Big Pharma has a pill for whatever ails you. This is particularly true in regards to mental illness. Awareness of conditions like anxiety and bipolar disorder has grown by leaps and bounds in recent times, and the pharmaceutical industry has seized its opportunity to capitalize on this trend. But has the medical industry been lured and duped into over-prescribing their patient population? Overpill examines this pressing concern that affects the lives of millions.
The film introduces us to several ordinary people who are struggling with issues related to mental health, addiction and grave uncertainties for their future.
A surfing enthusiast named Matt was put on a powerful acne medication before he hit his teens. One of the most intrusive side effects of the drug was the onset of severe depression. He soon developed a strong skepticism towards the pharmaceutical industry, especially when it came to their liberal drugging of children. In his view, this practice too often ignores the underlying issues these patients are dealing with, and ultimately it only succeeds in exacerbating their trauma.
Then there's Denis, a Russian citizen who moved to New York in hopes of starting a lucrative career in advertising. He found steady work providing services for the pharmaceutical industry, and learned the tactics of corporate drug peddling from the inside. Once he discovered a society awash in pills, which were designed to treat many conditions he had never heard of before, his conscience would not allow him to remain silent.
From a mother whose child has been prescribed a box full of psychotropic drugs to a man who suffers from persistent nervous ticks and physical agitation as a result of antidepressants, each of the film's subjects paint a stark and cautionary portrait of a healthcare industry that operates with unregulated greed and a willful betrayal of the Hippocratic oath.
The problem is systemic, and is not likely to change unless voices of opposition rise from within the industry itself. Overpill introduces us to one such voice, a psychiatrist who shuns toxic medications in favor of thoughtful therapy. For him and many others who share the film's point of view, human compassion and sound medical judgment continues to be the ideal approach to successful treatment.
Directed by: Petr Timofeev, Aleksey Shabarov