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N.Y. mayor appoints Woodrow Myers
By JOHN SHANAHAN
NEW YORK (AP)-Calling Dr.
Woodrow A. Myers "one of the rising stars in the field of public
health in this country" Mayor David Dinkins went against strong
opposition and named him the city's health commissioner.
Dinkins said Jan. 19he appointed Myers. Indiana state Health
Commissioner, for his overall
qualifications and not because of
his AIDS policies vehemently opposed by gay rights activists and
AIDS researcher Dr. Mathilde
Dinkins announced the appointment of Myers, 35, as city health
commissioner just one day after
several supporters on a search
committee—including Krim, who
cofounded the American Foundation on AIDS Research—withdrew their hacking of Myers.
Myers supports Indiana laws to
keep government lists of those infected with the AIDS virus and to
quarantine people who knowingly
The Indiana official has said he
would not impose such policies in
New York and would support the
policies of Dinkins, who does not
favor quarantines or government
"I'm not the insensitive. Iirutish
fiend that some people have tried
to make me out to be," Myers said.
Myers underscored that, saying
"quarantine is not an effective
He added: "1 don't remember ever saying quarantine was an effective strategy" while he was in In-
Dinkins said he was appointing
Myers because, "I am satisfied
that his philosophy is mine."
Despite the controversial AIDS
policies in Indiana. Myers has a
national reputation as an AIDS
expert. He is credited with encouraging Indiana doctors to treat
Myers also made headlines by
resigning from his post as vice
chairperson of the President's
Commission on HIV under Ronald Reagan to protest inadequacies with the agency.
On Jan. 18, Krim and several
other members of the search committee withdrew support from
him. Krim cited "profound differences" between Myers' views and
"desirable public health policies."
Dinkins had previously said he
wouldn't appoint anyone over
Krim's wishes. But shortly before
he announced Myers' appointment, Krim issued a statement
stressing her "full support" for his
There have been 23.000 AIDS
eases in New York and 12,000 have
died. At least 200.000 New Yorkers, and perhaps nearly twice that
many, have been infected with the
By comparison, the number of
AIDS cases in Indiana was 656.
Protests continued Jan. 19, with
about 75 members ofthe AIDS Co
alition to Unleash Power picketing in front of City Hall, chanting,
'"No testing. No quarantine. No
Myers. No way." There were no ar-
"We're here to fight for the lives
of all New Yorkers, most especially those with HIV and those with
AIDS, those who Dr. Myers wishes
to lock up and those on whom Mr.
Dinkins appears to be on the verge
of turning his back," said a demonstrator. Mark Harrington.
After the appointment was
made, ACT UP issued a statement
saying Dinkins had "betrayed"
Indiana law requires the reporting by name of any person who
tests positive for the human immunodeficiency virus.
The names of infected people are
collected and stored in confidential files at the state Board of
Health. The information is used to
contact sex partners determined
at risk and to target slate prevention efforts.
Telephone & Regulators approve drug that could help fight AIDS, cancer
GROTON, Conn. (AP)—Federal
regulators have approved a new
anti-fungal agent that medical experts say has applications for patients with AIDS, cancer and other disorders and will also help with
Fluconazole, or Diflucan, was
developed by Pfizer Inc. in Groton
and will be manufactured there.
Doctors say it is different from oth
er anti-fungal drugs because it can
be taken orally, is non-toxic and
has few side effects.
"The experience of people who
have failed in ail other forms of
therapy has been quite good" with
Diflucan, said Dr. Frank Bia. an
infectious disease specialist at
Yale-New Haven Hospital who
has been conducting clinical trials. '"Several of our patients have
been turned around by this drug."
Acquired immune deficiency
syndrome suppresses the immune
system, making those who have it
vulnerable to infections, including
fungal infections. Many cancer
therapies also compromise the im-
mune system, and after an organ
transplant, the immune system is
suppressed wilh drugs so the body
does not reject the organ.
