The pharmaceutical industry paves the way for the society of the future, in which tens of thousands of deaths are considered just a side effect.
When confronted with the sudden death of a younger family member, the bereaved is commonly left in a state of shock and helplessness. This was not the case of the young Norwegian filmmaker Anniken Hoel. Her sister, diagnosed with schizophrenia and being treated with multiple antipsychotic medications in Norway,died suddenly and unexpectedly on July 9th, 2005. When Anniken read her official autopsy report which stated that the cause of death was unknown, she embarked on a fascinating investigation that gradually lead to the discovery of shocking facts and astonishing circumstances. Her film, Cause of Death: Unknown,which was presented in Cannes in 2017,offers nothing less than the matrix of control in our society.
Anniken’s sister Renate had expressed doubts about her medication in vain. After Renate’s death, Anniken was unable to find any notes from her sister’s psychiatrist regarding her sister’s state during her last year. Her medication, however, was constantly increased with a mix of high doses of so-called «anti-psychotics».
In her initial research, she learnt that her sister had been falling pray to the dangerous side effects of the psychotic drugs she was predescripted, and she was not the only victim. In Norway alone, 126 deaths were reported as victims of anti-psychotics, but the real number is estimated to be as high as 2,500. Even if the «risk of sudden death» is noted on the label as a «side effect» in the Norwegian medical register,many psychiatrists seem to be uninformed or prefer to ignore the warning.
In the 1990’s a new series of anti-psychotics including Zyprexa, produced by the medical company Lilly, Seroquel (Astra Zeneca), Geodon (Pfizer), Risperidone (Johnson and Johnson) and Abilify (Otsuka)were the highest selling drugs in the world, with profits constantly rising.
«Misleading physicians have even diagnosed two and three year old children as bipolar, just to show the level of absurdity we are facing.»
Prozac, produced by Lilly, was already a billion dollar making product. The drug was also being sold by drug dealers in New York, who were making more of a profit than with crack cocaine. Once it was approved to treat patients against «depression»it could be prescribed not only by psychiatrists and psychologists, but also by primary care physicians.
When Lilly lost its patent on Prozac in 2001, it released Zyprexa, which became the highest selling drug in the history of the pharmaceutical industry. A highly successful marketing campaign helped to achieve maximum profits before arriving at the new expiry date. Since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had only approved Zyprexa to treat schizophrenia and rare forms of bipolar disease, the first step was to modify the diagnostic models in order to make it applicable for treating“depression”. Clever advertisements convinced consumers and physicians alike, accompanied by active sales force that also included inviting the medical practitioners to conferences and dinner parties.