‘Painkiller’ Episode 2 Recap & Ending, Explained: Why Did The FDA Approve OxyContin?

In the first episode of Painkiller, Edie Flowers visited the lawyers to share her findings about the drug OxyContin and its fatal effects on ordinary people who took it as a mere painkiller. In the second episode of Painkiller, we will witness the further grave consequences that this drug caused for its victims, such as Glen Krygar, who developed an addiction to this pill, casting a dark shadow over his life. Simultaneously, this episode showcases the rampant advertisements and marketing promotions for the drug, aiming to attract more customers to take these death pills.


How Did Shannon And Britt Promote The Drug?

Painkiller Episode 2 begins with Edie shedding light on Arthur Sackler’s cunning business strategies, which he once utilized to push the marketing of Valium. He fabricated the names of doctors and their endorsements of the drug to increase demand for the medicine in the marketplace. Edie claimed that in this regard, Richard turned out to be the ideal disciple of Arthur. He employed representatives like Britt, who was focused on making money and buying extravagant items such as a Porsche rather than promoting healthy products. Britt influenced Shannon to follow her lead and use any means necessary to persuade doctors to prescribe this medicine to their patients. Sometimes, Britt even made advances to the doctors to convince them to recommend the drug. While Shannon wasn’t as desperate as Britt, she blindly trusted the medicine and continued promoting it to doctors. However, while some doctors accepted what Shannon and Britt were selling, others held onto their principles and refrained from endorsing drugs like OxyContin. Some doctors were easily persuaded, revealing their inadequate knowledge in the field of medicine.

Shannon, who was an ex-athlete, couldn’t continue pursuing her aspirations due to some physical disadvantages. She once exploited her own story to persuade a doctor to prescribe these drugs, claiming that she truly believed in the effectiveness of the drug. The doctor was easily convinced by Shannon’s emotional ploy and decided to prescribe the drugs to his patients. However, a problem arose when Shannon caught Edie’s attention at that particular clinic.


What Did Edie Find In The Local Pharmacy In Carroll County?

Edie wasn’t one to take things lightly. She was a tough player, both in the game of life and in the realm of video games she was hooked on. However, except for video games, she hated any other kind of addiction. Tragically, she was familiar with the dangers that addiction poses to families on a personal level. Her brother, Shawn, who was a drug dealer, ended up in a detention center, where she used to pay occasional visits.

Edie was stunned to see doctors prescribing the OxyContin drug in large quantities to their patients. She discovered it was a Schedule 2 narcotic, as addictive as heroin, being prescribed in huge amounts to patients. Finding this extremely unsettling, she conducted further investigations by visiting various pharmacies in Carroll County and other areas. In one of those pharmacies, she encountered a junkie who was obsessed with OxyContin and was desperately badgering the pharmacists for the pills. