Jacques Peretti’s revelatory three-parter began with the creeping medicalisation of the human condition. Plus, comedy pilot The Pact, starring Sarah Solemani
If you have scope in your day and the mental and emotional capacity to deal with evidence of yet another kind of imminent apocalypse, I would recommend you devote it to Jacques Peretti’s new series Billion Dollar Deals and How They Changed Your World (BBC2). It’s a brilliant concept brilliantly executed. The three-parter looks at the commercial imperatives covertly driving and shaping developments in such vitally important areas of our little but collectively lucrative lives as work, money and health.
Peretti opened with health, and the creeping medicalisation of what used to be considered normal parts of the human condition. He traced the evolution of one pharmaceutical CEO’s 1976 vision of making pill-popping as natural as chewing gum, from dream to near-reality. The third edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III) in 1980 added 205 new categories, together with standardised tests for many, precipitating an avalanche of drugs – including, most famously Prozac – developed or repurposed to match these new markets. Research and marketing have become ever more closely entwined since.
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