C'est La Vie!

Life...or something like that

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Med Terrorists

'Big pharmaceuticals are right up there with the arms dealers. ' says a character from the film, The Constant Gardener.

It's a brilliant film, highlighting the not-so-savory business practices of the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical industry.

Experimental drugs are being tested illegally on the poor natives of Africa and some drugs,inspite of obviously needing more research and redesigning, are being used on HIV +ve natives - singled out during 'free' health checkups - just to save 'precious' time and money.

One needs to check the cost of lives in third world countries - a dime a dozen for the pharma bigges,it would seem.

And it was shocking to read of the increase of clinical trials in India - it seems that a clinical boom is on the horizon and it is projected that 'nearly $2 billion worth of clinical trials will end up in india by 2010'.

For a lay person,it would genuinely seem celebratory but I wonder if it's just the human guinea pigs that is of interest to the pharma giants.

The Constant Gardener has opened my eyes to this form of bio-terrorism of sorts, all under the guise of 'research' and 'free medical aid' and shallow goodwill.

How governments,researchers,powerplayers,aid workers - all are manipulated or else 'taken care of' - like Tessa Quayle, the human rights activist who was brutally murdered because she fought for the rights of the African natives and threatened to expose the such trials in Africa.

Her husband Justin Quayle ,a diplomat stationed in Africa, loved her and supported her but never really understood her work.
He preferred to spend time in his garden,creating a safe world around himself, was rudely jolted into reality,was forced out of his complacency after the murder of his wife and had to face the lies and corruption and poltics to ensure that his wife did not die for nothing.

His search unearths a few very unpleasant hometruths and he manages to expose the huge conspiracy at the cost of his own life..

It was a very moving and disturbing film and I can almost see the script being played out again under the Indian sun this time round.

A TOI article calls India a 'prime location' because it has 'the world's largest patient pool'.
In my opinon that just translates to availability of patients who are illiterate,needy,poor and ignorant of their rights.

There alreay are many cases where trials have failed with serious consequences,even deaths of patients and no doubt, our lax regulatory policies and unscrupulous drug companies waiting to exploit the loopholes, make the risk of allowing clinical trials in India exponential.

Here's hoping that the judgement of the powers that be is not clouded by the multiple $$$ signs or else like Africa, we'll end up with a beautiful landscape tainted with human blood.


Blogger Vasudha said...

You have not mentioned the breath taking beauty of the African landscape nor the rivetting performance of the protagonist. I forget his name but his face is so sensitive!
Have you also been carried away by activism like Tessa?
Rechel Weizz - pardon the spelling- was also spectacular. Methinks she was herself pregnant while shooting for the film. The original novel by John Le Carre would be a bore though.

1:44 AM  
Blogger Pappul said...

its one of the best English movies I have seen ... Both the lead actor and lead actress were brilliant ... nice account ... !!

5:41 AM  

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