Fire in the Blood

Dylan Mohan Gray's remarks, Japanese DVD launch, Tokyo, February 2, 2017

FITB director Dylan Mohan Gray's remarks sent for the launch of a new, not-for-profit Japanese DVD of the film in Tokyo, February 2, 2017:

Hello from India to everyone at tonight’s screening…

I am very happy that PARC has decided to make the DVD of our film “Fire in the Blood” available to socially-conscious audiences in Japan on a not-for-profit basis.

Though this film has been crisscrossing the world for a couple of years now, the issues it illuminates have only become more urgent and potentially devastating in recent times, and thus the importance of this film being seen and discussed as widely as possible has only continued to grow since its release.

As we enter what promises to be a less humane, less empathetic era in which the primacy of corporate-profit-centric agendas over the wider public interest will almost certainly expand in unprecedented ways and measures, it is only through the efforts of popular resistance and constant education that we can hope to change the course of events and the directions of public policy which will invariably affect all of us, but most especially the truly vulnerable in all our societies.

President Trump may for the time being have brought an end to the horrendous Obama initiative represented by the so-called Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, always intended to serve as the template for future US-led multilateral trade agreements, drafted behind closed doors by corporate interests intent on squeezing every last ounce of profit out of people in every country and nullify any mechanisms by which people in those countries might protect themselves from the onslaught, only the ridiculously naïve or optimistic amongst us would for a moment imagine a meaningful reprieve from or reversal of the neoliberal policies that would in so many respects enslave and poison the people of the world in order to facilitate corporate profiteering.

There is no question that the pharmaceutical industry epitomizes this paradigm par excellence. As “Fire in the Blood” makes clear, it is overwhelmingly taxpayer-funded research which is responsible for significant breakthroughs in medicine. The resulting products are then sold back to taxpayers in rich countries – and a tiny sliver of wealthy people elsewhere – at monopoly prices and scarcely-fathomable profit margins. Most of the world’s people are thus excluded from benefiting from the fruits of this knowledge, at least until patents, which are constantly extended, renewed and expanded, finally run out after decades in force. This might be merely vexing if we were talking about Barbie dolls, smartphones or toasters, but when the items in question are life-saving medicines produced under monopoly conditions, the effects can be nothing short of genocidal.

Japan has frequently been a powerful and important voice of conscience and humanity in Asia and the world, and has often shown itself to be a society which deeply values life and social solidarity. I hope that you will find “Fire in the Blood” to be a vital resource in helping to eradicate the deadly barriers to access to essential medicine, and that Japan can take the lead in promoting ways for science to grow and serve global public health and the wider public interest, rather than simply enriching pharmaceutical robber barons at the cost of millions of salvageable lives.

We will all be watching and wishing you the very best with these efforts.

Thank you.

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