Amphoteracin-B, one of the
main anti-fungal drugs now in
use. has gained a nickname
among those who must use it as
"amphoterrible" because of its
toxic effects. It also makes many
patients sick, doctors said.
Dr. Patrick A. Robinson, senior
associate director at Pfizer Central Research, said Amphoteracin
has been in use nearly two decades, but a substitute has long
"When I was doing my training
in infectious diseases I was administering Amphoteracin-B, and
I said. There's got to be something
bettei;'" Robinson said. "Now, 15
years later. I'm involved with
bringing it along. It's a pretty
Amphoteracin must be taken
intravenously, but Diflucan can be
taken either intravenously or orally. One of the characteristics of the
rlruB is that it can puss the blood-
brain barrier and act even on cen-
Brian McC.l.v on. a spokesperson
for Pfizer, said the company will
not release cost data on the drug
for at least a week, but Dr. Craig
Saxton, senior vice president of
Pfizer Central Research, said the
drug will not be expensive.
McGlynn said the company will
announce later details of a program to help get the drug to people
who cannot afford it.
McGlynn said wholesalers
should be stocked with the drug by
Under the terms of its approval
by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the drug can be used to
treat cryptoeoccal meningitis,
which affects 10 percent to 15 percent of people with AIDS, and systemic candidiasis, which affects
almost all people with AIDS.
Saxton said Pfizer has had an
anti-fungal research effort under
way for more than 10 years. The
drug was discovered in 1981 by a
Pfizer scientist at the company's
research facility in Sandwich,
The drug was introduced overseas, hut three years ago the FDA
asked Pfizer to look at it for use in
this country against life-threatening fungal infections that affect
An estimated 4000 people took
Diflucan for seven days or more
during the most recent clinical trials, and another 24(10 received free
doses under the "compassionate
use" doctrine of the FDA, which
allows use of an unapproved drug
when other therapies have failed.
Bia said his tests at Yale produced none ofthe side effects tile
company warned him to watch for,
and he believes in most cases
Diflucan will replace
'"Amphoteracin is not a pleasant
drug to take, nor is it convenient,
and it doesn't always work," Bia
Pfizer, which last year
Procardia XL. a drug used to
hypertension and angina
proved, had sales of $5.7 billi.
'University system should not kick ROTC off campuses1
By MICHAEL C. BUELOW
MADISON, Wis. (AP)-The head
of the University of Wisconsin
System said Monday the Reserve
Officers' Training Corps should
not be kicked off campus to pressure the military to drop its ban
against gay people,
UW System President Kenneth
Shaw told a news conference he'll
recommend the policy-setting
Board of Regents reaffirm its 1987
resolution that urges the university to lobby Congress to drop the
ban through national legislation.
The regents were scheduled lo
consider a proposal backed by faculty and student groups to expel
ROTC from the campus in 1993 if
the military does not change its
policy to deny gay people from enlisting.
"I have to believe that change is
more likely to occur this way, than
if we were to opt out," Shaw said.
"This is a tactical question,"
Shaw said the university should
oppose the military's policy on homosexual but should not hurt its
efforts by kicking ROTC off campus without working "within the
He said threatening to drop the
programs would reduce the UW's
effectiveness in educating the public about why such a policy is
wrong and weaken ils ability U,
advocate fair treatment of gays
Shaw said he would not rule out
the option of kicking the ROTC off
campus if lobbying efforts to
change the ban failed.
