FIRE IN THE BLOOD movie, Now on Netflix

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Terry

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In this much-needed critique of Big Pharma (narrated by William Hurt), activists and intellectuals expose how Western pharmaceutical companies, in pursuit of higher profits, systematically block access to life-saving AIDS drugs in the global south.


Since 1996, drug companies have abused patent laws to prohibit the sale of affordable generic drugs, leading to the unnecessary deaths of millions of people in developing countries.
Fire in the Blood documents the inspiring work and impressive headway activist groups have made in the struggle against these corporate practices, and interviewees like Bill Clinton, Bishop Desmond Tutu and New York Times journalist Donald G. McNeil Jr. all share insights about the need to keep to fighting.

(Dylan Mohan Gray, United Kingdom/India, 2013, 87 min)


Sponsored by the Western Regional International Health Conference, organized by the Global Health Resource Center at the University of Washington


Special introduction from
James Love, Director of Knowledge Ecology International!



Updated 3/26/2016
I talked to my brother James P. Love, and there is talk of this being made into a movie.
Some big name actors are being talked about.
 
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Terry

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James Packard ‘Jamie’ Love is the founder and director of Knowledge Ecology International (KEI), a Washington- and Geneva-based non-governmental organization concerned with intellectual property- and access to knowledge issues, as well as a key contributor to Fire in the Blood.

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George W. Bush, provided money for the program.

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Yusuf Hamied the president of Cipla, a provider of many of the branded drugs we take in the US

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Bill Clinton

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Desmond Tutu on the right.

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Terry

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Fire In The Blood, a much-needed critique of Big Pharma

Sue and I went to this movie Saturday night.
It was a sell out on Saturday, so they added Sunday night at 7:00 in Seattle.

It's a historical account of the problems in third world countries to get life saving medications. Mainly, how to get generic drugs to in a cost effective way to save lives and prevent further infections.
Included in the film are Desmond Tutu, Bill Clinton and what he does with his foundation, clips of a George Bush state of the union address,mentioning his new effort to help the problem while he was president, James Love, who brought the pricing issue up and what it would cost to save millions of lives. James P Love went to India and talked to Yusuf Hamied the president of Cipla, a provider of many of the branded drugs we take in the US, he found that a $15,000 drug treatment for a year could be gotten for $350 a year. Cipro's president offered the product in those third world countries at his cost.
Because of that generosity, those in treatment went from 8,000 a year, to 8,000,000 a year. They also found that in Africa, they were much better at following the medical treatment regime than those of us in the Western world. The fear had been by many skeptics that they wouldn't follow instructions, but in studies, they were better.
In Western Europe, incomes can vary by 10 times depending on country. A one price fits all, leaves a lot of people, by a mistake of birth, in a country that can't afford health care and the needed drug saving drugs. James Love, and others, are trying to level the playing field, and reduce, what should I call this? Genocide of millions world wide, while we ignore the human condition that exists in those parts of the world?
In the United States, in a similar way, with our aging population, not everyone will be able to afford live saving drugs.
For breast cancer, a single treatment can be $9,000, and you go through many of these treatments if you have cancer.
There is a thought, that there should be a different model for awarding profit and income than the current formula.
How much profit is enough in an industry that could be seen as life saving, but allows itself to ignore entire populations that are suffering and dying.
I make good money as a plumber, but I don't price my product at the cost of your life. Often times, the pricing is done with the idea of, what will they pay to continue living; not what it cost. As mentioned above, a $15,000 a year treatment, when the right questions were asked, dropped to $350.

What can you do?
Bringing the movie to your home town or school would be a nice start

 
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Terry

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Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers explains: Nexavar cancer drug is for "western patients who can afford it.â€


Today health advocates were shocked by the direct and appalling statements attributed to Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers. Published in Businessweek and written by Bloomberg reporter Ketaki Gokhale, a news story about disputes over drug patents (link here) ended with an account of the India compulsory license on the cancer drug Nexavar, and practically exploded. Dekker is quoted as saying Bayer did not intend the cancer drug to be sold to cancer patients in India, adding “We developed it for western patients who can afford it.â€

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Terry; My wife and I are in home care providers for a young woman with type one diabetes. She is barely 30 years old and has the physical condition of a 90 year old. She struggles with infections to the point that most anti-biotics no longer work for her. Last year she stepped on a tack which led to an infection that eventually caused the doctors to amputate all of the toes on her left foot but before it came to that she was going to the infectious care unit every other day for intravenous injections of an anti-biotic that cost $ 16,000 per visit and that was every other day for a month. Nobody can tell me that that antibiotic is worth sixteen grand a pop. Big Pharma is and has been out of control for way too long.
 

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DemocracyNow.org - The new documentary, "Fire in the Blood," examines how millions have died from AIDS because big pharmaceutical companies and the United States have refused to allow developing nations to import life-saving generic drugs.
 
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https://vimeo.com/ondemand/fireinblood

One of the most internationally-acclaimed Indian films of recent years (and the longest-running nonfiction film in the history of Indian cinema), FIRE IN THE BLOOD is an intricate tale of 'medicine, monopoly and malice' which tells the story of how Western pharmaceutical companies and governments aggressively blocked access to low-cost AIDS drugs for the countries of Africa and the global south in the years after 1996 - causing ten million or more unnecessary deaths - and the improbable group of people who decided to fight back.
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Terry

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Big Pharma's worst nightmare.

