Films on Pharma (Pharmaceuticals)

FILMS ON PHARMA (DRUG COMPANIES)

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.

Sicko

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

Dramedey 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.

The Constant Gardener

Thriller 2005 R 129 minutes. Adaptation of a John LeCarre novel. Justin Quayle (Ralph Fiennes), a member of the British High Commission based in Africa, launches a quest for the truth and begins his own international investigation when his wife (Rachel Weisz, in an Oscar-winning turn) is murdered. She attempts to uncover a plot by a huge pharmaceutical company to conduct horrible and dangerous tests on young children in Kenya. Not even the rumors of his wife’s infidelity will stop him from uncovering what really happened to her — a conspiracy that’s much more dangerous than he ever imagined.

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.

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.

Sicko

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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