Big Bucks, Big Pharma pulls back the curtain on the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical industry to expose the insidious ways that illness is used, manipulated, and in some instances created, for capital gain. Focusing on the industry's marketing practices, media scholars and health professionals help viewers understand the ways in which Direct-To-Consumer pharmaceutical advertising glamorizes and normalizes the use of prescription medication, and works in tandem with promotion to doctors. Combined, these industry practices shape how both patients and doctors understand and relate to disease and treatment. Ultimately, Big Bucks, Big Pharma challenges us to ask important questions about the consequences of relying on a for-profit industry for our health and well-being. Featuring interviews with Dr. Marcia Angell (Dept. of Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Former Editor New England Journal of Medicine), Dr. Bob Goodman (Columbia University Medical Center; Founder, No Free Lunch), Gene Carbona (Former Pharmaceutical Industry Insider and Current Executive Director of Sales, The Medical Letter), Katharine Greider (Journalist; Author, The Big Fix: How the Pharmaceutical Industry Rips Off American Consumers,), Dr. Elizabeth Preston (Dept. of Communication, Westfield State College), and Dr. Larry Sasich (Public Citizen Health Research Group)
Famine Victim Loses Children
Residents of the Horn of Africa may have evaded the pressure of Islamist militants, but they have yet to escape starvation.
While some have sought rescue at camps in Mogadishu, they are still vulnerable to disease and malnutrition.
Mohammed Moalim lost all five of his children to malnutrition and disease at one of the feeding camps , as he couldn't afford the funds for medicine.
UNICEF estimates that 640,000 children are suffering from severe malnutrition across the country.
Meanwhile the worst drought Somalia has been experiencing in decades has taken a toll on livestock and sub sequentially, food price.
In the town of Dhobely, which borders Kenya, buildings bear the scars of gun battles between troops and islamist militants.
Aside conflict and drought, aid has been rejected by the rebels when they were in control of certain regions of the country, leaving 3.6 million Somalis on the edge of starvation.
Currently, while humanitarian agencies have been shipping emergency food and makeshift shelters, the Food and Agricultural Organization have appealed for roughly 70 million US dollars to strengthen Somalia's impoverished food sources.
"We are in the middle of a dry period and you can see around that it is completely dry and people have exhausted their stocks. So that means either we intervene with both food and other activities bringing cash into the communities -- or they will continue to die. And in some areas of the country there was only 25% of the harvest in other areas the harvest was almost inexistent," said Christina Amaral, chief of emergency operations service.
Moreover, migration posed security problems for neighboring countries.
"Having hundreds of thousands of Somalis that migrate outside Somalia in the neighbouring country is going to create a security problem in the neighbouring country. The second point is that it is simply unbearable to have alternatives in protecting people's assets because the cost of it is 10-15 times higher than giving people the possibility of living where they are and protecting their assets. The third point is that managing big camps has proven in the last 20 year really difficult to handle," said Luca Alinovi, officer-in-charge.
With these funds, the FAO could provide vaccination for livestock and seeds to people ahead of rain season.
Christina Amaral - chief of emergency operations service, UNFAO
Luca Alinovi - officer-in-charge, UNFAO Somalia
By Noora Faraj
Al Arabiya with Agencies