A while ago my daughter, Jessica, told me that I needed to watch the movie “Dallas Buyers Club”. Then, just last week, it was one of the options on a flight to Singapore. And I just had to watch it.
The movie was released in 2013 starring Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner and Jared Leto and led to Academy Awards for both Matthew and Jared.
It’s a little unusual for me to put a Hollywood movie on this site, but you’ll see why below. The trailer of the movie is also below.
My notes from Dallas Buyers Club
Dallas Buyers Club is a movie based on a true story set in the ’80’s about Ron Woodruff. Really, he had a terrible life including frequent sex with prostitutes, abuse of cocaine and alcohol as well as being homophobic and racist. He is suddenly diagnosed with HIV and AIDS (from sex with a drug-addicted prostitute) and given 3o days to live.
Some of the imagery in the film was not very pleasant, but necessary to set the scene properly.
The film shows how hospitals and doctors were paid by big pharma to conduct AZT trials. Somehow, the FDA approved AZT to go directly to human trials. Ron can only get access to AZT by entering the trial, but then this is guarantee as he may get the placebo in any case. He manages to buy some AZT illegally for a short while but then can’t get anymore.
This prompts him to go to Mexico where there are rumors of doctors with drugs better than AZT. The doctor in Mexico is actually an American doctor who’s been run out of his country after being stripped of his license.. This doctor says “The only people AZT helps are the people who sell it”. He takes Ron off AZT and gives him natural alternatives. These alternatives cannot be sold in the US because they are “unproved” by the FDA.
Ron ends up smuggling these natural drugs back into the USA and starts selling them. He doesn’t actually sell the drugs, he sells memberships to the Dallas Buyers Club. $400 a month and members get the drugs for free. It’s ironic now that one of Ron’s good friends and business partner is a male transvestite.
In the supermarket, Ron actually says to his transvestite friend “now that’s the stuff that’ll rot your insides – guess what? – FDA approved” and “put that back” to which his friend says “it’s protein it’s good for you” and Ron replies “it’s processed, put it back!” – he’s trying to keep his insides healthy.
The film shows how the health system is setup to benefit big pharma and not sick people. The FDA uses doctors to keep their patients away from any drugs big pharma doesn’t profit from. They confiscated 2 years supply of something Ron got from Japan.
Ron’s still alive more than a year later. Says he’ll always have the virus, but people can live much better with it.
Now the IRS arrives and audits him. The man from the FDA arrives with police and a court order to confiscate any non approved FDA drugs. They confiscated aloe vera! Ron says “it’s a plant” but the FDA man replies “it’s improperly labeled!!”
Ron took the FDA to court but lost. The judge said he was moved by his case but didn’t have the legal authority upon which to act. The “system” at work…
Ron died of AIDS seven years after being diagnosed and told he had only 30 days.
Excellent movie! Never seen Matthew McConaughey so skinny!! Good acting even though some of the content was a bit disagreeable.
Dallas Buyers Club – Trailer
Related Links – Dallas Buyers Club