Belgian anti-Big Pharma doctor Van Duppen, RIP

This video is about the presentation of Dirk Van Duppen’s last book in the Roma theatre in Antwerp, Belgium on 9 February 2020.

Translated from Belgian (right-wing Roman Catholic) daily De Standaard today:

Doctor and politician Dirk Van Duppen (63) passed away

Dirk Van Duppen, one of the prominent doctors of Medicine for the People, passed away on Monday evening. [His leftist political party] PVDA confirms this. Van Duppen had been suffering from cancer for some time.

Van Duppen became known to the general public as the ‘communist general practitioner’ (because of his PVDA membership), an ardent advocate of Medicine for the People and as the creator of the kiwi model. In it, governments have to issue public offers for medicines and only reimburse the cheapest bidder. Van Duppen was not a fan of the big pharmaceutical companies throughout his life. “A sick business model,” he called it. “I have to push on it or nothing will change.”

At the beginning of this year he was still on the stage of the Roma [theatre in Antwerp] to present his new and also last book: “This is how the time allotted to me went.” Van Duppen already knew that he was terminal. He was diagnosed with an aggressive form of pancreatic cancer last year. Monday night he lost the fight at the age of 63.

Also from De Standaard. 15 February 2020:

“I see that my life has made sense”

A Marxist who hates dogma. A doctor who works for a worker’s wage. A terminally ill man who is hopeful. Dirk Van Duppen, figurehead of Medicine for the People and PVDA politician, is it all. An adieu. “Not many people are lucky enough to be able to go to their end like this.”

By Ann-Sofie Dekeyser

Sunday 9 February, 5.15 pm. “O bella ciao, ciao, ciao! / O partigiano, portami via / ché mi sento di morir.” The Roma in Borgerhout is filled to the brim. The venue was sold out in three days. 1,350 people are standing. Some put their left fists in the air, others wipe away a tear. They sing the partisan song full heart. The translation on the red screen does not allow any misunderstandings. “Oh comrades, take me / Because it feels like I’m dying.”

Translated from the site of Van Duppen’s PVDA party, 31 March 2020:

He devoted his life to the most noble cause: caring for others. “In the struggle of life, you’ll find more love. And in the struggle, you will be loved also “, he liked to quote Woody Guthrie‘s famous song. Happiness was for him: being able to mean something to others. …

As chairman of Medicine for the People, he tirelessly went to war against the scheming of Big Pharma and launched the kiwi model for affordable medicines. “Health should not be a commodity on the market. Healthcare must be public, high-quality and accessible”, he argued. That couldn’t be more topical today.

Dirk recognized the dockworkers’ back ailments as an occupational disease, earning him the honorary title of “straight-backed doctor”. But Dirk was also an activist for healthy air. He helped prevent the construction of the Lange Wapperbrug in Antwerp.

That bridge would have generated much air pollution by cars.

And as a PVDA city councilor, he mobilized the people of Antwerp against the water shutoffs by the Antwerp local authorities.

1 thought on “Belgian anti-Big Pharma doctor Van Duppen, RIP

  1. “Pharma corporation Eli Lilly could have lowered the price of insulin at any time. It’s already a public health emergency that millions of Americans cannot afford their insulin. Just like the COVID-19 response, it’s time for the government to step in and save lives.”

    There’s already a longstanding health emergency for millions of Americans: the outrageously high price of insulin. After their initial discovery, Canadian researchers sold the patent to insulin for $1.1

    Yet, the reprehensible greed of the pharmaceutical industry has led to years of outrageously high prices. Millions of Americans struggle to pay for their insulin. Many cannot pay. Some die. That’s the formula for how Eli Lilly profits.

    This formula has always worked just fine for Eli Lilly: until now. During a worldwide pandemic, Eli Lilly is arbitrarily deciding to limit the price of its insulin.2 Since millions of Americans already struggle to pay for insulin, finding out that Eli Lilly could have lowered its prices at any point is adding insult to injury. It shouldn’t take people suffering and dying from a pandemic, in addition to the people already suffering and dying from a lack of insulin, to spur action to bring down the exorbitant price of insulin.

    ADD YOUR NAME: Outrageous insulin prices have always been a public health emergency!

    It doesn’t have to be this way. There are many steps the U.S. government could take to lower the price of insulin. If the government needs to act aggressively to stem the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s equally apparent that the government has needed to act boldly to lower the price of insulin for years. The outrageous price of insulin is also a clear threat to public health.

    The U.S. government should commit to begin public production of insulin. Now is the time to unrig the generic market. Now is the time to increase competition. Now is the time to save lives by putting insulin within reach for millions of Americans. Let’s demand that Congress act boldly to meet the moment and save more lives.

    Tell Congress: Now is the time to save more lives by lowering the price of insulin!


    Alex Lawson
    Drug Prices Are Too High


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