Gregg Siegel
Business Communications Copywriter

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Glaxo Pharmaceuticals: "The Value of Medicine" 

Draft Video Script



Opening visual is a sick ward. Coughing and other ambient sounds are heard under. Screen cuts to close ups of faces of the sick with each quick-cut comment below, quotes from  frantic citizens, a doctor and a newscaster. Narrator quickly follows.


(Note that any visual that can be readily fixed in time steals our "surprise," so photo or photos, although from the era of TB, should be as "timeless" as possible.)


"First the fever, and the cough, and then they just start spitting up blood"


"In my experience, I've never seen anything else like it. Young, otherwise healthy people are dying. And there seems to be nothing I can do."


"Someone with the disease walks into a store, and he can infect everyone in there."


"Scientists have determined that the so-called white plague is caused by a previously unknown bacillus. The organism's thick, waxy shell makes it impervious to any known drug and..."


Newscaster voice fades under slow, sad music. As narrator begins, a pulp science fiction paperback book (in animation) fills the screen. It has a title such as "The Plague That Ate Mankind." At the appropriate time, it dissolves into a real newspaper from the period, with dramatic but historically accurate headline and subhead such as "Fifty Million Infected in New York! Can Science Stop TB?"


A doomsday scenario from a bestselling science fiction novel? Unfortunately, the comments are all too real, based on events in the U.S. and Europe within this century. The white plague, also called tuberculosis, has been a scourge since antiquity, and, by the mid-19th century was killing one in every seven people. Millions were dying every year--most of them productive adults in the prime of their lives. To many, it did seem like the end of civilization was at hand.


Rising music enters. Screen fills with montage of TB-era research-related shots--laboratories, test tubes, scientists scanning x-rays, and so on.


Mankind won its first major battle with TB in 1882, when Robert Koch, through innovative research techniques, isolated the infectious organism tubercle bacilli. For the next several decades, researchers at facilities around the world, working together and working separately,  began looking for a way to destroy the germ--before it destroyed us.


(Animation) Petri dish with microbes, hand enters with medicine dropper. Drop falls and puff of smoke emerges from dish.


Several times, researchers felt triumph as they watched newly discovered drugs destroy the bacilli in the laboratory, only to taste disappointment as their cures proved too toxic for their animal subjects. 


(Animation continues) An obviously different hand and dropper, this drop falls with no effect.


Penicillin, the newly discovered miracle drug which was curing such scourges as pneumonia and scarlet fever, had no impact on the bacilli.


Historical photo of solitary researcher deep in study. Perhaps soundtrack includes sounds of bombs falling.

But, even with the expense and distraction of two world wars, research continued, led by brilliant scientists in many countries, most funded by the leading pharmaceutical companies of the day. Mankind seemed to realize that losing its war with TB could have even more dire consequences.


Split screen animation, with microscopes on either side. One contains a soil sample, the other tablets (of aspirin). Names of drugs scroll across the appropriate side as the narrator speaks them.


In the early 1940s, researchers achieved several breakthroughs in quick succession, discovering drugs deadly to bacilli but safe for its human hosts. The first such drugs were streptomycin, extracted from a mold found in New Jersey soil, and para-aminosalicylic acid, synthesized from ordinary aspirin.


Graph of tuberculosis deaths every ten years, showing steep decline.  At appropriate time, names of tuberculosis drugs scroll across screen: Streptomycin, Para-aminosalicylic acid, Isoniazid, Rifampicin, Pyrazinamide, Ethambutol, Cycloserine, Ethionamide.


With these drugs available and used in combination, death rates dropped sharply, but research continued, working to produce more than a half dozen different drugs to combat resistant strains of the hardy tubercle bacilli. By the early 1980s, deaths by tuberculosis were down 99% in the United States.


Rising music. Animation of medicine dropper dropping on disease names, which "melt away" as they are hit: Smallpox, Polio, Malaria, Typhus, Cholera, Rabies, Yellow Fever.


The fight against TB is just one example of innovative research saving millions of lives and countless billions in healthcare and lost productivity costs. In just the last two centuries, medical research has discovered drugs to combat infectious killers that have plagued mankind for centuries.


Same animation, but flowing back from the area where the conquered infectious diseases dissolved, names of other diseases rise: AIDS, Sepsis, Streptococcus A, Staphylococcus aureus, Hepatitis, Tuberculosis, Drug-resistant microbes.


But there are new, and potentially even more deadly battles to be fought and won. AIDS. Sepsis. Streptococcus A. Staphylococcus aureus. Hepatitis. And perhaps most frightening, tuberculosis. In the last few years, doctors have treated cases in which TB microbes, often in combination with AIDS, demonstrate resistance to the drugs that have kept them under control for decades.


Ward photo from opening. Sounds of coughing, etc.


The battle against disease is never-ending. Old killers are brought under control, but new ones are constantly emerging.


Previous screen dissolves to montage of research-oriented photos, reminiscent of TB research screen top page 2, but contemporary.


Humankind's first line of defense lies with systematic and innovative medical research performed by the best minds that science has to offer.


Screen splits so sick ward and research montage are on opposite sides. Title "The Value of Medicine" appears as music rises to close.


Investment in their work is vital to a healthy future.


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Gregg Siegel

Business Communications Copywriter

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