Prison Radio
Mumia Abu-Jamal

The great Black activist and artist, Paul Robeson, in 1958, in Carnegie Hall, sang the gospel song, ‘Balm in Gilead’:

♪Therrre is a balmmm in Gileaaad,
♪To make the wounded who–oole!♪….

His full, magnificent baritone filled the Hall with wonder.

These words in song sprang back from over half a century, when the news emerged of a big pharmaceutical, Gilead Sciences, Inc., buying the drug sofosbuvir–and then tripling its preferred price, to treat hundreds of thousands of people, suffering from Hepatitis C.

Hepatitis C is a liver infection (inflammation), which can untreat, lead to immense suffering and death.

Sofosbuvir, sold under the names Harvoni and Sovaldi, is more than a treatment: it is a cure, with healing rates of over 95%. And it now goes for $1,000— as pill.

A full course of treatment?

Over $100,000.

Is there a balm in Gilead?
Yup. There is.
But only a few can afford it.

To quote Paul Robeson, in the words of this cherished Negro spiritual,
♪There is a balm in Gilead,
♪To make the wounded whooole—-♪♪

But if you can’t afford it, you die.