Fire in the Blood

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“Shocking documentary evidence of the way big Western pharmaceutical companies blocked access to low-cost anti-Aids drugs in Africa.” — Kate Muir, The Times

Year: 2012
Country: India
Running time: 85 mins

Producer/Editor: Dylan Mohan Gray
Photography: Jay J. Odedra, Keshav Prakash
Sound: Kunal Sharma
Music: Ashutosh Phatak
In English, Hindi, Xhosa and Manipuri, with English subtitles

With: Zackie Achmat, Desmond Tutu, Bill Clinton, Peter Mugyenyi, Yusuf K. Hamied, Noor Jehan Majid, Edwin Cameron, Elvis Basudde Kyeyune, James P. Love

Festivals: Amsterdam Documentary 2012; Sundance 2013

This withering indictment of Bad Pharma chronicles resistance to the grotesque conjunction of market forces and health care in impoverished Africa. Patent laws have long been exploited by Western drug companies to keep the price of treatment artificially high there, as everywhere else. “It records how a remarkable group of dedicated men and women on four continents, including Desmond Tutu and Dr Yusuf Hamied (the enlightened head of the Indian pharmaceutical company Cipla), worked and campaigned together to compel the world’s major pharmaceutical giants to make antiretrovirals (ARVs) available to people with HIV and Aids the world over as generic drugs. This co-operative triumph has saved millions of lives and much suffering. Unfortunately, Big Pharma, with their battalions of lobbyists in Washington, their chilling lack of social responsibility and their dedication to maximising profits, have retrenched… The film is a testament to human decency and a damning indictment of laissez-faire capitalism.” — Philip French, The Observer