Films on Drug Companies

Big pharmaceutical drug companies are also referred to as:  BIG PHARMA

“The USA represents five percent of the world’s population, but consumes over 50 percent of the world’s pharmaceuticals, and 80 percent of the world’s prescription narcotics. Why?”

American Addict

Documentary 2013 NR 1hr 29min. Prescription drugs and the alarming appetite for them in the United States is the focus of this sober documentary, which aims to illuminate a national health crisis. The title is misleading — the film is more about unethical practices by the pharmaceutical industry and the gross ineffectiveness of the FDA than it is about addiction to prescribed medications. The over-use of pharmaceuticals in this country is an epidemic, and this is a very good objective source of information — insightful comments coming from the mouths of doctors, researchers, and politicians. With only five percent of world population, more than 50% of all prescription drugs in the world are used in the US, and 80% of all narcotic prescription drugs are used in the US. The fourth leading cause of death in the US is medications. How can this be normal?? I’ve been reading for years about the actions of the pharmaceutical drug companies, collectively called Big Pharma, and it is nice to have it so well and so thoroughly covered. The facts put forward can be checked and verified quite easily. An excellent and riveting look at how Big Pharma are making America the most prescription-addicted society in the world.  See Full Review

Generation RX

Documentary 2008 NR 81 minutes. Filmmaker Kevin P. Miller offers this unflinching examination of the unsettling trend in the American medical establishment toward prescribing powerful psychiatric drugs for children more often — and at a younger age — than ever before. Families devastated by the consequences of overmedication share their stories, and doctors, ethicists and other medical professionals weigh in on whether pharmaceutical companies put profits before patients.  See Full Review

The Medicated Child

Documentary Frontline 2008 NR 60 minutes. This fascinating program from PBS’s “Frontline” series explores the realities and controversies surrounding the increasingly frequent prescription of behavior-modifying medication for children as young as 2 years old. Numerous experts, including psychiatrists, government regulators and scientific researchers, discuss both the dangers and the benefits of the various drugs being used to treat children with behavioral problems and mental illnesses. Ten years ago, stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall were the drugs of choice to treat behavioral issues in children. Today children as young as four years old are being prescribed more powerful anti-psychotic medications that are much less understood. The drugs can cause serious side effects and virtually nothing is known about their long-term impact. The increase in the use of anti-psychotics is directly tied to the rising incidence of one particular diagnosis — bipolar disorder. Experts estimate that the number of kids with the diagnosis is now over a million and rising. As the debate over medicating children continues to grow, Frontline producer Marcela Gaviria confronts psychiatrists, researchers, and big pharma about the risks and benefits of prescription drugs for troubled children in “The Medicated Child.”

Medicating Kids

Documentary Frontline 2001. Today, millions of American children are being prescribed powerful behavior modifying drugs such as Ritalin, Prozac, Adderall. But are these medications really necessary-and safe-for young children or merely a harried nation’s quick fix for annoying, yet age-appropriate, behavior? Frontline investigates the rapidly growing use of psychoactive drugs by children and the challenges of parenting and schooling in a world of high stress and increasing family disintegration. Through an intimate portrait of several families in an American suburb, the film explores how medication has increasingly become an integral part of caring for our kids. The documentary also examines the role of doctors, educators, pharmaceutical makers, and insurance companies in advancing this trend.

Generation RX: Reading, Writing and Ritalin

Documentary A&E; 2008 NR 50 minutes.Exploring both sides of a controversial issue, this A&E; documentary asks whether Ritalin — the tiny yellow pill prescribed to millions of kids with Attention Deficit Disorder — is a miracle cure or merely a quick fix that does more harm than good. The drug’s supporters and detractors weigh in on the sharp increase in Ritalin prescriptions since 1990 and debate its effectiveness in keeping youngsters focused at home and in the classroom.

The War on Kids

Documentary 2009 NR 1hr 35m. Filmmaker Cevin D. Soling offers this provocative documentary that examines the appalling condition of America’s public schools, which often resemble high-security prisons more than places of learning.

Orgasm Inc.

Documentary 2009 NR 78 minutes.  With humor and a wealth of research, director Liz Canner’s provocative documentary examines how drug companies promote and profit from the myth of female sexual dysfunction as they compete to produce the first FDA-approved “cure” for this condition.

