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Acceptable risks
Kwitny, Jonathan.
Personal Author:
Physical Description:
466 pages ; 25 cm
In this riveting story of two heroic men who changed government policy on experimental drugs for the dying, Jonathan Kwitny, one of America's foremost investigative journalists, delivers a hard-hitting indictment of the bureaucrats, doctors, scientists, and corporations that trade life for profit. In 1984, America became uneasily aware of a new disease known as acquired immuno-deficiency syndrome - AIDS. By the time it began to receive national media attention, thousands

had already died, and thousands more were infected. But the administration, the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, and the public were unprepared to deal with this mysterious and deadly epidemic. Two men, Jim Corti and Martin Delaney, undertook the fight against the powerful establishment and its outmoded laws and conventions. Corti was a medical nurse; Delaney, a successful corporate consultant. Both gay, they began helping their

HIV-positive friends to secure promising anti-AIDS drugs. Soon, the two were running a law-defying, worldwide drug smuggling ring, bringing hope and sometimes relief to the desperately ill, all the while fighting the drug companies, teaching hospitals, and government bureaucrats committed to preserving the status quo. In Acceptable Risks, Jonathan Kwitny brilliantly illuminates the complex human issues of Corti and Delaney's courageous guerrilla rebellion to force the

government to change its procedures for approving drugs not only for those affected by AIDS, but for all terminally ill patients whose health might be improved by or prolonged by drugs needlessly delayed under federal testing requirements. Kwitny shows how the medical community prevents the use of experimental drugs in order to protect research dollars and patents, even at the cost of patients' lives; how officials at the FDA impede or deny the use of drugs to protect

their power base; how major pharmaceutical companies manipulate federal policy to protect their profits; and how the media often distort information to support their own biases. Drawing on the extraordinary experiences of Corti and Delaney, crucial FDA hearings and internal policy disputes, and eye-opening, often shocking, interviews with the principal players, Kwitny addresses some of our nation's most serious health care problems and exposes a system that harmed those

it intended to help. He also vividly demonstrates what is exemplary about America: two citizens, at considerable risk and sacrifice, can take on a powerful government agency and, against all odds, succeed in changing its present - and future - policies.
Pub Date:
Poseidon Press, [1992]



Home Location
Material Type
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Central - Houston Public Library Adult Closed stacks - Ask at desk Closed stacks book 174.2 K98

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Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Kwitny traces eight years in the lives of AIDS medical activists Martin Delaney and Jim Corti. Both are persistent men, but seminary dropout and corporate educational consultant Delaney's main skill is bringing individuals and groups into cooperative activities, while nurse and artist Corti's is that of a detective, ferreting out drug supplies and suppliers throughout the world. Their major antagonists include Ellen Cooper, a traditional, research-oriented regulator while with the FDA (she now works for Syntex); Paul Volberding, the inflexible physician running the AIDS program at San Francisco General Hospital; and Gina Kolata, a science reporter who regularly missed the main points in her stories. The disastrous suramin, expensive (though governmentally blessed) AZT, ribavarin, isoprinosine, compound Q, and many other drugs weave in and out of Kwitny's fascinating, detailed, and lively documentation that, by means of many interviews and detailed notes, takes both sides of disputed points into account. Give Acceptable Risks a berth alongside Grmek's History of AIDS [BKL N 15 90] on the short shelf of necessary volumes on the history of AIDS. ~--William Beatty

Publisher's Weekly Review

Investigative journalist Kwitny (Endless Enemies) tells the story of two gay men who fought the AIDS epidemic and changed the way the Food and Drug Administation handles experimental drugs. Jim Corti, a medical nurse for AIDS Project Los Angeles whose lover died of the disease, launched a drug-smuggling operation, making runs to Touana, Tokyo and Europe to import unapproved antiAIDS drugs and manufacture them in the U.S. He worked with Martin Delaney, a San Francisco corporate consultant who in 1985 founded Project Inform, an AIDS education group which organized a community research project to assess the effectiveness of drugs. Kwitny courageously names mendacious, meddling bureaucrats, compromised research scientists, equivocating journalists and dedicated doctors. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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