A poke in the eye of global healthcare and Big Pharma, Fire In The Blood raises awareness and a need for change in the distribution of medicine. It can be old hat to present the Money>Lives politics of big companies as a shock, but this documentary stirs the ire.
When you read it written down it just sounds crazy, like something from a sci-fi movie set in a dystopian future. HIV and AIDS is an epidemic in Africa but because the majority of the population are poverty stricken they can't afford the AVRs that have proven to successfully combat the disease. Cheaper generic versions of the drugs are manufactured in India but patent laws state render their importation illegal. So people die. In their millions. Which is ridiculous seeing as HIV is not the death sentence it once was… if the medicine is made available, that is.
We're in Michael Moore territory (not that that's a bad thing) with Dylan Mohan Gray making shocking revelation after depressing fact. Whereas Moore might cut it up with a funny animated segment, Mohan Gray hammers the point home with rows of dying people in dirty hospitals: "the crime of the century," he calls it. He may be right.
Accusations fly: WHO and WTO don't do enough, US government seems to back Big Pharma, whose reps are sadly missing (oddly we don't even get the ‘declined to comment'), with only a former VP of Pfizer Peter Rost showing up in a pseudo-whistleblowing role. Bill Clinton turns up to help the availability of cheaper generic drugs at a cost of less than $1 a day, a notion dreamed up by Indian scientist Yusuf Hamied and intellectual property activist James Love when a previous lobby to the European Commission proved fruitless..
Although Fire In The Blood signs off on an upbeat note of hope, the big story before the end credits is that TRIPS are working to undo all the good work of the $1-a-day campaign did. It beggars belief. It really does.