Alex Gibney has a new documentary The Crime of the Century that looks at the opioid drug crisis and the shameless role played by the big pharmaceutical companies like Purdue and the Sackler family who profited greatly from the deaths of many people and the destruction of families and communities, topics that I have covered many times before. They were aided and abetted in their crimes by government officials and lawmakers who cut deals with the Sacklers and top Purdue executives to allow them to escape the consequences of their actions and retain their ill-gotten billions.
Here is a detailed review by Saloni Gajjar.
The docuseries dives into the history of how pharmaceutical companies began and fueled the crisis in the 1990s; the duplicity of the healthcare industry; and the government’s failure to stop the drug push.
The docuseries is essential viewing for anyone looking to learn about the drastic losses caused by the greed of a few influential industrialists, medical professionals, and government employees. But when tallying up those losses, it overlooks the marginalized communities most gravely impacted by the opioid crisis. At no point during its combined four-hour run time does the docuseries even mention how people of color or those from impoverished backgrounds were disproportionately affected. The Crime Of The Century isn’t about the victims of the opioid crisis but the villains of this situation, offering a much-needed look into how intense marketing pushes and fraudulent insurance claims helped cause this chaos in the first place.
The Crime Of The Century is a well-researched deep dive into the rise of the illegal distribution of Oxycontin, fentanyl, and heroin over the years, focusing on a few of the players who were directly responsible. The first part centers on Purdue Pharma leaders and owners, the Sackler family, who financially benefitted when the company started distributing Oxycontin in 1996. Their devastating decision to ignore how their drugs cause addiction and death set the course for other medical companies to do the same. The second episode dwells more on how the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) tried to build a case against several of them, featuring interviews with agents like Joseph Rannazzisi, who was kicked out of the agency after pushing for investigations of drug companies.
Alas, I will not be able to see it because it is being shown on HBO and I do not subscribe to the cable channel but I am passing the information on to others who might be interested.
Here’s the trailer.
Trevor Noah talked to Gibney about the film..