The Crime of the Century: Pharma and the US Opioid Crisis

The Crime of the Century: New Evidence About the Opioid Crisis - Factual America Podcast

The opioid crisis in the US has killed half a million people and created millions of addicts, all because the pharmaceutical companies pushed opioid medicines as not being prone to abuse or addictive.

In his latest HBO doc-series The Crime of the Century (2021), Oscar- and Emmy-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney provides the most comprehensive look to date at the opioid crisis in the US.

Alex joins us to discuss the making of the film, arguing that the opioid crisis has deeply criminal roots. The film finds fresh evidence that shows just how deep that criminality runs.

The Crime of the Century premiered on HBO and HBO Max on May 10th and May 11th. It comes to Sky Documentaries and streaming service NOW on Sunday, May 16th at 9pm.

It’s the little acts of corruption that get bigger and bigger, and over time you get a fully corrupted system. – Alex Gibney

Time Stamps:

00:12 – Trailer for The Crime of the Century.
03:00 – Introducing the director Alex Gibney.
04:14 – What The Crime of the Century is about.
05:50 – Why Alex is making this film now, and the new evidence he uncovered.
08:00 – How crimes by the pharma industry created the opioid crisis.
13:10 – How the opioid crisis has evolved and worsened during Covid.
14:23 – The reactions of federal and state governments to the crisis.
19:45 – The number of pharmaceutical industry executives that were prosecuted.
23:48 – How the problem with opioids can be solved.
28:10 – How Alex Gibney approached the subjects of the film.
34:40 – Pharma rap video in the film is a smoking gun.
36:40 – The perseverance with which Alex Gibney explores corruption.
39:12 – What The Crime of the Century tells us about human nature.
39:45 – Alex Gibney’s next projects and the topics he would like to explore.
41:15 – What he hopes the legacy of the film will be.


Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty, a book by Patrick Radden Keefe
The Washington Post – The Opioid Files
Innersound Audio  
Alamo Pictures 

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Episode 60