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Pain and Prejudice

Tom Sutcliffe discusses pain, suffering and infectious diseases with the historian Joanna Bourke, former health minister Norman Fowler and scientist Jeremy Farrar.

Tom Sutcliffe discusses the history of pain with the historian Joanna Bourke, who explores how our attitude to suffering has changed through the centuries. The former Conservative MP, Norman Fowler, looks back at the public health campaign that revolutionised the fight against HIV and Aids in Britain in the 1980s, and how discrimination and political expediency are hampering prevention and treatment around the world today. The Director of the Wellcome Trust, Jeremy Farrar remembers when he was a junior doctor and patients were dying of Aids because there was no treatment. He warns that the overuse and misuse of anti-biotic drugs could herald a return to the days of untreatable diseases.

Producer: Katy Hickman.

Available now

43 minutes

Joanna Bourke

Joanna Bourke is Professor of History at Birkbeck, University of London.


The Story of Pain: From Prayer to Painkillers is published by Oxford University Press.


Joanna Bourke

Norman Fowler

Norman Fowler is a former Conservative MP.


AIDS: Don’t Die of Prejudice is published by Biteback Publishing.


Lord Fowler

Jeremy Farrar

Jeremy Farrar is Director of the Wellcome Trust.


Wellcome Trust


Role Contributor
Presenter Tom Sutcliffe
Interviewed Guest Joanna Bourke
Interviewed Guest Norman Fowler
Interviewed Guest Jeremy Farrar
Producer Katy Hickman