[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: <eyebeam><blast> pressure from the social sector

Sonya Rapoport wrote:

“The positive results from the social sector that Joy Garnett refers to
are largely the public perception of the AIDS epidemic. Social pressure
has provided emotional and physical care. It has had little influence on
the direction of the research effort to provide an effective drug or
treatment. Pharmaceutical companies were investing their own money and
resources, motivated by profit, for protease inhibitors before any
activist pressure. The private sector is responsible for the creation,
discovery and development of effective treatment. Du Pont, an early
investigator dropped out, leaving Roche, Merck, Abbott and Agouron with
viable products.

“Social pressure is responsible for the government regulation of the
cost but you can't lower the cost if there is no drug.”

Hi Sonya.In addition to compassionate patient care, which you mention,
the overall impact of the AIDS epidemic--social pressure being not the
least of it-- has served to revolutionize availability of pre-approved
(read: UNapproved) and experimental therapies--both AIDS and cancer
patients (specifically) can now order drugs directly from overseas
without encountering the previous terrors of illegality; social
pressure  has also helped serve to push through  legislation to
"fast-track" all investigational new therapies (for AIDS as well as
cancer) through the legendarily slow and laborious FDA system--a
revolution indeed. Funding does hinge on social pressure. That is why so
much ad money and effort are spent manipulating the public's perception
of certain diseases--the big obvious one is cancer-- and treatments.
Every Spring, when the American Cancer Society is fundraising, watch the
papers for corresponding pitches for "new" cancer therapies (usually
tired old ones, resurrected and renamed; like the most recent Tamoxofen
flurry) I'd agree with you here: there ain't no drug.

But unlike the the cancer story, whose etiology is long and pretty much
devoid of any kind of truly organized social activism, the AIDS story
did result in positive change, however small it might seem in view of
the overwhelming hideousness of the whole pharmaceutical business. In
the AIDS story, most of the positive change--and there has been change--
resulted from social pressure.

The problem as I see it is not, at this stage, the lack of effective
treatment for AIDS: the drugs ARE there. The real problem is expense and
availability of life-saving drugs for those who live on the edge of or
outside the system (eg: the uninsured). The real problem may not even be
here, in North America, anymore: India and Southeast Asia, particularly
Burma, are the centers of the new, as yet barely dealt-with explosions.
But that's another story for another day...


a critical forum for artistic practice in the network
texts are the property of individual authors
to unsubscribe, send email to eyebeam@list.thing.net
with the following single line in the message body:
unsubscribe eyebeam-list
information and archive at http://www.eyebeam.org
Eyebeam Atelier/X Art Foundation http://www.blast.org