Some Ramblings - Dallas Buyers Club (2013) by Srinivas Kanchibhotla
You are at > Ramblings > All is Lost
Follow Us

Oscar Bait
Fall...trees start turning their colored coats inside out and eventually shed their old wear and gear clearing out their warehouses in what becomes their final blowout season... Coincidentally, it is also time when movie studios bring their artsy features out of the closet, ones that they have held out until the hoarse-y summer's din died down. So snuggle up in the fall jackets and settle down for the Oscar fare where the sensitive battle it out with the subtle, where strong stories stake their ground out in the fertile land of varied imaginations....

For why is healthcare so out of reach of the common man with limited means in the US, (strictly from the medical side without getting into the whole Insurance mess) there are the usual, and quite valid, responses like, price of innovation, quality of care and umbrella hedging costs against malpractice, negligence, tort etc. What doesn't appear in print however extends the above response to also include 'creative corporatism', the hallmark of capitalism, wherein there exists a tight knit (the aggrieved ones call it collusion) between the Federal Drug Administration agency and the big pharmaceutical companies that essentially creates a strangehold on the market which prevents cheaper alternatives to enter the fray, by throwing a wide legal cover over a range of inhuman, but all strictly legal, practices. The common arm wringing tactics that big businesses engage in WTO negotiations even when confronted with sub standard poverty prevailing over more than half the world, particularly in cases involving public health, tilt the scales strongly in favor of violating the Intellectual Property rights, copyright laws and other restrictive ownership frameworks that the big businesses hold dear. Fact 1: African nations suffer from abnormal mortality rate among world population afflicted with AIDS. Fact 2: Most of these nations have only about a quarter of its populace with decent wages and normal living standards. Fact 3: AIDS medication from the big pharmaceutical companies (from the West) cost upward of a few thousand dollars per month, which the dying population could barely afford. The big pharma rarely loosens its grip on the exorbitant pricing of the life saving drugs, while the numbers continue to wither away with each passing. The situation, on one hand is a humanitarian disaster, while on the other, provides a ripe opportunity for makers of generic drugs with basement pricing from the developing nations to move in the marketplace and become a) savior of those societies b) a noble David resisting a greedy Goliath c) highly profitable and yet have a halo around them. In one stoke, a new brand of capitalism - the nano-capitalism - took shape, where empires are built on millions and billions of small hives, instead of a few large blocks, like in the erstwhile model.

'Dallas Buyers Club' is a real life account of one such nano-capitalist during the nascent scare of AIDS in the US in the 80s, who found a potential money making opportunity peddling his home made concoction of immunity boosting medication, going against the big pharma who tightly controlled the market with 'experimental drugs' (which is essentially similar to the above home made remedy, but performed in a hospital under controlled conditions, wherein the hospital also gets a cut in the profits by means of generous grants and donations by participating in the experiment by providing a readily available stable of AIDS afflicted. As said, it is one profitable ecosystem) The protagonist, an AIDS victim himself, could see through the entire supply chain of the big pharma, which first chose a few 'lucky' patients as a part of the test group from reputed hospitals, put them on a steady diet of their drugs, monitored and recorded the progress periodically, and if stumbled upon the right dosage or the right mix of the drugs that inhibited the steady march of the AIDS virus, immediately withdrew them from the market and brought them back under a different name with a huge markup. Nothing illegal here, but whether immoral and unethical is a different question. That the protagonist could figure out the individual pieces of the process, find the equivalent replacement drugs from outside the country to assemble his own prescription, all this without having any experience or expertise in the medical field, and hand it out to his patients as a complimentary gift for being a part of his membership club (towards which the patient would pay the costs of the medicine as a subscription fee, and not directly for this medicine itself, as this would make him a criminal for contra banding foreign drugs and acting as a medical officer without the right credentials), in effect, subverting the same rules that the big pharma has been gaming all this time, giving them a taste of their own medicine (pun intended), is entrepreneurship at its best.

Does his innovative method of the 80s of indirectly charging money for goods and services that falls outside the purview of legal action find any relevance in any present day marketing schemes? Look no further than Amway (which hates the tag MLMS (Multi Level Marketing Scheme) branded on it) which considers itself strictly as a product company claiming to make all its money selling home made consumer durables for high costs to its members, who in turn join more members to spread the good cheer of availing the great benefits of high priced items that are available in local markets at a fraction of those costs. Organizations as these, and individuals as above, should not be looked down upon, for they figured it out, they married the need to the feed, and if there's some money that could be made along the way, who's complaining? Viva Capitalism!

checkout for Srinivas's Blog.




More Ramblings
The spectacular now
All is lost
12 Years a Slave
Wolf of Wall Street
Saving Mr. Banks
Attarintiki Daaredi
Man of Steel
Startrek Into Darkness
Django Unchained
Zero Dark Thirty
Sky Fall
Cloud Atlas
The Dark Knight Rises
The Businessman
The Avengers
The Artist
Money Ball
Adventures of Tintin
Mission Impossible: Ghosty Porotocol
Sri Ramarajyam
The Ides of March
The Tree of Life
Super 8
Teen Maar
Inside Job
127 hours
The king's speech
The social network
Peepli [live]
Kick Ass
Ye Maya Chesave
Maya Bazaar
3 Idiots
Inglorious Basterds
District 9
The Hurt Locker
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Slumdog Millionaire
Quantom of Solace
The Dark Knight
Wall - E
The incredible Hulk
Indiana Jones and the kingdom of crystal skull
Speed Racer
Iron Man
Jodha Akbar
There will be blood
Chrlie Wilson's War
No Country for Old Men
Om Shanti Om
Lions for Lambs
American Gangster
Michael Clayton
Happy Days
Chak De India!
The Bourne Ultimatum
The Simpsons Movie
The Grindhouse
Casino Royale
The Departed
Lage Raho Munnabhai
Superman Returns
The Da Vinci Code
Sri Ramadasu
Rang De Basanti (Hindi)
Jai Chiranjeeva!
Munich (English)
Sarkar (Hindi)
Mangal Padey (Hindi)
Kaadhal (Tamil)
Anukokunda Oka Roju
Batman Begins (English)
Radha Gopalam
Mughal E Azam
Virumandi (Tamil)
Lakshya (Hindi)
Yuva (Hindi)
Kakha Kakha (Tamil)
Mr & Mrs Iyer
Nuvve Nuvve

Privacy Policy | Disclaimer | Copyright 1999 - 2013 All rights reserved