Earlier this year a bomb dropped as Katherine Eban released the culmination of roughly a decade of research and investigative work on the Generic Drug Industry, and the explosion should be huge. In this Episode of Lessons from the Screen we are going to be taking a look at Bottle of Lies: Inside the Generic Drug Boom by Katherine Eban.
The book starts out introducing us to an FDA Inspector that ends up in a foot race down a hallway chasing a pharmaceutical plant manufacturing worker who is trying to destroy paperwork. This sort of cat and mouse game is basically the narrative of the entire book and thus the narrative of what has been happening between the FDA and overseas generic drug manufacturers since the boom of the industry. Which this book manages to tie to Gandhi as he leads the resistance against British colonialism and advocated for Indian corporations. 2 students, in particular, heeded his direct call and birthed the generic pharmaceutical industry. While Gandhi wanted cheaper, high-quality drugs from Indians what ended up happening was lower quality drugs for India and the rest of the developing world in favor of profits.
The point of profit over quality is especially clear with regards to AIDS medications in Africa at the onset of the AIDS global epidemic. At several moments in the book, it is alleged that a very dismissive behavior was given to the fact that the drugs weren’t working in Africa because “they were just Black People,” which is a sentiment that probably also filter down through Gandhi. These poor quality medications are mentioned as a potential reason why the AIDS epidemic in Africa never came under control like it did in other countries. It speaks to those in Africa that tried to start legitimate pharmaceutical companies to supply high-quality drugs to the continent only to find that high quality, low cost was the biggest lie in the pharmaceutical industry and the entire generic drug sector was built on that lie. In one occasion mentioned in the book, an African Drug Company wanted to purchase active ingredients for medications only to be presented with the option to by low-quality ingredients at the “African” rate. A segment of these low-quality goods was regularly being set aside to sell to those making drugs for African Nations.
But far from just being focused on the underprivileged, the book also takes a look at the impact of generic drugs on wealthy countries such as the European and Western Nations of the World. While those implications have been minimized to an extent by the ability to create and pay for brand drugs, it details how the growing trend of resistant diseases could actually be attributed, in part, to substandard generics. The concept of substandard generics causing treatment-resistant bacteria is a new development but evidence is quickly being amassed to prove the case. As the generic drug industry continues to grow and expand, plants founded in corrupt areas of the world are also selling active ingredients to other manufacturing plants lowering the quality of the drugs made in potentially safe plants.
The book spoke passively to the fact that well-meaning activist where being used to place the FDA in a tough position. The public largely sees generic drugs as a lower cost version of brand drugs and as such demands and champions generics. Unfortunately, this is far from the case and the book makes this point over and over again. But the FDA is not treated as the victim, they are in a lot of ways treated as an accomplice to what is happening and in a lot of ways they are an encouraging accomplice but so is the uninformed populace.
Most of the story is told from the perspective of Ranbaxy and Dinesh Thakur, the whistleblower that ended up getting $48 million from the $500 million dollar settlement Ranbaxy agreed to with the FDA. It veers off into necessary and informative tangents where necessary, quickly coming back to the main story after a tangent has been sufficiently explored. Like all books, this one is another must read. I actually struggled with what to share and what not too because I wanted to share everything. What I settled on is that next week's show will be on Generic vs. Brand drugs. So get ready.
Data manipulation, governmental politics, dirty plants, compromised drugs, villains, heroes, evil schemes with deadly consequences it's all here and it’s all real. It’s hard to read this book and believe that drugs are drugs. But reading this book and understanding that drugs aren’t drugs is something that I believe all people must do.
In March of 2019 Joseph Ward released the 3rd volume of his On the Shoulders of Giants Series of books with this one being focused on South America. The book gives a brief summary of the life and impact of 12 South American Heroes and 1 South American Culture group from the view of the Black Diaspora in South America. In this episode of Lessons from the Screen we are going to be taking a look at this book in typical Lessons from the Screen fashion.
On the 21st of December 2018, the First Step Act or S.756 was passed into law. It was hailed as a landmark passage, one that was desperately needed and that would change the American Justice System for the better making it more equitable and more humane. While it is just a first step as the name implies, it was treated with such fanfare and such excitement that many thought this was the law to end the discriminatory practices of the Justice System. We took a few weeks, let that fanfare die down, and studied the text of the law to determine if it really was worth all the excitement. On this Episode of Lessons from the Screen, we are going to be diving into the First Step Act of 2018.
