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?
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.