A documentary should reveal something you did not already know or make you look at its subject in a different light. The Quebec Under The Influence / Quebec Sous Ordonnance documentary DVD by journalist Paul Arcand fails to do either. It takes Arcand an hour and a half to tell us big pharma has a big influence on all levels of government, doctors, and pharmacists and wields that influence through threats, incentives, freebies, cute representatives, and misleading self-financed studies. Quebec Under The Influence / Quebec Sous Ordonnance is nothing that could not have been done in under 20 minutes with a commercial break.
Paul Arcand's point is clear in Quebec Under The Influence / Quebec Sous Ordonnance: Quebecers are the biggest pill poppers in North America and the system (doctors, big pharma, and so on) is happy to help them along. Even the Quebec government who foots the pill bill through the province's universal health care plan is happy to go along with big pharma's needs and wishes. Its ministers and governmental aids, strangely enough, end up working for a big pharmaceutical company soon after they deliver a key piece of pro-pharma legislation.
Arcand's problem in this documentary on big pharmaceutical companies is not only is he telling the viewer something he/she already knew but strays away from his core topic to find filler to make his film last. There is a scene that shows you can readily buy pills on the street. Oh, really? Later on it is revealed those pills may or may not have been counterfeit. Gosh, how surprising! He also shows how easily teens can buy 10 packs of Sudafed. My, how ground breaking! Heavens to Betsy he even discovers pharmaceutical companies hide research that goes against their product and, after a product has been on the market, hide reports the drug may have dangerous side effects.
Arcand missed the boat with his documentary and even a structure would not have helped. The real subject was not prescription drugs and big pharmaceutical companies but why we as a society cannot seem to function without popping a pill or two every day. Even those of us who do not take prescription drugs take "natural products", vitamin supplements, and so on and so on. That would have been an interesting film.
An irritating habit that Alliance Vivafilms repeats on this DVD is to force feed the viewer a preview. You cannot press forward, menu, or next chapter. You have to watch the damn preview.