Letter published in The Independent

By John Ruhland

The Independent (SA) 22 Dec. 2001

It is incredible to me, living in a country with a buffoon, Baby Bush, as president, that you undermine the important work of your president, Thabo Mbeki. He has a laudable, analytical approach to many important issues regarding AIDS. As a physician, it has amazed me how "scientists" are doing very unscientific "studies" supporting the use of drugs in which they have a vested interest. I would recommend doing some investigation into how physicians learn about treatments. The majority of their information comes from drug reps.

We are told that the number of people with "drug-resistant AIDS" is increasing. The trend for the loss of drug effectiveness and the increase of serious side effects for the cocktails is following the trend followed previously by AZT. Two major factors are the cumulative toxicity and the loss of placebo benefit experienced by people given a new lease on life by the announcement of a new drug. The new drug placebo effect is clearly wearing off in the U.S., and the pharmaceutical companies are looking for new markets. Africa is a real prize for them.

Please be more critical of scientific research and less critical of those criticising the research.

Dr. John Ruhland
Seattle, WA