On American Thanksgiving, we can gaze on our neighbours while they are distracted with their traditional doings. What makes our two countries different, apart from having Thanksgiving on different dates? The answer, always, is health care.
In new documentary Pharma Bro, a young man smirks at the camera and says, “Go to another country if you want free health care! Go to Canada!” He’s Martin Shkreli, who was for a time either “the most hated man in America” (according to CNBC) or “possibly the world” (said the U.K.’s the Independent).
Pharma Bro (streaming on Amazon Prime Video) is about the guy who, when he was the head of Turing Pharmaceuticals, raised the price of the drug Daraprim – used to treat toxoplasmosis and other infections in AIDS patients and others with compromised immune systems – from US$13.50 a pill to US$750 a pill. That astronomical increase made a lot of people very angry. Shkreli became the poster boy for pharma-greed and then he ran with it, his smirking face becoming ubiquitous on TV and especially online. He ran his own webstream, projecting himself and his strangely smug persona out there for everyone to see.
The documentary is an odd concoction. This is not his life story, with a rise and fall. (He’s currently in jail after being convicted of securities fraud.) Filmmaker…