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The Dallas Buyers Club: Casanova Cowboy

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The Dallas Buyers Club is a movie of Woodroof, an electrician, and the Casanova cowboy who contracted AIDS in the 1980s. He found out that he has only 30 days to live refused to accept the reality and began to try all forms of treatments in the hope for a cure. He smuggled in unapproved experimental drugs sold them among AIDS patients and formed The Dallas Buyers Club.

In the movie, Woodroof sued the FDA and demanded access to peptide T (This trend is quite common). Patients with terminal diseases have often filed lawsuits to get access to experimental drugs that have shown encouraging results even though they have not been approved yet. For example, when the squamous cell cancer patient was denied a ray of hope, a then-experimental drug Erbitux, the Patient’s father petitioned the govt and filed a lawsuit against FDA for not granting access to her daughter and other terminally ill patients (Zawistowski). Similar lawsuits were filed for special/early access to anti-HIV drugs too when the epidemic was at its highest.

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Woodroof enrolled himself in a clinical trial for AZT. He did not know if he is getting the drug or the placebo in the randomized control trial. He bribed the hospital staff to get access to the drug. He developed a bad drug reaction and claimed the drug as toxic. He later became a supporter of peptide T. Though the movie showed that AZT was completely toxic to Woodroof, in reality, AZT is highly effective against HIV. The movie is not completely accurate in this regard as AZT is still being used today and is an effective anti-viral drug. The main problem with AZT monotherapy was drug resistance. This was later dealt with by using triple-drug therapy to combat drug resistance.

The movie helped the general public understand the process that goes into producing and testing a drug. It also showed an accurate picture of how HIV is transmitted, and which age group is at a higher risk of getting infected. The challenges faced by HIV-positive patients were also well presented. The movie did an excellent job of creating awareness on how HIV can be prevented.

Another movie “Contagion ” can be considered as a good example as it fits the current scenario: The outbreak of the Zoonotic disease (animal to human transmitted disease), Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). The movie “Contagion”(2011), Direction: Steven Soderbergh and story: Scott Z. Burns, showed the occurrence of the deadly virus that began in Hong Kong and made its way across the globe, brought to the US by an American woman who went on a business trip to Hong Kong where she contracted the virus and transmitted to several people before reaching home.

Overall, the movie was quite accurate and did well to educate the audience on how viruses are spread but the only inaccuracy is how quickly scientists were able to develop a vaccine once the diseases raged on(Woodward). The story of this movie focuses on the effects of the virus, shows the importance of social distancing, and other do’s and don’ts to keep in perspective during the pandemic disease. 

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