"I have an open mind about
which is the best way to influence
public policy. I think this is an is
sue the board will be interested in
hearing about quite often. Shaw
The announcement came about
six weeks after the faculty at UW-
Madison voted in a rare advisory
election to recommend that ROTC
be expelled from campus if the military did not end ils ban on gays
In making his decision, Shaw
said considered a state law that
prohibits discrimination on the
basis of sexual orientation and a
new UW policy that sanctions students and faculty for discriminatory remarks or acts against wom-
Karlier Monday, Shaw received
a letter from UW-Madison Chancellor Donna Shalala, who has
talked to UW faculty, students,
state and national legislators and
other universities about the issue
Ms. Shalala said the discussion
raised a question of '"whether or
not to sever this campus' ROTC
contracts would, in the end, hinder
our effectiveness in working with
Congress and the military on this
Ms. Shalala began looking at
the issue after the UW Faculty
Senate, an advisory group, and
the student government approved
resolutions in December that
urged the regents to sever ROTC
program contracts with the federal government if the ban was not
dropped by May 199!i.
Joseph Elder, a UW sociology
and Southeast Asian studies professor who has led faculty opposition to the ban, said he would have
favored retaining a timetable to
get rid of ROTC programs if lobbying against the ban is not effective
"One always wants discrimination to end as quickly as possible. I
would prefer to see this tactic and
a deadline," Elder said. "We (the
faculty! certainly won't let them
(UW administration) forget about
Elder also said he believed the
military's discrimination has not
been resolved quickly because
many people do not consider homosexuals legitimate minorities
whose rights deserve to be protected.
Doctor: Normal life expectancy for patients in '90s
NEW YORK (AP|-People with
AIDS should reach normal life expectancy during the 1990s as treatments become avaihible to make
AIDS a manageable disease, a
leading government researcher
"I have a good deal of confidence ... lhat we can look forward
to the 1990s as the kind of a decade
where that goal can be realized,"
said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of
the national program to test and
evaluate new- anti-AIDS drugs. He
spoke at the New York-Italy Medical Symposium in New York.
Fauci is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda,
Md„ one ofthe National Institutes
of Health. The institute operates a
national AIDS drug-testing program in which some 10,000 people
are subjects in experimental tests
at 46 medical centers across the
Learning to manage and control
AIDS is not the same as curing it,
Fauci said. The treatments of the
1990s probably will have to be continued for life in people infected
with the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV. that causes
AIDS, he said.
Fauci spid he based his optimis
tic prediction for the 1990s on the
growing understanding of the
workings of the AIDS virus, the
success in AIDS treatment
achieved so far, and a philosophical shift in the way government
makes new drugs available.
Until now, AIDS drugs have
been developed largely by screening available substances for possible anti-viral activity, he said. The
increasing understanding of how
the virus infects cells, kills them
and reproduces is leading to new
drugs aimed directly at each of
those steps in the virus' growth,
"Already there are several drugs
ready to go into (human) clinical
trials that have been specifically
tailored to HIV;' Fauci said.
Fauci said researchers scored
several soccesses against AIDS
during the 1980s.
First, they improved care of the
sick. In 1985, less than 40 percent
of people diagnosed with AIDS
survived 18 months. By 1987, 60
percent lived at least that long after diagnosis. Fauci said.
Second, researchers discovered
that treatment could be helpful in
people who are infected with HIV
but have not yet become sick. For
example, drugs to protect against
Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia,
an often fatal AIDS complication,
can now sharply reduce its frequency.
AZT, the current mainstay of
treatment in people sick with
AIDS, has been shown to delay
significantly the progression or
onset of symptoms in people infected with HIV but not yet sick,
There are now "hundreds of
thousands who can benefit from
early intervention," he said.
Third, the government has decided to relax its grip on experimental drugs when the drugs offer
hope to people whose lives are
threatened and who have few oth-
referringto the so-called
"parallel track" program, in
which promising experimental
drugs are made available to patients who need them before experiments have conclusively determined their effectiveness,
"This is a philosophical change
that needs to be integrated into our
way of thinking," he said.
It means that the government
will not be able to guarantee theef-
fectiveness—or the safety—of
those drugs, Fauci said.
The responsibility for accepting
the increased risks associated
with such drugs "is going to shift
to the individuals taking the
drugs." he said.