There have been several films about the evils of Big Pharma but Legal Death: In Drugs We Trust, a new film series in development promises, to be the most unsparing. Unlike academics and medical groups who express "concerns" about Pharma tactics while not wanting to lose its funding, Filmmaker Tim Alexander clearly takes no Pharma money.
Alexander's film project was motivated by the death of his first cousin in April at the hands of someone under the influence of psychoactive drugs. Karen Smith, a San Bernardino schoolteacher and mother of four, was murdered along with an 8-year-old student by her estranged husband in front of horrified students in her classroom. The killer was Cedric Anderson, a minister and childhood friend of Alexanders whose entire personality changed on psychoactive drugs. Anderson had married Alexander and his wife just a year before his deadly deeds.
The murder echoes hundreds and possibly thousands of others recorded in published reports Alexander soon discovered.
How bad is the grip Pharma has on the U.S. population? Today, an estimated one in four U.S. adults is on antidepressants. One in eight is on a psychoactive drug. More than 160 die daily from opioids. Since the debut of direct-to-consumer advertising----in which TV watchers ask doctors for drugs they know they need from a disease they diagnose themselves----Pharma has become the third most profitable industry in the U.S.
Years ago, the stated goal of Pharma giants was to have healthy people not just sick ones on drugs--quadrupling profits.
The plan worked. One night in 1997, as Americans were parked on the couch for their usual episode of Touched By An Angel or Seinfeld, they saw an ad for Claritin, the first prescription drug promoted directly to the consumer. Soon, ads for Meridia, Vioxx, Viagra, Singulair, Allegra, Lipitor and especially antidepressants like Paxil and Prozac followed. Antidepressants were a cash cow for Pharma when it discovered that people with real life problems with their job, the economy and their family would term it "depression" and take a drug. Ka-ching.
Soon diseases were created or overplayed, sometimes called disease du jours. Risks of disease and fears that a condition would get worse, were whipped up to sell drugs. Extreme drugs were marketed when milder and cheaper drugs would do. By 2006, Pharma was spending $5.5 billion a year on DTC advertising----as much the U.S. government was spending in an entire month in the Iraq War.
No one complained. TV stations, doctors, medical schools, hospitals, medical journals and health web sites loved the Pharma revenue and patients liked to get drugs for the "diseases" they believed they had. There was no money in yelling that the morgues are filling up from suicides, homicides and drug overdoses.
As Legal Death: In Drugs We Trust points out, children, the elderly in nursing homes and members of the military are among the biggest victims of the Pharma con to medicate the most vulnerable with SSRIs, opioids, and atypical antipsychotics (like the best selling Abilify) at taxpayer expense.
(Article changed on September 15, 2017 at 16:58)
(Article changed on September 15, 2017 at 17:02)