Village Voice (06/23/92) Vol. 37, No. 25, P. 18
AIDS activists have been known to pressure drug companies, who reap large
profits from the epidemic, to divert some of the profits back into the
community, but companies' donations usually are not a form of altruism.
Pharmaceutical companies like Burroughs Wellcome, manufacturer of AZT,
are contributing money to AIDS organizations to fund projects which,
without their help, may have never happened. But now AIDS organizations
may be succumbing to the corporate forces. Test Positive Aware (TPA) in
Chicago has recently received 350,000 from Burroughs Wellcome to
nationally publicize its newsletter. Wellcome made guarantees not to
influence the content of the newsletter, but it is unclear what Wellcome
would do if the TPA published pieces urging readers to stop using AZT.
Also, pharmaceuticals are donating money to advocacy groups which could
influence a group's actions if they wanted to protest that company's
exorbitant pricing. ACT-UP vowed that any offer from a drug company
would be declined, even though ACT-UP/Golden Gate recently accepted
$2,000 from Wellcome in memory of an activist. Yet Treatment Action
Group's founder Peter Staley said, "We are at war and must use desperate
measures. If I have to take money from the devil to save my life and the
lives of my friends, I'll do it."