Feature

Charlatans who prey on AIDS patients.

The week's news at a glance.

Uganda

EditorialThe Monitor

An Iranian quack has been preying on desperate Ugandans, said the Kampala Monitor in an editorial. For two years, Sheikh Allagholi Elahi was allowed to peddle a useless herbal concoction in this country as a miracle cure for HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. This week the National Drug Authority concluded that the product, which Elahi calls Khomeini, consists mostly of olive oil and honey and has no palliative effect whatsoever. The question Ugandans are asking is, what took so long? “How could these drugs be allowed to come into the country, get promoted unhindered on radio and other media, and get dispensed to unsuspecting patients when their safety, quality, and efficacy was unverified?” The obvious answer is corruption. At $1,600 for a three-week regimen, Khomeini is the most expensive drug ever marketed here for HIV. Elahi was realizing enormous profits, and one can only conclude that he shared them with someone at the NDA. The government needs to reform the Drug Authority to “ensure that the public is not duped” by any more snake-oil salesmen.

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