A preliminary report questioning the efficacy of zidovudine (AZT) in the early treatment of Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) implicitly questions the expedited process by which AZT was approved. While the public historically has influenced drug policy, recent changes were brought about by activists threatening civil insurrection to expand access to unapproved treatments. Turner's social conflict theory is used to explain the recent structural changes in the drug approval process in terms of the overt struggle for control over access to potentially life-saving drugs. This passion for change is shown to be a result of the stigma of the disease itself. Challenging the hegemony of the FDA was a mechanism by which activists coped with the imputed stigma of AIDS. While controversial, activism has increased access to new drugs and will have a far-reaching impact on how future drugs are approved.