Drugs for AIDS: new ethical challenges
Does public access to essential drugs threaten individual property rights? Should life-saving drugs be treated as commodities or public goods? Two writers examine these and related questions when considering the controversy on patents and AIDS drugs. A number of concerns emerging from the HIV/AIDS epidemic are discussed in this issue of the Journal. Our editorial outlines challenges posed by the government’s announcement of free anti-retroviral therapy in selected states in the country. An article outlines some apprehensions regarding the HIV preventive vaccine trials proposed to be launched in India shortly. A surgeon with HIV describes how the profession treats even its own colleagues with the virus.
Are unethical medical practices driven by the need to make more money or is it more complex? A public health researcher argues that the importance of ethical practice assumes even greater significance in an unregulated health care system increasingly controlled by the market.
There is extensive documentation of the poor quality care provided in the government’s family planning programme. Reporting on a public interest litigation on sterilisation-related failures and complications, an activist describes a programme where women are coerced into being sterilised, treated without dignity, and suffer serious, sometimes fatal, complications.
Our case study describes a common occurrence in public hospitals-the difficult circumstances of patients and the choices that-doctors make.
Cover: Copyright WHO/P Virot