PAY OR DIE
(director: Scott Alexander Ruderman, Rachael Dyer; cinematographer: Scott Alexander Ruderman; editor: Will Rogers; music: T. Griffin; Runtime: 90; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Rachael Dyer, Scott Alexander Ruderman, Yael Melamede; Salty Features; 2023)
“The filmmakers call out the drug companies for being greedy.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The title says it all in this informative and straightforward educational documentary that’s very critical of America’s costly healthcare system for pricing insulin so high, whereby it’s not affordable for many diabetics who need the drug to survive. In the United States the average cost for a vial of insulin is $300, which is more than ten times higher than the average for all other countries combined. The filmmakers call out the drug companies for being greedy.
The no-nonsense documentary is ably co-directed by first timers Scott Alexander Ruderman (a diabetic) and Rachael Dyer.
We learn that only three major pharmaceutical companies manufacture insulin for various reasons, including it’s more difficult to manufacture than most other drugs.
The documentary examines three families from different walks of life who rely on insulin to survive. What is similar to all of them is the drug manufacturers have overpriced the drug, which is unethical. In one case a mother and daughter use their rent money to buy the drug. In another family, their son died because they were forced because of its high price to ration out the drug. During the pandemic, a young adult with Type 1 diabetes found the cost was too high for him to buy insulin on a regular basis and felt compromised.
This documentary is a call for hostile Republicans to wake up and smell the coffee and join the progressives in getting legislation passed to lower the costs of insulin instead of being paid to back Big Pharma.
It played at SXSW Film Festival.
REVIEWED ON 4/30/2023 GRADE: B