After seeing this movie, I did some more research into the Dallas Buyers Club. I learned that the writers took quite a bit of dramatic license in the telling of this tale. For example, the characters portrayed by Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner were created exclusively for the movie. Those who knew the real Ron Woodruff have also said that Matthew McConaughey portrayed him as a little rougher than he actually was. All that aside, the overall point of film and real-life story remain the same … it provided yet another shining example of our government interfering and infringing on our private health care decisions.
At the time Ron Woodruff was diagnosed with AIDS, America was roughly 8 years into the epidemic yet there was still so much unknown about the illness. For those who haven’t yet seen the film; Ron started on the only medication approved and available in the United States at the time … AZT. It didn’t work for him and almost killed him so he decided to take his life into his own hands. He began researching findings and treatments that were being used in other parts of the world. Once he found what he thought would be the right mix of medications he began acquiring them from around the globe. Word got around and other victims of this disease started looking to get what he had … and the Dallas Buyers Club was born.
Here’s where things get interesting. The bigger the club got, the more attention it generated … In comes the FDA. Under the guise of concern about the dangers of these “unproven” medications, they began hassling Mr. Woodruff every chance they got. Going so far as to confiscate vitamins simply for not being labeled according to government specifications, the harassment went on for years. Ron went on a one-man crusade against the FDA that lasted right up until the day he died. When he wasn’t busy obtaining more of the life-saving drugs, he was busy informing the public of his struggles and pointing out the hypocrisy of the FDA and how they’re hurting the little people dragging their feet to research/approve anything that doesn’t have a big fat check attached to it.
Our main take-away from this movie, as well as the real Dallas Buyers Club, is that Ron Woodruff is right. This is supposed to be the land of the free, yet the government continues to interfere our ability to lead our own lives and control our own destiny. Just like the current status of medical marijuana research, the FDA defers to the big checks of big pharma so they can continue to push their chemical drugs all the while ignoring a natural healer that grows naturally right in our own backyards.
Read the article that started it all here: The Original Story About the Dallas Buyer’s Club, entitled Buying Time by Bill Minutaglio