Medicine: Drugs From The Underground

AIDS patients are demanding -- and getting -- unproven potions

As the AIDS epidemic progresses, the disease is doing more than snuffing out individual lives. The virus is attacking the all-important system the U.S. uses to test new drugs. Under pressure from AIDS activists, the Food and Drug Administration announced last week that it would allow wider use of two experimental drugs before rigorous clinical trials have conclusively established the value of these medications. AIDS patients hailed the decision, but it set precedents that could weaken the scientific safeguards that have long protected the desperately ill from quack remedies.

Even as the FDA was easing its rules, AIDS sufferers were still...

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