Fire in the Blood (2013)

I just watched “Fire in the Blood, a documentary directed by Dylan Mohan Gray released in 2013 .

This documentary, which was shot across four continents, depicts the countless deaths brought about in AfricaAsia and India due to intentional obstruction of low-cost antiretroviral drugs used for treatment of HIV/AIDS from reaching the mostly poor people in those continents, spearheaded by the big pharmaceutical companies (Big Pharma) which hold the patents for those medications.

The documentary shows how the battle against this intentional obstruction with the goal to protect and maximize their profits in developing and Third-World countries, was fought and at least for the moment won.

The intentional obstruction by the big pharmaceutical companies is estimated to have resulted in ten- to twelve million unnecessary deaths.

Dylan Mohan Gray first came to know of this issue in 2004, after he read an article in The Economist about the battle between Big Pharma and the HIV/AIDS treatment activists over the access to low-cost antiretroviral drugs for Africa. He decided to make this documentary three years later.

The film was shot from March 2008 to the end of 2010. The editing was completed in 2012.

Fire in the Blood” features interviews with former US President Bill Clinton, intellectual property activist James Love, global health reporter Donald McNeilJr. of The New York Times, HIV/AIDS treatment activist Zackie Achmat, pioneering generic drugmaker Yusuf Hamied, former Pfizer executive-turned-whistleblower Peter Rost, leading African AIDS physician Peter MugyenyiNobel Prize-laureates Desmond Tutu and Joseph Stiglitz (economist and professor at Columbia University and former senior vice president and chief economist of the World Bank).  

The film is narrated by William Hurt, who lent his voice to this documentary on a pro bono basis because he felt the story and subject matter were so important.

The documentary received numerous awards:

Grand Jury Prize, World Documentary (Nominated) — Sundance Film Festival, January 2013

One World Media Award (UK), Documentary (Shortlisted), February 2013

Winner—Justice Matters Award—27th Washington DC International Film Festival, April 2013

Winner—DOXA Feature Documentary Award (main prize) — 2013 DOXA Documentary Film Festival, Vancouver, May 2013

Grierson Awards (Grierson British Documentary Awards), Best Cinema Documentary (Shortlisted), July 2013

Winner—Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Prize for Political Film, Filmfest Hamburg, October 2013

Winner—Dadasaheb Phalke Chitranagari Award for Best Debut Film for a Director, Mumbai International Film Festival, February 2014

Fire in the Blood” is without doubt a must-see-documentary.  And the battle for the right of the developing and Third-World countries to produce and to buy low-cost-medication has only been won temporarily.

Especially the so called TRIPS-Agreement was one of the main causes for this bitter fight over the access to low-cost antiretroviral drugs for developing and Third-World countries.

See for this also the webpage titled “TRIPS and Big Pharma” in the website of the “International People´s Health University“.

And the TRIPS-Agreement is still being a main reason for constant battles over this issue.

See for this also the article of September 8, 2012 titled “Drugs and emerging markets: Tripped up” in The Economist.

Creative Commons Lizenzvertrag Fire in the Blood (2013) Klaus Gauger steht unter einer Creative Commons Namensnennung-NichtKommerziell-KeineBearbeitung 3.0 Unported Lizenz