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.