West Wing
In This White House

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In This White House

In the Roosevelt Room, the drug company spokesmen, Nimbala, and assorted hangers-on have gathered. One of the spokesmen is saying, "This isn't about profit --" when Nimbala interrupts, saying, "Sir..." The spokesman tries again, and Nimbala says, "Sir, you have interrupted me again." Guess we'll have to take his word for it. Through his interpreter, Nimbala asks why the same drug costs twice as much in the Republic of Equatorial Kuhndu as it does in Norway. When did Norway become the standard for price comparison? Just wondering. Spokesman #2 says that he doesn't think that's the issue, and Toby steps in to suggest, "Let's make it the issue." Spokesman #1 starts to argue, and Nimbala, again through his interpreter says, "I am the one who asked you the question. I'd appreciate it if you directed your answer to me." Whoa, the guy was responding to Toby! Nimbala's just looking to take offense. Spokesman #1 testily says that a different price is set for small pharmacies like the ones in Norway. He adds, "Retail mark-up, taxes, pharmacy discounts...these things vary widely." He leaves out transportation costs, which I still think is an obvious factor. Maybe I'm wrong, I dunno. Spokesman #2 points out, "Not to mention the fact that we don't even know if the drugs are getting to your citizens." Nimbala says that they're implying "corruption and incompetence" on his part. Spokesman #2 notes, "We do have reports of that, Mr. President." Nimbala says that their company makes a billion dollars annually selling Fluconazole. Spokesman #1 asks what his point is. Toby says, "I think President Nimbala's saying that there's more money in giving a white guy an erection than curing a black guy of AIDS." Fluconazole is used to treat fungal infections. Did this conversation just skip a track? No one mentioned Viagra, but Toby responded as if someone had. I'm so confused. Spokesman #1 says, "My company has given away over $120 million worth of free drugs a year." He mentions that one of those drugs is being used to cure eye infections in Kuhndu. Toby says, "They're not dying from eye infections, Alan." I'm so happy to learn that one of the spokesmen has a name. Alan says, "Well, they're not dying 'cause of me either, Toby. And I'd like not to be talked to this way." Toby says, "If it was twenty-six million Europeans dying, we'd have had a solution yesterday." He's not wrong. Josh finally speaks up and asks, "How much would it cost for you to provide free drugs to the Sahelise Republic, Kenya, and the Republic of Equatorial Kuhndu?" Alan says he doesn't know. Josh helps with the math: "We're talking about 130,000 patients, 200 milligram pills, three times a day every day. What's the X-factor?" Alan replies, "We don't know how long they'll live." Toby suggests that it's time for a break as we fade out.

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West Wing

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