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level with me
Aug 16, 2002

Dr Boyle,

We all hear stories about the medical community being in bed with the drug industry, and this keeping the herbal or holistic approaches to combatting HIV on the margins, but I am not a fan of conspiracy theories.

You look like an honest person, and you care about people, I know this just by reading your responses on this site.

Is everything really being done to investigate herbal or holistic benefits in the fight against HIV? Is there really equal time spent on each approach (antiretroviral vs. holistic)?

Or does the answer lie in my very phrasing of the question itself - equal TIME. Time equalling MONEY. I know time is money, and money buys time, is this the reality of the situation. Or are specialists like yourself crusading to find the best treatment possible - cutting through the red tape when necessary?

Level with me. Please. Do I need to be somewhat of my own doctor? Are you guys really not puppets of the drug companies? I don't say this as an accusation, I really just want some reassurance.

Thank you if you decide to answer this.

Response from Dr. Boyle

OK, I'll level with you. I, and every other doctor I know, want nothing more than to see that our patients do well. To accomplish this, we follow studies and other information that may indicate what therapies are likely to be helpful. We don't ask for or get anything from drug companies to do this, but we do appreciate their efforts in doing research and development, which costs huge amounts of money. As far as the puppet thing, I think it is the opposite, i.e., the drug companies are actually the puppets of the medical community: They spend a lot of time trying to figure out what drugs we need or want, and then try to provide them since they know that if they don't they're going to be out of business. Regarding holistic and alternative therapies, with a few exceptions, there is virtually no evidence that these are beneficial. In some cases, this may be due to studies that show that they don't work. In other cases, it may be due to a lack of funds to do the necessary research. Regardless, most of these therapies lack proof regarding effectiveness. Therefore, I and most other physicians encourage patients to use these if they like, but not as an alternative to more proven therapies and not if it costs an exorbitant amount of money, as some do.



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