Today we finish up our series on the Climate Science Olympics focusing on the 4 National Climate Assessment Vol 2. The 4 year report which gathers multiple scientist across multiple fields together to present climate science from multiple angles focusing both on causal factors and potential impacts. The last show was on the first half of the report which primarily focused on the environment, this show is focused on the second half of the report which is more focused on its affect on communities and regions.
Volume 2 of the 4th National Climate Assessment was released Friday and like the NATO report released in July, it tells of a frightening future if we don’t do what’s necessary to reduce our negative impact on the climate. The first volume of this report was released in November of 2017 a called the Climate Science Special Report (CSSR). While Volume 1 focused more on the science behind climate change and how it is physically affecting the earth and everything on it, this report focuses on the impact of the science and analysis presented in volume 1. On this episode of Lessons from the Screen, we are going to be diving into this report in our typical LftS fashion, breaking it down were we can and making it a bit more digestible while also opening up the lane for conversations.
Back in January of this year, we got Fire and Fury from Michael Wolffe, a pretty entertaining and damning expose of the first year or so of the Trump White House along with his campaign leading up to his election. It was viewed as an interestingly accurate picture of the administration, but that picture was viewed as more of a caricature than a portrait. Since that time there has been a slew of administration books coming out, seems like everyone that leaves the administration writes a book and it seems like every reporter or journalist with a name has written a book. None of them reach the level of detail and have the level of credibility as the book produced by Bob Woodward entitled Fear. During this episode of Lessons from the Screen, we are going to talk about that book a little bit and help you make the decision about whether you should read it or not.
Earlier today China released a white paper regarding its position on the trade frictions with the United States. The Information Office of the State Council for the People's Republic of China released the report In order to clarify the facts about China-US economic and trade relations, clarify China’s stance on trade friction with the US, and pursue reasonable solutions.
With America and China having the largest economies in the world and with China’s Economy on pace to pass the American Economy in the next 10 to 15 years what we are seeing could be a structural realignment of global markets. During this episode of Lessons from the Screen we will look at this report, what does it say, and what does it potentially mean.
Since 2013 Ipsos has been releasing a yearly report on how well informed people are about the societies they live in. It’s a yearly survey of over 50,000 people from 38 different countries being asked to give their opinions on various issues and situations within their country. The last one was done in November of 2017 and a composite book being released about the surveys and the data that is due to come out September 6, 2018, which would be Thursday. But we thought it would be a good time to just look at the survey from last year and talk about the questions and where America stood in understanding the realities of the societies we live in. In this episode of Lessons from the Screen, we will look at the Ipsos Ignorance Index.
Last show we defined mental health and what makes someone mentally healthy. We talked about it being more than just the absence of illness but also the presence of balance and stability. This show we will be talking about a report produced in November of 2017 regarding some of the disparities and issues surrounding mental health in the Black Community. While I don’t agree with most comparisons being used for serious strategic planning, they do serve the purpose of providing context to numbers when the context is needed. As we continue on into Mental Health Awareness month we continue to hope that you will take everything you’re getting from the network and start a conversation around mental health in your circles. Conversations that spark action and changes to the world around you in a positive way.
We are always at a critical juncture in history. That is one of the deeper lessons of history that you don’t get until you start connecting the dots between major past events and the minuscule things that proceed them. There is more to learn in some cases from the long and peaceful periods of history, aka the boring bits, than there is to learn in the eventful war filled periods. History is fluid, as is the present and the future, ever-changing based on the actions of the present and the perceptions of the future. That being said we find ourselves at a critical juncture in history.
For the last 30 years, we have been engaging in an increasingly hostile political environment that seems to have been pushed over the edge by 2 recent occurrences, the election of Barack Obama and the subsequent election of Donald Trump. Both of these events triggered massive increases in political incivility not seen since the years before the war of succession, and contrary to popular opinion it wasn’t the war that changed politics it was the compromise of 1877. That brings us to the point of this show, is democracy dying, and if it is, why are we so willing to kill it?
