Coming to theatres today, Friday, December 7:
DRUG$: THE PRICE WE PAY
Jonathan Marshall Thompson
NYC theatrical (December 2018)
An exploration of the power and influence of Big Pharma in fixing drug prices.
Jaw dropping increases in prescription drug prices have been the subject of consumer outrage and media coverage in recent years, such as the surging cost of the Epipen and “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli’s shameless tactics with Daraprim. Thompson seeks out how and why the pharmaceutical industry is able to get away with practices that place medically necessary drugs out of reach for many, all in the name of profit, including the historically negative impact of direct marketing of drugs to consumers, political lobbying, and practices like evergreening to prevent generics from being released. The film convincingly debunks the usual arguments around recouping R&D costs and the old saw that like any corporation, Big Pharma is beholden to investors to maximize profits, offering ethical counterpoints such as the case of Jonas Salk, who refused to patent or profit off of his polio vaccine, instead making it available for the public good. Workmanlike and uncinematic in approach, and best suited to the small screen, the project does offer enough useful information and righteous indignation to serve as a call to action to concerned viewers.