[Ip-health] New York Times: William Haddad, Crusader for Generic Drugs, Dies at 91

Asia Russell asia at healthgap.org
Wed May 6 07:25:18 PDT 2020

I will miss Bill Haddad very much. Among his many skills, I recall how
he could transform any meeting or gathering into an opportunity to win
real victories that mattered to people without access to
medicines--even if it meant making comfortable people uncomfortable.
We need more of that right now.


On Wed, May 6, 2020 at 5:03 PM Thiru Balasubramaniam
<thiru at keionline.org> wrote:
> https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/05/nyregion/william-haddad-dead.html
> William Haddad, Crusader for Generic Drugs, Dies at 91
> As head of an industry group, he fought Big Pharma to make treatments for
> AIDS and other diseases more affordable. And that was just one hat he wore.
> By Sam Roberts
> May 5, 2020
> William Haddad, a civic evangelist who helped streamline the sale of
> cheaper generic drugs to American consumers and pare the price of AIDS
> treatment globally to a dollar a day, died on April 30 at his home in
> Poughquag, N.Y., in the Hudson Valley. He was 91.
> His daughter Lulie Haddad said the cause was congestive heart failure.
> Armed with evidence he had amassed as director of the New York State
> Assembly’s Office of Oversight and Analysis, Mr. Haddad persuaded the
> Legislature and Gov. Hugh L. Carey in 1974 to let doctors prescribe
> equivalent generic drugs in place of higher-priced brand names.
> Taking his campaign nationwide as chairman of what was then called the
> Generic Pharmaceutical Association, an industry group, and his own drug
> company, Mr. Haddad was instrumental in shepherding landmark legislation in
> 1984 that removed longstanding legal and regulatory hurdles to the
> manufacture and sale of generic drugs.
> The law, sponsored by Senator Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah, and
> Representative Henry Waxman, Democrat of California, restored patent
> protection to encourage pharmaceutical companies to invest in research and
> development of new products while making it easier for makers of generic
> drugs to get them approved by federal regulators who had already licensed
> their brand-name equivalents.
> In 2001, Mr. Haddad worked with Cipla, a drug company in India, to make way
> for the use of generic AIDS medicines and to reduce the price of lifesaving
> drug cocktails to $350 a year per patient, from as much as $15,000.
> “As a volunteer he worked with Cipla to remove the barriers to the use of
> generic AIDS medicines,” Dr. Yusuf K. Hamied, chairman of Cipla, wrote in
> an email. “Between him, myself and Cipla, we jointly pioneered H.I.V./AIDS
> relief in Africa in the year 2001, which I genuinely believe saved million
> of lives over the years.”
> Mr. Haddad never fulfilled his early ambition to become a nuclear
> physicist, lost his only campaign for elective office when he failed to
> unseat Representative Leonard Farbstein on Manhattan’s West Side, and
> admitted to being bamboozled by the charisma of John DeLorean, the Pontiac
> GTO designer whose own car company went bankrupt.
> But Mr. Haddad left an imprint in almost every other phase of his
> peripatetic career. As a reporter, he and his colleagues were among the
> first critics to dent the armor of New York’s omnipotent power broker,
> Robert Moses.
> Fresh from working on John F. Kennedy’s 1960 presidential campaign, he
> helped launch the Peace Corps with its first director, R. Sargent Shriver.
> He helped elect Mario M. Cuomo governor of New York in 1982 with the title
> of campaign manager, reporting to Mr. Cuomo’s son Andrew, now the state’s
> governor.
> Mr. Haddad conducted opposition research for Robert F. Kennedy when he
> challenged the liberal bona fides of Kenneth L. Keating, his Republican
> rival in the 1964 race for United States Senate in New York, and for John
> V. Lindsay, who was running for mayor against Abraham D. Beame the
> following year.
> William Frederick Haddad was born on July 25, 1928, in Charlotte, N.C., to
> Esther (Nowack) Haddad, a Jewish immigrant from Russia, and Charles Haddad,
> an Egyptian Jew.
> When his parents divorced during the Depression, Bill moved to Miami with
