The ever-prolific Alex Gibney is back with yet another documentary. The Crime of the Century is a two-part HBO doc that “exposes the billions of dollars gained and thousands of lives lost due to the opioid crisis.” The documentary features never-before-seen company videos from Purdue Pharma and Insys Therapeutics; exclusive interviews with former pharma sales reps who discuss in detail the unethical and illegal practices of bribing doctors and encouraging them to prescribe high doses of opioids; interviews with former DEA insiders and officials, including Joe Rannazzisi who was leading major investigations into complex pharmaceutical networks; and more. Watch The Crime of the Century trailer below.
The Crime of the Century Trailer
An opioid epidemic has been plaguing the United States since the 1990s, with a report from December 2017 estimating 130 people die every day in the United States from an opioid-related drug overdose. Now, Alex Gibney, a filmmaker who is apparently able to make a new documentary every month, trains his camera on the crisis with The Crime of the Century.
The two-part doc, presented in association with The Washington Post, is described as “a searing indictment of Big Pharma and the political operatives and government regulations that enabled over-production, reckless distribution and abuse of synthetic opiates.” The documentary will explore “the origins, extent, and fallout of one of the most devastating public health tragedies of our time, with half a million deaths from overdoses this century alone, revealing that America’s opioid epidemic is not a public health crisis that came out of nowhere.”
Here’s more info:
The opioid crisis has resulted in a country ravaged by corporate greed and betrayed by some of its own elected officials, following the aggressive promotion of OxyContin, a highly addictive drug from family-owned pharmaceutical giant Purdue Pharma. With the help of whistleblowers, insiders, newly-leaked documents, exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes access to investigations, and featuring expert input from medical professionals, journalists, former and current government agents, attorneys and pharmaceutical sales representatives, as well as sobering testimony from victims of opioid addiction, Gibney’s exposé posits that drug companies are in fact largely responsible for manufacturing the very crisis they profit from, to the tune of billions of dollars… and hundreds of thousands of lives.
While America’s silent epidemic was killing 40 people per day, Insys Therapeutics, an upstart opioid manufacturer of fentanyl, continued to bribe doctors to overprescribe. Startling video of sales retreats and promotional material speak to a deep cynicism among company employees and a disregard for the widespread, nefarious corporate practices. A complex scheme to defraud the insurance companies existed side by side with fraudulent marketing tactics while lawmakers – often flush with campaign donations from Big Pharma – worked to undermine law enforcement and turned a blind eye to the implications of a complex pipeline that delivers billions of opioid pills around the country.
The first part of The Crime of the Century premieres on Monday, May 10, with part two airing the following evening.
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