Distributor:  Bullfrog Films
Length:  27 minutes
Date:  2002
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English
Grade level: 7-12, College, Adult
Color/BW:  Color
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Paying the Price

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Pharmaceutical companies block generic drugs, threatening the lives of millions of Africans with AIDS.

City Life - Paying the Price

In a hospital in Uganda, 14-year-old Vincent is being treated for cryptococcal meningitis, contracted as a result of AIDS. Underweight, frightened and wracked with pain, he is one of literally millions of AIDS orphans across Africa who will die in the next ten years unless life-saving antiretroviral drugs become more widely available. But at current prices, the drugs are just too expensive for most African countries.

The fight for affordable drugs in Africa first made world headlines last year when a consortium of forty-two major pharmaceutical companies took the South African government to court over its right to import or manufacture generic drugs to treat AIDS sufferers.

After a global campaign by activist groups, trade unions and NGOs, the companies finally withdrew the case in April 2001 -- in what was likely regarded as a humiliating climb-down. But even before the court case outcome, the companies had begun reducing the prices of their patented drugs -- as part of the Accelerating Access Initiative brokered by UNAIDS to provide drugs at a lower cost and training to selected African countries.

This program from the City Life series investigates the background to AIDS treatment in Africa, reports of the success of the Ugandan program, and asks why the South African government is still refusing to authorize a national program of treatment for AIDS.

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Main credits

Markovitz, Steven (film producer)
Trakoshis, Platon (film producer)
Strasburg, Toni (film director)
Smith, Ashley (editor of moving image work)
Gawin, Luke (film producer)
Richards, Jenny (editor of moving image work)
Kae-Kazim, Hakeem (narrator)

Other credits

Editor, Ashley Smith; music, Percussion Discussion; series producer, Luke Gawin; series editor, Jenny Richards.

Distributor credits

Television Trust for the Environment

Toni Strasburg

Television Trust for the Environment
Toni Strasburg
Series Editor: Jenny Richards
Series Producer: Luke Gawin

Docuseek2 subjects

Big Pharma vs Generics
South Africa
Human Rights
Business Ethics
International Relations and Geopolitics
Citizenship, Social Movements and Activism
Youth Issues
Medical Anthropology
African Studies

Distributor subjects

African Studies
At-risk Youth
Business Practices
Death And Dying
Developing World
Global Issues
Human Rights
International Studies
Science, Technology, Society
Social Justice


AIDS, Africa, Uganda, HIV, South Africa, orphans, antiretroviral drugs, meningitis, pharmecutical companies, generic drugs; "Paying the Price"; Bullfrog Films

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