A more timely book couldn’t have been produced than the one Steve Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt released in January of this year. A book that at its core takes a look at democracies across the globe and analyzes how they transformed into authoritarian states. It does this in a very comparative and analytical way bringing every discussion back to what we see in America today. In this episode of Lessons from the Screen we will be taking a look at How Democracies Die.
In 1849 a book was published in a niche but growing genre that would become one of the most powerful sections of American Literature and the most damning for American Historical Pride. That Genre was dubbed: Slave Narratives. Not only did these books serve to vilify a major force in American Culture and a major source of American Wealth, but they also pushed back heavily on American Propaganda which sought to convey an image of pride and dignity with regards to the owning of human beings. And after more than 150 years these books are still serving the same purposes as America continues to resist accepting it’s cultural legacy and continues to push propaganda that promotes the pride and dignity of the darkest sections of American History.
Today on Lessons from the Screen we will be taking a look at the Narrative of Henry Bibb an American Slave. The book was written in 1849 by Henry Bibb himself and reveals a lot about slavery in America, in addition, the overall American Culture at that time that it would accept such an institution. We will give a brief review of the book and interesting points about it, we will also give one of the biggest takeaways for us from the reading of the book. This is definitely a book you should read and its one that you can find for free at that, the link will be provided on this post.
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There has been a lot of talk about the economy over the past forever. Politicians and political enthusiast on all sides of the political spectrum find the subject of US economics to be a constant hot button topic and with good reason. The economy of a nation is the lifeblood of a nation and mis-managing that is the simplest way to destroy a nation. That is a major political talking point in every election from dog catcher to president, and with the national debt soaring ever higher, its becoming an even stickier subject. That’s why when the CBO (congressional budget office) releases its long term budget outlook, it's a pretty big deal.
Today on Lessons from the Screen we will be taking a look at the CBO Long-Term Budget Outlook. What does it say, what does it mean, who does it, why we should care, and what should we do? We will try to touch on most of these subjects and a few more in our allotted time. Amidst everything else going on today this report is pretty significant and we should definitely analyze what it means. After you finish listening head to the website and let us know what you think, should we care, is it significant, what do you think we should do, should we do anything at all? In this episode of lessons from the screen we will be talking about The CBO 2018 Long-Term Budget Outlook Report.
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Amidst all the talk about immigration and human rights violations, Congress is always moving both locally and nationally. With the narrative of police targeting gaining enough steam to basically be cemented as fact in a large portion of the countries mind. There is a bill that just recently passed the house and currently sits in the Senate. This bill will basically make any harm done to police officers a federal hate crime. This marks a distinct shift in civil rights where people are no longer protected because they have been systematically oppressed for biological conditions they have little to no control over, they are protected for the job they have despite that job being under no systemic oppression, causing immense harm to communities, and already being one of the most protected jobs in the nation.
During this episode of Lessons from the Screen we will be looking at the Protect and Serve Act of 2018. We will be looking at what it says, why people feel it’s needed, whether or not the statistics are there to show that it’s really needed, and who voted for it. As always and of course, we will be diving into what this means for the Black Community and some things we should be doing to prepare.
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In this episode of Lessons from the Screen we will be looking at the president's budget proposal and its potential impact on the community as well as things that we can learn. The Budget proposal was released Monday February 12 and while budget proposals from the executive office have to be approved by congress, they do tell a lot about the priorities of the administration as well as the party they represent and the people that elected them. With that in mind we will be digging into a little bit of this budget proposal during this episode of lessons from the screen, the Presidents 2nd budget.
This week on Lessons from the screen we will be looking at The Road to Zero report. A report that says that by 2053 median black wealth will be at zero if things don't change. what it means and what we can do to make sure that it does not come to pass. Being that it is one of the newest wealth based reports and seeing as how there are few true wealth based reports available of the nature of this one, it is a must analyze document.
In this episode of Lessons from the Screen we will be looking at this document and its potential impact on the community as well as things that we can learn. Amid a growing surge of Black Power Movements and the continued push of Civil Rights Organizations pushing both of which along with the regular black population continue to clash with the police all over the nation, this document, what it represents, and what it actually says has to be looked at.
is a lover of learning and analyzer of anything that can be analyzed, even if it probably shouldn't be.