Directed by Anne Georget • Documentary • 2011 • 52 minutes
A woman in the grip of pre-menstrual dysphoric disease slams grocery carts outside a supermarket in frustration. A concerned young Japanese woman asks her husband if he has ever been happy. Peppy actors in lab coats reassure the audience that depression is like 'a cold of the soul.' These are scenes from some of the many pharmaceutical ads that pepper BRANDING ILLNESS, an eye-opening documentary about how big drug companies create diseases and then supply the medications that can cure them.
It's a reversal of the traditional approach-trying to discover a drug that cures an illness-and one that relies far more heavily on marketing than on research.
The film offers case after startling case of how big pharma creates the conversation around new diseases and then offers up the solutions. Featuring at times acerbic commentary from experts including physicians, historians and medical anthropologists (among them maverick academic David Healy), BRANDING ILLNESS offers unprecedented insight into the ways illnesses and their potential cures are marketed.