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[e-drug] What motivates drug donations? (cont'd)


  • From: Mark Raijmakers <mark.raijmakers@wemos.nl>
  • Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 05:07:18 -0500 (EST)

E-drug: What motivates drug donations? (cont'd)
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I don't want to go into the details of the discussions on whether US
tax rules stimulate inappropriate drug donations or not. Please let me
make some remarks in the form of questions that will put things more
in perspective?

First I'd like to repeat and stress Scott Hillstrom's question, to which I
wholeheartedly agree:

1. Will your members [of the PQMD] disclose their drug donation and
tax records?

E-druggers might remember Scott Hillstrom's message from January
(also copied to http://www.drugdonations.org/eng/eng_nieuws7.html);
he writes: "To his credit, Cong. Dogget is concerned about this issue
and may be in a position to obtain reforms in the law that would tend
to reduce harmful donations." Also PQMD is working with
congressman Dole on this issue. Therefore my question is now to both
Hillstrom and Russo:

2. Why are you fighting each other when you both obviously should
be collaborating in efforts to integrate the inter-agency guidelines for
drug donations in US tax law?

And a question to James Russo:

3. Why is it that US industry/PVOs has to 'defend' itself from
'allegations' as you frase it?

I want to correct some things that are being read in between the lines
in James Russo's message and more or less reflected in his quote:
"Last March, WHO staff kindly gave PQMD the opportunity to meet
with the interagency group that drafted the 1996 Guidelines. We
came to that meeting with specific suggestions, and they were largely
accommodated -- whereupon we endorsed the Guidelines."

4. What would have happened if the "specific suggestions"(*) by
PQMD during that meeting were not accommodated?
5. Would PQMD not have endorsed the guidelines?

Furthermore James Russo writes in his message: "PQMD helped
re-draft the 1999 Guidelines and endorsed them, last April." The fact
is, Mr. Russo, that US industry for a very long time before 1999 has
obstructed the process of implementation of the guidelines for
probably the simple reason that many US donations did not comply
with them. I think, seen past experiences with inappropriate
donations, the essential drugs community has a right to be very
suspicious. I also object that in between the lines of you message you
hold PQMD partly responsible for re-drafting the guidelines. The fact is
that 155 persons/organisations helped re-drafting the guidelines and
15 organisations are sponsors of the guidelines, under which there is
no industry organisation.

I am sure James Russo agrees with Scott Hillstrom when Hillstrom
writes: " ... that the U.S. pharmaceutical industry makes a crucial
contribution to the health care needs of the developing world by the
appropriate contributions that it makes". But, please gentlemen, let's
put things more in perspective. US industry is producing many drugs
that are unaffordable to poorer people in this world. I only have to
refer to the HIV/AIDS drugs discussions on this mailing list. Let us be
very clear: donations do not solve the problem of access to essential
drugs. The donations discussions however mask the real problem of
lack of access and gives an unfair realm of 'good practices' to US
industry.

P.S. James Russo is wrong when he states "Many believe that the
people responsible for inappropriate donations have been identified,
but in fact surprisingly little has been done to actually pinpoint (and
educate) them." He is clearly talking about the US because in Western
Europe for some years now there is active campaigning on improving
the quality of drug donations. In the US however there is still a long
way to go.

(*) These "specific suggestions" were surely directed towards
softening guideline number 6 allowing more flexibility with one year
expiry.

Best greetings,

Mark Raijmakers
Programme co-ordinator pharmaceuticals
Wemos Foundation
P.O. Box 1693
1000 BR Amsterdam - The Netherlands
Tel.+31-20-4.688.388 / fax 4.686.008
http://www.wemos.nl
Web-site on drug donations in seven languages:
http://www.drugdonations.org

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