Bad Medicine: The Prescription Drug Industry in the Third World

By Milton Silverman; Mia Lydecker et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter 7
BANGLADESH AND THE NOBLE EXPERIMENT

India finally won its independence from the British Empire in 1947. Two nations were created out of British India: Pakistan, a Muslim state, and India, a secular state. Pakistan was divided into two sections, East and West. In 1971, after a bloody nine-months civil war, the two Pakistans separated and the eastern portion became Bangladesh.

Today Bangladesh might seem to be an almost inconsequential Third World nation. With its population of approximately 112 million and an area of only 56,000 square miles, it represents barely three- tenths of one percent of the land mass of Asia. It is, however, a crowded land: Whereas the population density is roughly 66 persons per square mile in the United States, 284 in the People's Republic of China, 334 in Pakistan, and 612 in India, it is estimated to be 2,000 per square mile in Bangladesh--much as if one-fourth of the population of the United States were jammed into a state the size of Wisconsin.

Bangladesh is predominantly a flat tableland, only a little above sea level. It is bordered on the west and the north by several Indian states, on the east by a small stretch of Burma (now Myanmar), and on the south by the Indian Ocean. Three river systems--the Meghna, the Ganges flowing out of India, and the Brahmaputra coming out of Tibet and Assam--make possible an enormous network of water trans-

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