Ron Woodroof fought for the right to use non-FDA approved drugs as a means of treatment after he was diagnosed with HIV in the 1980s. As a result, he began distributing experimental drugs to AIDS patients who were unable to acquire them at hospitals. Woodroof’s legacy lives on in the 2013 film, “Dallas Buyers Club,” directed by Jean-Marc Vallée.
The film opens with Woodroof’s diagnosis; he’s given 30 days to live. Thinking he’s a homosexual, his friends and coworkers ostracize him. When Woodroof finally seeks treatment, he is put on AZT, the only FDA-approved drug in America at the time, but this only worsens his condition. Woodroof eventually travels to Mexico to find help, and there he’s treated with ddC and peptide T, drugs not approved by the FDA.
After three months on these new drugs, Woodroof’s condition improves and it occurs to him that he can make money smuggling ddC and peptide T into America for other HIV patients. He teams up with Rayon, an HIV positive trans woman, who helps Woodroof get inside the gay community. Together, Ron and Rayon form the Dallas Buyers Club, which provides the non-approved drugs to HIV patients at a price. The club becomes very successful, but is short-lived, as the FDA is constantly trying to find ways to shut them down and make it harder for Woodroof to sell his own drugs.
Woodroof attempts to sue the FDA, seeking the right to take peptide T, which at this point has been proven to be a non-toxic drug. Although he loses the court case, it is stated at the end of the film that Woodroof was eventually able to take peptide T for his own personal use up until his death. He was also one of the main reasons that hospitals in America would eventually reduce the dosage of AZT it would administer to its patients after the drug was found to be toxic.
Dallas Buyers Club is based on a true story about what can happen to American patients when their health care system is fraught with bureaucratic roadblocks. The government spends more than 50 per cent of all health care dollars and costs have been driven up by the FDA’s actions and deprived Americans of much-needed treatments.