Real Talkies

Real Talkies

Every cut is a lie. It’s never that way. Those two shots were never next to each other in time that way. But you’re telling a lie in order to tell the truth. –Wolf Koenig.

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June 4, 2011 , , , , ,

FIlm Poster


What if your life-saving medicine contained deadly viruses – and the drug manufacturers, the government, and your own doctors knew but failed to warn you? Through the eyes of survivors and family members, BAD BLOOD chronicles how a “miracle” treatment for hemophilia became an agent of death for 10,000 Americans. Faced with evidence that pharmaceutical companies and government regulators knew the product was contaminated with deadly viruses from the 1960s through the early 1990s, they launched a powerful and inspiring fight to right the system that failed them and to make it safer for all.

BAD BLOOD, a feature-length documentary film, recounts this cautionary tale from the perspective of six families affected by this tragedy and the doctors, nurses, and scientists who cared for them. Challenging viewers to their own vigilance, BAD BLOOD humanizes this under-reported medical disaster, stimulating further and much-needed public debate about the government’s role and effectiveness in regulating the pharmaceutical industry today.

Hemophilia is a genetic blood disorder that prevents blood from clotting normally and results in uncontrolled bleeding. It is passed usually from mother to son, resulting in severe crippling and often death. There is no cure for hemophilia to this date. However, in the 1960s, a new product called “Factor concentrate” transformed the prognosis for this disease, mortality rates dropped and people with hemophilia were able to live somewhat normal lives. But, each does of “Factor Concentrate” was made by pooling several thousand samples of individual blood donations, exposing the hemophiliac patient to the risk of receiving contaminated blood. At that time, pharmaceuticals, companies, government regulators and even doctors considered the risk of infections such as hepatitis was acceptable given the worse prognosis someone with Hemophilia had. The  patients and families were rarely warned about this risk!

In the early 1980s, almost 30 years ago, HIV virus was noticed initially among gay men and ignored largely as a homosexual disease. Later it was noticed among people with hemophilia . The prevalence of HIV among hemophiliacs is what raised concerns that the virus could possibly be in the nation’s blood supply. It was too late for many hemophiliacs, as by the time , ‘FACTOR CONCENTRATE” the medication was pulled from the market in 1985, 10,000 hemophiliacs ( nearly 90% of Americans with severe hemophilia) had been infected with HIV, and 15,000 with hepatitis C.

HIV still continues to plague and stigmatizes thousands of peoples around the world.  Every day thousands of innocent lives get infected with this virus all over the world mainly because of poor (false) knowledge about the disease, its transmission and cure (or lack of). Women and children continue to feel the brunt of the disease in several African nations. “Bad Blood” is a story of a small community of people who in the worst of situations, launched a powerful and inspiring fight to right the system that failed them. Patients and families of people with hemophilia demanded more stringent regulation of the countries blood supply and it is this small community that continues to  stand as the guardians of the nations blood supply. From that perspective, “Bad blood” is a tale of hope.

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