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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
Group Will Import Unapproved Drugs for Treating AIDS
Kolata, Gina
March 6, 1989
New York Times (03/06/89), P. A1

The People With AIDS Health Group plans to test the limits of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) policy that allows people with life-threatening illnesses to import drugs that have been approved elsewhere. The group's executive director, Derek Hodel, said hundreds to thousands of people with AIDS could take part in the program. Although one of many "buyer's clubs" for people with AIDS, the health group is the first to plan to buy prescription drugs. Other groups have purchased over-the-counter drugs for their members. The health group's plan is to link the physicians of AIDS patients here with doctors abroad who are willing to write prescriptions for treatments the FDA has yet to judge safe and effective. Doctors in Japan, England, France, and West Germany already have agreed to take part, Hodel says, and the group is seeking participants from other countries. FDA head Frank Young said his agency would "have to check into this a lot more." Young added, "The drugs must be known to be safe and they must not be promoted in a fradulent manner. We want to look into this on a case-by-case basis." Physicians say there about a half dozen drugs approved in other countries that U.S. AIDS patients want to try.