As SiCKO opens, Big Pharma emerges relatively unscathed

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The final prognosis may be that Big Pharma will have minimal crisis control to do as a result of Michael Moore's long-awaited documentary SiCKO.

The film, which opened in a limited engagement in New York today, offers a thought-provoking look at the US healthcare system by taking aim mostly at insurance companies and shies away from attacking the pharmaceutical industry as previously promised.

Early in the SiCKO's production, Moore issued a call to take on Big Pharma by seeking stories from doctors and pharma sales reps to interview. Tensions ran high at some pharma companies as they issued directives to employees not to speak to the ballcap-wearing filmmaker, with one company setting up a Michael Moore “hotline,” to report sightings or encounters with the documentarian.

But the final cut of SiCKO offers merely split second visual references to specific drugmakers and takes only brief swipes at the pharma industry, mostly through its portrayal of PhRMA's CEO Billy Tauzin and his dealings with the pharmaceutical lobby.

Last month, PhRMA issued a statement on SiCKO ahead of the film's release. “Michael Moore is a political activist with a track record for sensationalism.  He has no intention of being fair and balanced,” PhRMA said.
Sneak previews of SiCKO are scheduled to be held at more than 40 theaters around the country this Saturday.
The film will roll-out nationwide on June 29.

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