How is it that pharmaceutical multinationals can effectively deny treatment to millions of people with Aids? This consciousness-raising doc reveals how pharma giants have stopped developing nations getting the drugs which have controlled the virus in the West, for although Americans can and will pay $40 a tablet, that’s out of the reach of patients in South Africa and Uganda. Perhaps even more heinous, is the availability of identical, affordable non-branded alternatives, yet the corporations invoke patent law to stop governments importing them.
As a study in human greed this is shocking, but as this thorough, convincing, if slightly stodgy film makes clear, it’s also a moment to mobilise public opinion and shape change. Distinguished interviewees, including Desmond Tutu, Bill Clinton and economist Joseph Stiglitz, join activists and medics in outlining the arguments, and if the film sags a little under the weight of information, it never loses sight of the individual suffering and courage which makes the story so significant.