Big Bucks, Big Pharma is a short documentary about the pharmaceutical industry and asks some tough questions about the way it operates, paying particular attention to advertising, interactions with doctors and medical students, and other areas where it claims the industry is manipulating the public simply to boost sales.
Does the use of commercials sway people to ask for drugs based on their emotional response to the ads? Is this $550 billion dollar industry misrepresenting the safety of their products and using a lot of “Me too” drugs (drugs that are virtually the same) to make money? Are they trying to promote new conditions in order to repackage old drugs (such as Prozac’s reintroduction as Sarafem by Eli Lilly)? Are adverse drug reactions the 5th leading cause of death in the US, causing 100,000 deaths and 1.5 million hospitalizations a year?
“When the drug companies test their drugs and submit their evidence to the FDA to get approval they don’t have to compare the new drugs with old drugs that treat the same condition. They just have to compare their new drugs with a placebo, a sugar pill, which means that all they are really showing is that the new drug is better than nothing.”- Marcia Angell, MD former editor of New England Journal of Medicine, interview in Big Bucks, Big Pharma
According to this film, the answer to all of the above is yes. It’s quite obviously out to demonize legal drug pushers, but perhaps these are the kind of questions you want asked when you allow people to market medicine. It’s a bit unsettling. Want to be unsettled? Here’s a trailer:
Want more info? Try some of these:
no free lunch group wiki page
Even Pharma’s Good Deeds Are Criticized from Forbes