Michael Palmieri, Donal Mosher / USA / 2012 / 73 min.
Attention is focused on a grey area of the pharmaceutical industry and U.S. healthcare in which the most vulnerable – the sick, the poor and the young – are abused. Without commentary or judgement, American documentarians Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher follow eight bizarre stories exploring the different practices by which pharmaceutical firms exploit people’s desperation and inability to effectively defend themselves. These include a young couple with dreadlocks who subsist by taking part in drugs trials; an old man whose health has been destroyed by tests carried out by prison doctors; and a woman whose son committed suicide after being included in studies demonstrating the effects of anti-depressants. The title of the film points to the legal practice of using (and misusing) medicines in a manner other than that approved and recommended. While it can alleviate the problems of some (primarily psychiatric) patients, the untried combination of medicines often causes side effects. Off Label uncovers a dark side of the pharmaceutical industry and Western medicine.