Analysis of The Constant Gardener and Lorenzo’s Oil
The Constant Gardener (2005) and Lorenzo’s Oil (1992) are two fascinating films that depict the issues regarding the operations of pharmaceutical companies. Both films depict scenes that provide the viewers with an analytical perspective on the pharmaceutical industry. In this case, both producers present different operational procedures conducted by pharmaceutical companies along with the role of activists influencing activities in these medical firms.
The operational procedures of pharmaceutical companies mentioned in the films include drug testing before finally releasing it for the public. According to the film The Constant Gardner, Tessa’s murder is caused by an investigation of a pharmaceutical company in Kenya performing dypraxa drug testing (Ebert 11). It was a tuberculosis drug tested using human subjects in Kenya. The depiction of such operations shows that pharmaceutical companies test the drugs they manufacture before certifying them for safety and let humans use them. Similarly, the same operations by pharmaceutical companies are depicted in the film Lorenzo’s oil. For example, Lorenzo’s father contacts 100 pharmaceutical firms to help to conduct a research and tries to find a cure for his son’s illnesses (Maslin).
Furthermore, the films indicate that there are standard operational steps that must be followed by the pharmaceutical companies when performing drug tests. Thereby, the movies reveal that drug testing must follow the legal procedures required before conducting actual testing. In the film The Constant Gardener, Tessa objects the procedures used by the pharmaceutical company in Kenya. She notes that the drug company engaged in illegal testing of the dypraxa drug on the innocent Kenyans that led to numerous human deaths (Bradshaw). Thus, following the required legal procedure pharmacists would eliminate death cases. Obviously, such a procedure was not followed. Conversely, the same issue is risen in Lorenzo’s oil when Lorenzo’s father finds the British Chemist from Croda International who was willing to follow the procedures in distilling the required formula for the drug that would treat Lorenzo. There were one-hundred drug companies that declined to conduct the test on Lorenzo (Maslin). Undoubtedly, they were afraid of risks involved in following the necessary methods which might have negative results. Consequently, these films reveal that pharmaceutical companies have to follow a given set of procedures before engaging in drug testing.
Additionally, the films depict that pharmaceutical companies’ operations include controversies regarding malpractices and efficiency. In The Constant Gardener, Tessa and Justin discovered that a drug corporation in Kenya engaged in fraudulent testing of a tuberculosis drug on the underprivileged Kenyan people. Tessa noted that the drug had caused negative side effects among humans. Thus, the corporation tested the human subjects illegally using the deadly dypraxa drug leading to several deaths in Kenya. This is a manifestation of illegal practices in pharmaceutical industries characterizing their operations. Furthermore, there is a controversy in the film Lorenzo’s oil when the drug companies attempt to find cure for ALD. Hence, there is a conflict between the Odones and the scientists and doctors who become skeptical regarding finding a cure for ALD disease affecting Lorenzo (Maslin). Consequently, all conflicts and controversies depicted in the films indicate that the operations of drug companies are constantly characterized by illegal and unhealthy practices.
The Constant Gardener and Lorenzo’s oil portray ways in which activists can influence the activity of pharmaceutical companies. The films suggest two ways they can make changes in this industry. First, activists can use an investigative approach to expose the illegal practices of the drug companies. The films show that activists can perform an individual research to determine the validity and legality of operations of the pharmaceutical companies. The reports of such investigations influence their operations either leading to the closure of a drug companyor arrest of the individuals engaged in such malpractices. Activists’ operations are visible in The Constant Gardener when Justin decides to risk his life investigating the role played by the pharmaceutical company in Kenya that led to the death of his wife (Bradshaw). In his investigations, Justin’s efforts as an activist cost him his life but led to the exposure of the illegal practices in the pharmaceutical industry.
The second way involves lobbying and pushing the companies to produce the required cure for diseases within a specified period. Obviously, the activist groups can influence the method of operations of the drug companies. Thus, they can make them fasten the process of finding a cure for a particular disease. They can mount pressure through constant inquiries and questions regarding the process. For example, in Lorenzo’s oil, Lorenzo’s father contacted and mounted pressure upon 100 drug companies to find the cure for ALD (Maslin). Despite the failure of these companies to provide a solution, his efforts as an activist yielded success when he found a doctor from Croda International Company that managed to perform tests leading to the cure for ALD. Therefore, activists play a significant role in influencing the pharmaceutical companies to produce the required and quality cure for diseases.
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In conclusion, both Lorenzo’s oil and The Constant Gardener are medical films presenting various operational procedures of pharmaceutical companies. Both films indicate that pharmaceutical companies engage in illegal drug testing before releasing it for the public. They use humans when performing their drug tests. Additionally, both films prove that there are standard operational steps that must be followed by the pharmaceutical companies when performing various tests. Moreover, the movies suggest that activists use the investigative approach to expose the illegal practices of the drug companies. They also push the firms to produce curative medicines for diseases in a short period.