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?Big pharmaceuticals are up there with arms dealers?

So says a leading character in the just-released movie ?The Constant Gardener.? Having seen the film, I can tell you that he means big pharmaceutical companies, not very large pills. The message that pharma is evil is drilled home repeatedly, like a new type of cramming video for some high school social sciences exam. It?s even the focal point of the television trailer. But that?s not what I took from the movie at all. I enjoyed The Constant Gardener as a piece of escapism. It is centered

By | September 1, 2005

So says a leading character in the just-released movie ?The Constant Gardener.? Having seen the film, I can tell you that he means big pharmaceutical companies, not very large pills. The message that pharma is evil is drilled home repeatedly, like a new type of cramming video for some high school social sciences exam. It?s even the focal point of the television trailer. But that?s not what I took from the movie at all. I enjoyed The Constant Gardener as a piece of escapism. It is centered around a touching, beautifully played (if never quite believable) romance. The landscapes of Africa are phenomenal, with the shots overexposed to add an extra dimension of beauty or menace, and fast-paced scenes around Nairobi that are dramatic and colorful. The baddies are Bad, the goodies are in love, the Brits are bumbling, Africa is a basket case. Quite cartoonish. Yet The Constant Gardener is being touted as a Message Movie. In the minds of critics and movie-goers, big pharmaceuticals ARE up there with the arms dealers (see http://movies.yahoo.com/shop?d=hv&cf=info&id=1808680118&intl=us). It?s got to the point where the movie is being used for direct protest, as witnessed by this press release from 31 August from ?Proposition 79 Advocates: ?Consumer and health advocates will leaflet moviegoers today after viewing "The Constant Gardener," a thriller about drug company corruption. The advocates will use the film's Opening Day to raise awareness among audiences about the real life drama taking place in California this election season, "The Constant Gouger."? So where is the rebuttal? It would be a straight-forward job to point out factual inaccuracies in the movie and to present the positive face by pharma. They are, after all, producing medicines. But I?ve searched in vain for any engagement by pharmaceutical companies, individually or collectively through PhRMA. Don?t they get it?
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