Dying to Survive (Wo bushi yao shen, 2018)

Hong Kong Edko Films Ltd. DVD edition

Text written 2021-08-24


This popular Chinese drama (with some comedy) is based on the real events of Lu Yong, a real life leukemia patient that due to the
exorbitant prices of the medicine set by the Big Pharma and protected by corrupt officials started his own parallell import of cheap
Indian medicine, smuggling it into China and selling it to poor sick people suffering from CML (Chronic Myeloid Leukemia) who
couldn't afford to buy the overprized medicines sold by Big Pharma.

This film was a big Hit in China and it won a whole bunch of Film Festival awards, best film, best actor, best etc. etc.

In the intro to this film a Hindi song is played, why ? Cheng Yong (Xu Zheng) runs a drugstore in Shanghai in 2002 - "The Good
Oil Shop" where he sells (or tries to sell) Indian oils, but nobody buys his products and he's broke and can't pay his rent.
He can't pay the healthcare for his elderly father and his ex-wife wants to take his son from him as he can't afford to raise him.
In China healthcare and school costs a lot of money, something that surprised me, a more capitalistic society than i thought.
One day a man, Lu (Eric Wang) gives him a proposition - that Cheng Yong smuggles the generic Indian CML medicine into China
and that Lu then provides the buyers through his contacts and network, being sick and dying in leukemia himself.

Zhang Yu as the Yellow Haired guy

A bottle of German medicine "Glinic" pills selling for 37 000 yuan in China and the one bought in India selling for 2 000 yuan.
Poor people sick in leukemia are demonstrating against the costs for the Big Pharma company's medicine, but a snotty CEO
guy of the company ignores them. Yes, there's probably a Deep State in China too with corrupted officials and politicians.
Just as in the USA with their millions of homeless, sick and opioid victims living in the street treated as garbage by a whole
House of rotten to the core by corruption Representatives looking to the interests of the 1 % richest in the country.

But it's illegal to sell these smuggled medicines in China, and how to get sick people to start trying their medicine ?
They need a contact, a channel, and they find Si Hui (Tan Zhuo) a Go-Go dancer at a nightclub who leads an Internet group
and has a sick in leukemia daughter and they also gets the help from the Yellow haired guy.
Their business is flourishing but Cheng Yong is in it only for the money and he's not that likeable either, BUT the question
is - will he change during the course of the film ? Does Panda bears shi - in the bamboo woods ?

The police tries to stop the flooding of "counterfeit" pills, and this regardless if they work or if they are sold legally in India
or not, and the hunt are led by inspector Cao Bin, the brother of Cheng Yong's ex-wife.
The real events took place somewhere around 2002-2004 and the case of Lu Yong resulted in the Chinese authorities taking
measures against the Big Pharma and overprized medicines.

The film is presented in anamorphic widescreen and with mandarin DD 5.1 audio with english subtitles, region 3 and as
extras a Theatrical trailer and a Photo Gallery

 

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