Olle Hansson was an icon of the activist medical profession and wrote a classic in medical investigative exposure. The book was called ‘INSIDE CIBA GEIGY’ and published in Penang, Malaysia in 1989. It is an amazing piece and we like to share the foreword written by Anwar Fazal, former President of International Organisation of Consumers Union(IOCU), co-founder of Health Action International (HAI) and the instigator for the idea of a People Health Assembly.
‘Olle was a very special inspiration to us. His courage, his competence, his commitment were rare in a profession that is more often too comfortable or too implicated to speak out against a powerful industry.’
His passing on 23 May 1985 was mourned not by words but by a series of actions that will continue to inspire those working to see a more responsible pharmaceutical industry worldwide.
May 23 has been designated as Olle Hansson Day and is celebrated as a day of action in India and several other countries. An Olle Hansson Award used to be made each year to a Third World person whose action for rational drug policies demonstrate the fine qualities of Olle, whose words, ‘Now is the time for Action’ will be a rallying call for all times.
What this book is about can be seen here – stated by the four editors, or here.
Olle Hansson Day in Kerala: KSSP in Kerala observed Olle Hanson Day by organising a memorial meeting at Medical College Alapuzha, Kerala A large number of medical students and doctors participated. We had earlier translated the book into Malayalam, (Dr B Ekbal, HAIAP Member)
Update 2021: KSSP (People’s Science Movement in Kerala ) had published in 1986 May 23 on the first death Anniversary of Dr Olle Hansson the book “Banned, Bannable and Essential Drugs’ byDr B Ekbal. Around 40,000 copies of the book were sold in the first year itself. and it was translated into other Indian languages. Kerala observes Dr Olle Hansson day every year but could not do so in 2000 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 situation.
Sri Lanka: ‘INSIDE CIBA GEIGY’ has been used as a resource for many years in discussions and teaching sessions to motivate health activists. It is a catalyst for many activities. (Dr Manuj Weerasinghe, Sri Lanka, HAIAP Member)