Ann Crotty Writer-at-large

Through a jet-lagged late-night haze it’s easy to understand why Netflix is so popular in the US. The country’s traditional TV fare is appalling – little more than a slurry of ads used to extend the 23 minute wafer-thin plot of a detective series to an interminable 50 minutes. Is it my imagination or is there a preponderance of health-related products amid these mind-numbing ads? In the cold light of dawn I learn there’s a good reason for the ad profile — health care is by far the largest sector in the US economy. It accounts for 18% of its GDP, overshadowing the technology sector, and employs more workers than any other sector. An American friend tells me this power not only explains the wall-to-wall ads but also why the Sackler family, who control OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, are not behind bars. OxyContin is one of the opiate brands linked to 49,000 deaths a year in the US. Forget about putting them behind bars; if the authorities were consistent they would surely have led an a...

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