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.
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ACCEPTABLE RISKSUser Review - Kirkus
An engrossing view from the trenches of the war on AIDS, by investigative reporter Kwitny (The Crimes of Patriots, 1987, etc.). Kwitny focuses on two combatants—both gay and HIV-negative- -against ... Read full review