[Originally posted on 30 September 2017]

From ‘billion dollar deals’ with Big Pharmaceutical companies, to Care Navigators and medicine management in GP surgeries, we are no longer getting what we really need based on our experience as ‘expert patients’ and the opinion of trusted professionals. Instead we are getting what other powerful interests want us to have. Clearly in survival mode now, some GP’s refer to them as ‘they who must be obeyed.’ Who is really making the decisions about our health and care as individuals and as a society now?

The new TV series ‘Billion Dollar Deals and how they changed your world’ (BBC2) by Jacques Peretti, should give us all pause for thought about how much control we have over our own daily lives now.

Tony Devaney, September 30, 2017

(See the website summary of the first programme in the series, on Health, below)


What if the way we understand our world is wrong? What if it isn’t politicians that shape the way we live our day to day lives, but secret business deals? Deals made in secret: high up in a boardroom, on a golf course or over a drink. Deals that changed everything we do: how we spend money; the way we work; even how we define health and illness.

This major new series by Jacques Peretti tells the story of how we sleep-walked into this new world. A world in which we were psychologically reprogrammed by pivotal business decisions to rethink every aspect of our lives.


In the late seventies, Henry Gadsden, the CEO of a large pharmaceutical company told a business magazine that the industry had a problem. In treating disease, they were limiting their client base. But by reinventing illness, treating the well and making the taking of prescription drugs as everyday as chewing a stick of gum, they could medicate modern life itself.

From ADHD in children to the way GP’s diagnose depression in adults, we look at the deals that have transformed the way we talk about and treat mental health. But what has been their real legacy? Jacques investigates the deals struck between health professionals and pharmaceutical companies and questions whether Gadsden’s dream to medicate modern life has finally been realised.