Fire in the Blood screened at the Royal Society of Medicine (RSM) in London on May 28th, followed by a panel discussion with Nathan Ford of the World Health Organisation (WHO), John Saunders, Chair of the Ethics Committee of the Royal College of Physicians, Harry Thangaraj, Director of the Access to Pharmaceuticals Project at St. George’s, University of London, Guppi Bola of Oxfam and Kush Naker of Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM).
Details of this event here.
Director Dylan Mohan Gray was not able to be present for the screening, but sent the following remarks by way of introduction:
“Greetings to everyone at the Royal Society of Medicine from steamy Bombay!
It’s truly an immense honour for all of us involved with Fire in the Blood to have been invited to screen our film at your renowned institution, and honestly I can scarcely think of a more perfect venue for it. I deeply regret not being able to be with you in person this evening, but given the lineup of panelists I’m quite sure you will find the post-screening discussion to be extremely stimulating, and of course I hope most of you find the film to be of interest as well.
Since you haven’t yet had a chance to see it, I won’t talk much about Fire in the Blood, other than to say it is not, as some would have it framed, a project intended to attack the brand-name pharmaceutical industry. The film critiques the system by which medicines become subject to monopoly, and in that sense its target is political.
Nonetheless, it is certainly true that the biggest obstacle to reforming the current system is the dogged intransigence of the international pharma industry, which as everyone in this room well knows has almost unfathomable financial resources and political clout. 90% of the billions upon billions of pounds this industry spends on marketing every year is directed at doctors, whose relationships of trust with their patients the companies seek to leverage for commercial gain.
As you will soon see, a number of the leading figures in Fire in the Blood are medical doctors who stood up against a system which didn’t value their patients’ lives. To me, these people are true heroes, and embody the very best ideals of your profession.
Still, doctors in the UK and throughout the world need to do considerably more to change the basic equation of access to medicine, which affects billions of people in rich countries as well as poor. There have been very promising developments in the UK in recent months, of which no doubt most of you are already well aware, such as the growing momentum for open access to taxpayer-funded research, and the “all trials” campaign for every clinical trial to be registered and full results reported, not just those which suit the commercial interests of pharma companies.
I hope that after seeing Fire in the Blood many of you will agree with me that it is possible to properly fund and incentivise vital research without making its benefits inaccessible to the vast majority of the world’s people. Any of you interested in finding out more are encouraged to visit our film’s website, and please feel free to write and share your thoughts with me as well.
Thank you so very much for coming tonight, I really hope you find it to be a particularly memorable and thought-provoking evening!”