Th e Problem of Chemical Multitudes
Between April and August 1990 nearly a hundred infants and children mys-
teriously died of kidney failure in Plateau State, located in the central part of
Nigeria. Th e Plateau State Ministry of Health, located in the city of Jos, is-
sued a report that listed symptoms indicative of a severe hemorrhagic virus
(Alubo 1994).1 Toward the end of that period, a second wave of deaths oc-
curred in Ibadan, Oyo State, located in southwest Nigeria. Th ere, twenty-
six children suff ered many of the same symptoms, and twenty- four of them
consequently died. Clinicians at the University of Ibadan apparently did not
suspect a virus but rather a problem with the drugs they had administered
Chemical Multitudes
Fake Drugs and Pharmaceutical Regulation in Nigeria
Holly Martins looked directly at Harry Lime and asked, “Have you ever visited the children’s
hospital? Have you ever seen any of your victims?”
“Victims?” replied Harry, pointing to the small children moving below them, appear-
ing as small dots in the far distance. “Would you really feel any pity if one of those dots
stopped moving forever? If I said you can have £20,000 for every dot that stops, would you
really, old man, tell me to keep my money? Without hesitation?”
—The Third Man, directed by Carol Reed, 1949
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