02 August 2005

A conservative axiom isn't quite so axiomatic

I've heard it from my conservative friends, over and over again — and I think I've been heard to say it on occasion — that people who are given something for free won't value it or will misuse it.

With some things, that might be true, but it turns out that when their lives are at stake, people are pretty careful with things they're given:
A new study from the University of Alberta reveals that people with HIV in developing countries do just as well on antiretroviral therapy (ART) programs as do people with HIV on ART programs in developed countries. It also shows that people with HIV who are given free ART drugs will do "significantly" better at fighting the disease compared to those who must pay for the drugs.
And what that says to me is the reason many people in the developing world aren't following their ART therapy properly is that they simply cannot afford the drugs. That means that all of the delays and roadblocks the pharmaceutical industry put in the way of supplying these drugs cheaply or free to developing countries killed even more people than has been thought.

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