Big Bucks, Big Pharma: Marketing Disease and Pushing Drugs

Big Bucks, Big Pharma: Marketing Disease and Pushing Drugs
Directed by Ronit Ridberg

“In recent years, Big Pharma has pushed its way into the traditional doctor/patient relationship and found a new way to increase sales by targeting patients directly and independently, largely through television advertising. Between 1996 and 2004, industry spending on direct-to-consumer advertising (or DTC) rose over 500 percent.”

Big Bucks, Big Pharma pulls back the curtain on the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical industry to expose the insidious ways that illness is used, manipulated, and in some instances created, for capital gain. Focusing on the industry’s marketing practices, media scholars and health professionals help viewers understand the ways in which direct-to-consumer (DTC) pharmaceutical advertising glamorizes and normalizes the use of prescription medication, and works in tandem with promotion to doctors. Combined, these industry practices shape how both patients and doctors understand and relate to disease and treatment. Ultimately, Big Bucks, Big Pharma challenges us to ask important questions about the consequences of relying on a for-profit industry for our health and well-being.