Expensive drugs, sick patients, bribery--not a good mix. Even worse that it comes along at the same time that there are investigations of embezzlement at a Florida ASO.
I hope that's the end of it.
Scanning the news for stories about AIDS brings mostly stories about the epidemic overseas. There are occasional stories that pop up about a large fundraiser somewhere. Sometimes there's a press story about the allocation of Ryan White funds in a particular area. Of course, there is a slow but steady stream of reports about this or that stage in the progress of drug research.
AIDS is, however, mostly old news in the U.S. It takes a scandal of some sort to really get press attention. The Florida story has been showing up for several days now in various news reports. Then along comes the Serono story. All we need is for enterprising reporters to start looking for more dirt to lose what little focus there is on the needs of people living with HIV and AIDS in this country.
If that sounds like I'm missing the point that both of these stories are about criminal behavior, I'm not. But I'm just as upset about the fact that these folks had to practice their criminal behavior on AIDS. If they had been bribing docs to prescribe some cancer medication or embezzling funds from a diabetes organization, the impact on patients would be less hurtful.
HIV is already a "scandalous" disease. Anytime we go to the Texas Legislature to ask for more funds for HIV, there's always some legislator who wants to bring up "responsibility." There was a bit of a struggle in the Senate Finance Committee that included a hint of that issue. We have made it (so far so good) through both the House and the Senate now with our request for $15 million in new funds for HIV--and only have to watch out for the Conference Committee and the Governor's line item veto. We don't need any additional stories to feed the "scandal beast" and give anyone any ideas about cutting that funding.
So, I'm just saying, I hope that's the end of it.