral drugs, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution editorial says. However, it is also important that pharmaceutical companies recoup the research and development costs needed to produce antiretroviral drugs, and protecting drug patents is "key to that support," the Journal-Constitution says. But in an epidemic that is "killing 8,000 people a day," the United States should be supporting policies that would increase access to antiretroviral drugs, the editorial concludes (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 12/5).
'Anti-Capitalist' Environment Biggest Threat to HIV/AIDS Patients
The "hostile, anti-capitalist environment confronting the pharmaceutical industry ... represents the biggest threat to public health in poor countries and HIV patients worldwide," Abner Mason, executive director of the AIDS Responsibility Project and chair of the International Committee for the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV and AIDS, writes in an opposing opinion piece in the Journal-Constitution. The drug industry is under "tremendous pressure" to cut prices for drugs -- especially antiretrovirals -- and has had to make "significant concessions" on its intellectual property rights, making it a "wonder HIV/AIDS drugs even exist," Mason says, concluding that AIDS advocates and legislators should "be concerned about erosion of the investment climate for America's drug industry" and should "be doing everything they can to protect a health care system the world expects to dream up the second generation of lifesaving HIV/AIDS medicines" (Mason, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 12/5).