Dallas Buyer’s Club
Ronald Woodroof, a Dallas native, was diagnosed with HIV in 1986, and
was not allowed to participate in the AZT drug trials. He began
researching the disease, and found various drugs and other antivirals
were available in other countries, which had not been approved by the
FDA for distribution in the U.S. Because of the long wait time for drug
approvals, and the short life expectancy after being diagnosed with HIV,
Woodroof decided to take action by creating the Dallas Buyer’s Club, in 1988.
Though AZT was approved as the sole treatment of HIV by then,
there were many who could not afford the medication or worried about
AZT’s long-term effectiveness because HIV quickly became resistant to
AZT. The Dallas Buyer’s Club provided imported and smuggled experimental
treatments to those with HIV/AIDS, which had little evidence showing
they were effective against the disease.
After Ron Woodroof’s death in 1992, the Dallas Buyer’s Club continued under
new management and a new name, Dallas Buyer’s Club Alternatives.
In 1996, a new method of treatment was developed and approved for the
treatment of HIV/AIDS, known as highly-active antiretroviral therapy
(HAART). HAART utilizes small doses of AZT along with other drugs that
hamper HIV’s resistance to AZT. This method of treatment has allowed
people to live with this disease in a way that is manageable, but the
estimated lifetime cost of this treatment, according to the CDC, is
$379,668 (in 2010 dollars).