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Opinion: Change and Rumors of Change

By Gregg Gonsalves

October 2001

Congress has wisely chosen to not allow the advent of a recession and the unexpected billions of dollars needed to respond to the events of September 11th to imperil current levels of funding for biomedical research. Yet in this time of upheaval and adjustment it has become critical that we evaluate our priorities for basic and applied AIDS research and start planning for a new era.

Help Basic Research Get Out of the Box

Protect the Public Health with Longer-Term Research

AIDS activists worked successfully to expedite drug approvals to get new agents to market at speeds unheard of twenty years ago. Now the industry should give back something to the community by endowing a fund to conduct rigorous post-marketing surveillance studies of their drugs by independent researchers or clinical trials networks.

Industry has no incentive to study its drugs after FDA approval and the NIH clinical trials networks have been timid about conducting meaningful studies that industry won't support. Someone has to invest in studying the long-term effects of these drugs and public funding should pay for these public health studies. Alternatively, industry can work hand in hand with the community to get Congress to authorize and fund the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) and its Centers for Education and Research on Therapeutics to conduct such studies.

This is a short list, but it's a start. Let's take advantage of this time of change to make changes that matter.

Back to the GMHC Treatment Issues October 2001 contents page.

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