Friday 22 February 2013

"Fire in the Blood" (Guardian 22/02/13)

Fire in the Blood (PG) 87 mins ***

A slightly dry yet very solid reportage on a humanitarian disgrace: the failure of Western pharmaceutical companies to provide affordable drugs to Third World patients. As presented, the corporate defence sounds horribly racist: that poorer Africans’ inability to read packaging or tell the time leaves them ill-suited to following any medication program. For some while, director Dylan Mohan Gray is limited to restating the same depressing story, using input from doctors, campaigners and international spokespeople to punctuate footage of families grieving around child-sized coffins. The Noughties, however, saw hope emerge in the form of the Indian physicist Yusuf Hamied, whose company Cipla undertook to produce cheap generic drugs in defiance of the Pfizer patent lawyers. As the indignation rises, the outcome of this battle cannot entirely be guessed, although one closing credit appears to address Big Pharma directly: “Help prevent a sequel.” 

Fire in the Blood opens in selected cinemas nationwide from today.

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