NoBody’s Perfect

Documentary 2008 NR 1hr 23m. This documentary profiles thalidomiders: people born with malformed or missing limbs because their mothers took thalidomide during pregnancy. We learn about the drug that caused their disabilities in utero and we learn about their struggle to gain compensation from the drug manufacturers. How horrible that most of them have not been compensated for the horrific atrocities done to them. One person who left a big impression was the woman from Great Britain who went on the hunger strike to fight the legal battle against the pharmaceutical company who provided the poison to the unsuspecting public.


Documentary 2007 PG-13 123 minutes. Michael Moore sets his sights on the plight of the uninsured in this Oscar-nominated documentary that uses Moore’s trademark humor and confrontational style to ask the difficult questions and get to the truth behind the health care crisis. In the world’s richest country, 45 million people have no health insurance, while HMOs grow in size and wealth. Moore also explores the widespread use of antidepressants and their possible link to violence.See Full Review

Charlie Bartlett

Dramadey 2007 R 97 minutes. This comedy follows the exploits of Charlie Bartlett, a kid that gets kicked out of private school and goes to public school with the intention of becoming popular and finds a novel way to fit in with his classmates: by pretending to be the school psychiatrist, dispensing advice and the occasional prescription medicine. The film was designed to “sound like a comedy, but look like a drama.”

Happy Valley

Documentary 2007 PG-13 90 minutes. Director R.K. Williams goes behind the shiny façade of a seemingly idyllic Utah community to explore the deep secret many of its residents share: addiction to prescription drugs and other substances. Potent, personal testimonials from recovering addicts and candid interviews with local police, doctors and others also reveal the stifling environment of shame and denial that both hides and contributes to the problem.

Dangerous Prescription

Documentary Frontline 2003. As medications play an ever-increasing role in modern health care, the importance of FDA approval to consumers, it would seem, has never been greater. For many consumers, the phrase “FDA approved” signifies that a drug or product is completely safe and without risk. But just how much does the average American know about the FDA approval process and what it can — and cannot — do? How good is the FDA’s system for identifying drugs that don’t work or cause harm? And what happens when a harmful product makes its way into consumers’ hands? Frontline investigates the FDA and drug safety, and questions whether the current system is adequate for protecting the public.

The Other Drug War

Documentary Frontline 2003. As Congress seems closer than ever to passing a new Medicare prescription drug benefit for seniors, Frontline investigates the conflict between major pharmaceutical companies and American consumers who now pay the highest drug prices in the world. Through interviews with legislators, scientists, consumers, and industry leaders, Frontline examines how states like Maine and Oregon have moved to control escalating prescription drug costs in the face of strong opposition from the pharmaceutical industry, which argues reducing drug prices will ultimately reduce the number of new innovative drugs they will develop.

Dying For Drugs

Documentary UK 2003.  A powerful international investigation of the global pharmaceutical industry. Every year, many new drugs come to market which offer hope to the sick and dying. They also bring billions of pounds into the coffers of the pharmaceutical industry, making “Big Pharmacy” the most profitable and powerful business on Earth. Two years in the making, this film investigates just how far drug companies are prepared to go to get their drugs approved; what they will do to make sure they get the prices they want and what happens when profits are put before people.

Link to see Dying for Drugs online free.

Love and Other Drugs

Docudrama 2010 R 112 minutes. Pharmaceutical representative Jamie Randall (Jake Gyllenhaal) becomes a player in the big game of male-performance-enhancement-drug sales and, along the way, finds unexpected romance with a woman (Anne Hathaway) suffering from Parkinson’s disease. Based on the real-life Jamie Reidy’s memoir, Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman, this satirical look inside the culture of Big Pharm is directed by Edward Zwick.


Documentary 2007 PG-13 123 minutes. Michael Moore sets his sights on the plight of the uninsured in this Oscar-nominated documentary that uses Moore’s trademark humor and confrontational style to ask the difficult questions and get to the truth behind the health care crisis. In the world’s richest country, 45 million people have no health insurance, while HMOs grow in size and wealth. Moore also explores the widespread use of antidepressants and their possible link to violence.


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