Published on 13th July 2019 by

How is it possible that the drug industry is deciding about the prices of medicines without being transparent about production costs? Is the drug industry more criminal than any other industry? Also, if so, how is the drug industry taking advantage of its position? So what does the way the drug industry works have for consequences for the whole health sector?

This documentary follows five professionals who no longer accept this and take action based on their involvement and experiment with new models. These passionate pioneers want to make medicines available and affordable for everyone and show that this is possible.

Big Pharma is the decision maker when it comes to the pricing of new medicines. The production costs are unknown, and the industry is successfully stopping all attempts by academic hospitals and pharmacists to make drugs cheaper.

Medications are becoming increasingly expensive. As a result, medical care is becoming more and more unaffordable in rich countries. At the moment, the pharmaceutical industry is pricing new drugs that have received a patent. The production costs of new medicines are secret, but the profit margins are public and break new records all the time. The industry has so far resisted all attempts to make medicines cheaper. As a result, patent law seems increasing to clash with the right to be healthy. Who can break this contradiction?

The industry is not always necessary if you want to produce and make high-quality medicines available. Most medications are developed at universities or in laboratories or small start-ups. The patents of successful inventions are now being bought and further developed by the industry and then labeled with a price that explodes. However, there are also alternative ways to come to an end product. A small group of professionals, based on their involvement, take matters into their own hands and show how things can be improved. They develop new visions or patent law and practical solutions to keep medicines available and affordable for everyone in the future.

Original title: Peperdure pillen

Originally broadcasted by VPRO in 2018.
© VPRO Backlight October 2018

Director: Bregtje van der Haak
Research: Henneke Hagen
Camera: Aage Hollander, Hans Fels
Sound: Mark Wessner, Bert van der Dungen, Anneloes Pabbruwee
Editing: Sonja ten Boom
Picture Editors: Gerard Nijssen, Nina Huisman
Online Editor: Erik van den Berg
Production: Marie Schutgens
Commissioning Editors: Marije Meerman, Doke Romeijn
Archive: Family van Driel, ISpot TV
Special thanks to: Family Toon Lampe, Simon Hamer, Wilbert Bannenberg, Diewke Blaas

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