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Health Corner
By Julene Tripp Weaver

A Quick Review of Buyer's Clubs

History of buyer's clubs

In the early days of AIDS drugs for treatments of opportunistic infections or anti-virals were not readily available in this country. There were many reasons for the slow response time of the medical and scientific communities. It has only been in the past two years, with the Protease Inhibitors, that drug approval time has been speeded up; there has been much political pressure to change this. However, there were drugs available in other countries that would treat opportunistic infections and individuals could travel to Europe and bring back medications for their treatment. Some politically active people living with AIDS set up "buyer's clubs" to purchase these drugs and make them available. The idea was access to medications at a lower cost. For the most part the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) overlooked these clubs because of the political pressure from groups such as ACT UP. Also there is a loophole in the law that allows importation of medications from other countries for those who are terminally ill. This helped the buyer's clubs be able to continue to exist and serve the HIV/AIDS populations. The people who started these groups could not afford to wait for the main stream to approve drugs. They took their health care into their own hands, and used the informal support of this large group of other PWA's who have been experimenting with a whole variety of medications and alternative treatments.

Advantages of Buyers Clubs
Disadvantages of Buyers Clubs When you first contact a buyer's club request their product and price list. Some buyer's clubs require a yearly membership fee, some have a sliding scale for membership, some will offer discounts dependent on your need. Several require that you sign a release form for their files. Many buyer's clubs are 501c3 status, or they may be under the umbrella of an AIDS organization, so you can claim your membership or donation as a tax exemption. There are some independent organizations that are not officially buyer's clubs but have arisen out of the same needs.

Once you have called some buyer's clubs and received their information packages you can decide which group suits your needs. To help cut down on shipping costs use one that carries a wide array of choices. All the buyer's clubs listed will accept credit card orders over the phone, or you can mail a check or money order. Many will provide fast delivery options for a extra fee. I have included toll free numbers, if they have one, their local number and address, their email address and web site when available. Babes is currently setting up a web site and has a computer trainer available, so you can set up an appointment to learn how to use these services and access this information through cyber space!

Partial list of buyer's clubs:

Direct AIDS Action Information Research, DAAIR,
toll free number for people outside of New York state: 888-951-LIFE. Address: 31 E 30th St, Ste 2A New York City, their local number is 212-725-6994. Email address: Web site: They send out an information package that takes several weeks to receive. Their package is a 150 page Membership Outreach Pack (MOP) that is loaded with information and well worth having. They have a membership fee that is on a sliding scale of $5 up to $25, their prices are reasonable. They have financial need discounts. Once a member you'll receive even more information. The person who started DAAIR is Fred Bingham and he developed a "triple herbal" combination using SPV-30, Bitter Melon, Curcumin and Glycyrrhizinate Forte

Boston Buyer's Club, toll free number is: 800-435-5586. Address: 29 Stanhope St, Boston, MA 02116 (located at the Boston Living Center), their local number is 617-266-2223. They have a $5 yearly membership fee. They were one of the first groups to carry SPV-30, and are connected with David Stokes. David initiated clinical trials on SPV-30 in the United States. Unfortunately they do not have the other ingredients for the triple herbal formula, they explained they do not have room to stock additional products but they are able to do special orders.

Being Alive, they have only a local number 602-265-2437. Address: 111 East Camelback Road, Phoenix, AZ 85012-1609. Email address: They have everything in the triple herbal formula at good prices, tell them if you are interested in this formula because they have not updated their list and will write in the prices. It is also noted that they specialize in products for gastrointestinal problems. They have a membership fee of $10 per year, and a signed release form is required with the first order. They ship your first order free. This is a large group that has a library, publishes a newsletter and is collaborates with the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine to do alternative research. The contact person is Mark Hoffman.

AIDS Treatment Initiatives, ATI, they have only a local number 404-874-4845. Address: 828 Peachtree St. NW, Ste. 210, Atlanta, GA 30308. Web page: They have a membership fee of $25 per year, are 501c3, and some items they sell require a prescription. They work with an organization called the AIDS Survival Project which has an extensive library and a treatment resource specialist. They have a good list with information about what each product contains and its possible benefits.

Denver Buyer's Club, PWA Coalition Colorado, they only have a local number 303-329-9379. Address: 1290 Williams, Denver, CO 80218 or PO Box 300339, Denver, CO 80203. Email address: They have no membership fee and their prices are good; they do not accept credit cards so a check must be sent to them with the order. Their hours are Monday 11 - 1, and Friday 4 - 6.

Healing Alternative Foundation, they have only a local number 415-626-4053 for information, once a member you can use their twenty-four hour toll-free line to order with a credit card: 800-219-2233. Address: 1748 Market St., Ste. 205, San Francisco, CA 94102-5806. They have an annual membership of $1 - $25 sliding scale. They have a large library and have a history of advocacy for access to drugs. Call Tuesday through Saturday after 12 noon. Their prices are good, but there is not a lot of information about the products. They do not have all the exact products for the triple herbal formula.

Embrace Life, their number is: 800-448-1170. Address: 2070-C Wharf Road, Capitola, CA 95010, their local number is 408-464-7444. Email address: This was started by a woman named Juliette who is a scientist and a researcher who became infected with HIV. This group works with medical doctor Jon Kaiser, the San Francisco Bay area doctor who wrote the book Immune Power. He suggests a certain protocol of supplements and they have this available in addition to a wide array of choices; their prices are only slightly lower than full cost and she doesn't call their organization a buyer's club. She tells me they have been having success with a double herbal formula of Cat's Claw and Olive Leaf Extract. Juliette is aware of the triple herbal formula and will have all the right ingredients available soon.

This is a short history and list of buyer's clubs. If you already purchase vitamins it may be worth while to use them for their wholesale prices. These organizations are there to serve you so don't hesitate to use them.