> his father, who ran an Arabic restaurant. In 1943, when he was 15, he faked
> his way into the Merchant Marine and served as a radio operator on an
> ammunition ship in the Pacific.
> Mr. Haddad graduated from St. Petersburg Junior College in Florida,
> received a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University in 1954, and went to
> work for Senator Estes Kefauver, Democrat of Tennessee, whom he had
> encountered while working on campaigns for the Seafarers International
> Union.
> In the 1960s, he served as associate director and inspector general of the
> Peace Corps and inspector general of the federal Office of Economic
> Opportunity, which oversaw the nation’s anti-poverty programs.
> As a reporter for The New York Post (where he won a Polk Award in 1958 and
> shared another one in 1959 for exposing the city’s neglect of slums) and
> later The Herald Tribune (which was owned by his father-in-law, John Hay
> Whitney), Mr. Haddad uncovered a worldwide cartel that inflated the price
> of the antibiotic tetracycline. As a legislative watchdog in Albany, he
> revealed that major banks had sold off their holdings of municipal
> securities before their refusal to lend New York more money drove the city
> to the brink of bankruptcy in the mid-1970s.
> His two marriages, to Kate Roosevelt — a granddaughter of President
> Franklin D. Roosevelt and the adopted daughter of Mr. Whitney — and to
> Noreen Walsh, ended in divorce.
> In addition to Lulie Haddad, he is survived by two other daughters from his
> first marriage, Laura Whitney-Thomas and Andrea Haddad; two children from
> his second marriage, Amanda Reina and Robert Haddad; a stepson, Steve
> Walsh; 13 grandchildren; and two great-grandsons.
> Mr. Haddad’s fans and foes characterized him as indefatigable, ambitious
> and stubbornly bare-faced, and said that in his earnestness he sometimes
> bit off more than he could chew.
> His inability to say no, Nora Ephron wrote in New York Magazine in 1968,
> meant that at one point he “had to find a ghostwriter to ghostwrite a book
> which he’d promised to ghostwrite himself.” (Among the books he wrote
> himself was “Hard Driving: My Years With John Delorean” in 1985).
> When he ran for Congress in 1964, he once recalled, “I ran with an Arab
> name in a Jewish district. My opponents had a picture of me superimposed on
> a camel, and I didn’t handle it well. I said if I had to be Jewish to win,
> it wasn’t worth winning.” He lost.
> As a newly minted member of the city’s Board of Education in 1968, Mr.
> Haddad, in a candid comment on the quality of the school system, declared
> in a television interview: “I wouldn’t put my kids in the public school
> system. I’d hock my suit, my car and my shoes to get them into a decent
> school.” (In reality he would not have had to hock anything; he understated
> his finances running a company that monitored poverty programs.)
> “I’m a provocateur,” he said. “I learned that from Estes Kefauver. I used
> to ask him, ‘Why do you get into all these battles?’ and he would say,
> ‘Never let one go by.’ I wish I could. I wish I could learn to keep my
> mouth shut. But I can’t.”
> Mr. Haddad played so many roles that to some he was a Zelig-like enigma.
> Along the way, he started The Manhattan Tribune, a weekly newspaper, in
> 1968 and recruited Roy Innis, the chairman of the Congress of Racial
> Equality, as a co-publisher — to provide a biracial perspective. In the New
> York magazine profile, Mr. Innis described their relationship as “symbiotic
> pragmatic.” Then he paused.
> “What did you say this article was going to be about?” Mr. Innis asked the
> writer.
> “Haddad, who he is, what he wants.”
> “Well,” Mr. Innis replied, “when you find out, let me know.”
> Sam Roberts, an obituaries reporter, was previously The Times’s urban
> affairs correspondent and is the host of “The New York Times Close Up,” a
> weekly news and interview program on CUNY-TV. @samrob12
> --
> Thiru Balasubramaniam
> Geneva Representative
> Knowledge Ecology International
> 41 22 791 6727
> thiru at keionline.org
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Asia Russell
Executive Director, Health GAP (Global Access Project)
asia at healthgap.org | healthgap.org
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