US Officials knew of AIDS drugs risk before sending drugs to Africa.
Weeks before President Bush announced a plan to
protect African babies from AIDS, top U.S. health officials were warned
that research on the key drug was flawed and may have underreported
thousands of severe reactions including deaths, government documents
show. The 2002 warnings about the drug, nevirapine, were serious enough
to suspend testing for more than a year, let Uganda’s government know
of the dangers and prompt the drug’s maker to pull its request for
permission to use the medicine to protect newborns in the United
States. But the National Institutes of Health, the government’s
premiere health research agency, chose not to inform the White House as
it scrambled to keep its experts’ concerns from scuttling the use of
nevirapine in Africa as a cheap solution, according to documents
obtained by The Associated Press.