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jan/26/big-pharmas-worst-nightmare

“Watching Jamie with government officials who are sceptical is a thing of intellectual beauty, because there really is nobody who can rebut him when he gets under way,” said Nader in September on his radio show in southern California. “Jamie is a global hero. He has saved many, many thousands of lives by beating Big Pharma and reducing the cost of drugs for poor people overseas.”


A nice read for those interesting in medicine, drug pricing and healthcare in general.

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jan/26/big-pharmas-worst-nightmare
 

Terry

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Head of NGO fighting for better access to medicine

The key idea behind the battle James Love has been waging for the past four decades on five continents is that mass producing medicines is cheap. The real cost lies in the research and clinical trials behind the discovery and production of each new drug. But if society were to find a way to reward public laboratories and private companies for research and innovation, and then allow any company to mass produce the drug, this would significantly reduce the cost and bring huge benefits to the public health system worldwide.

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DIYorBust

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Head of NGO fighting for better access to medicine

The key idea behind the battle James Love has been waging for the past four decades on five continents is that mass producing medicines is cheap. The real cost lies in the research and clinical trials behind the discovery and production of each new drug. But if society were to find a way to reward public laboratories and private companies for research and innovation, and then allow any company to mass produce the drug, this would significantly reduce the cost and bring huge benefits to the public health system worldwide.

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I think this is the bottom line. When you do a plumbing job, you know how to do it right, you know tricks of the trade that took a lifetime to learn, and you wouldn't want to work for minimum wage. But if a company spent decades researching a drug, it now costs little to produce, it seems crazy to restrict the supply when people need it. A solution could be for governments to buy the rights to produce in their country it for a lump sum. Forcing companies to give it away cheap would certainly discourage them from spending billions developing future drugs
However, how would it be decided which drugs a government should pay for? It's not a simple issue.
 

James Love

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Terry; My wife and I are in home care providers for a young woman with type one diabetes. She is barely 30 years old and has the physical condition of a 90 year old. She struggles with infections to the point that most anti-biotics no longer work for her. Last year she stepped on a tack which led to an infection that eventually caused the doctors to amputate all of the toes on her left foot but before it came to that she was going to the infectious care unit every other day for intravenous injections of an anti-biotic that cost $ 16,000 per visit and that was every other day for a month. Nobody can tell me that that antibiotic is worth sixteen grand a pop. Big Pharma is and has been out of control for way too long.

What the $16,000 antibiotic drug?
 

James Love

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I think this is the bottom line. When you do a plumbing job, you know how to do it right, you know tricks of the trade that took a lifetime to learn, and you wouldn't want to work for minimum wage. But if a company spent decades researching a drug, it now costs little to produce, it seems crazy to restrict the supply when people need it. A solution could be for governments to buy the rights to produce in their country it for a lump sum. Forcing companies to give it away cheap would certainly discourage them from spending billions developing future drugs
However, how would it be decided which drugs a government should pay for? It's not a simple issue.

Your suggestion, about making a drug into a generic, so it is cheap and accessible, but providing a reward for the developer, is a good one. There are in fact proposals to do this, by providing very large market entry rewards for new drugs, without granting monopolies. The most important proposals involve larger innovation inducement prize (reward) funds, that drug developers benefit from, regardless of which company actually sells the drug. The amount of the reward would be determined in stages, once a year for the first ten years on the market, based upon real world evidence of how good the drug is. This is a competitive model, where companies that develop new drugs compete against each other for a share of the fund, the better the drug, the bigger the share. More on this here: https://delinkage.org Note that Kamala Harris is a co-sponsor of a bill to study the feasibility to this reform.
 

Terry

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remembering #WilliamHurt #FireInTheBlood

William Hurt was obviously an incredible actor whose iconic, unconventional performances will never be forgotten and had long since secured his place in the pantheon.
He was also a highly intelligent, eloquent, worldly and empathetic man with a strong sense of social justice and a brilliant wit. He grew up in many far-flung places where his American diplomat father was posted and had an immense curiosity about the world along with an instinctive awareness that common-held perceptions about places white people tend to take little interest in (i.e., the “global south”) are usually false and infused with racism and deep-seated hostility.
William took an unusual interest in public health, and it was through his association with Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders that I met him. We spoke about Fire in the Blood, which I was making at the time, and he very generously offered to lend his legendary voice to the film as its narrator. He was extremely keen to do substantial background reading to understand the subject better, strenuously refused any form of payment and even rearranged his shooting schedule to record his narration for the film.
At our New York premiere (photo above) he spoke with immense eloquence about his feelings for the film and the story it told, moving many in the audience to tears. William Hurt was considered by many to be a difficult, even abrasive person, but I found him to be very caring, deeply committed to being a force for good, exceptionally thoughtful, considerate and humane. I have no doubt his involvement played a significant part in the impact Fire in the Blood had, and continues to have today.
I’ve never mentioned it publicly before, but William was in the midst of very aggressive cancer treatment when we worked together. It made him profoundly ill and completely unable to sleep. Nonetheless he arrived early for our sessions, often with a list of questions he was curious to know more about for context, and did numerous extra takes in order to make sure everything was as good as it possibly could be. In spite of utter exhaustion and extreme discomfort, he soldiered on and made extraordinary efforts to give me (and more importantly the film) his very best. He worried that I might not be satisfied, particularly since the strength and resonance of his voice was affected by his treatment. It was evident in all our interactions that he was totally devoted to his craft and that being a consummate professional was of paramount importance to him.
It was an honour to know William Hurt and a pleasure to have spent time in his company.
He suffered for a long time. May he finally find peace, may we always remember how great he was at what he did and everything he gave us

Dylan Mohan Gray

 
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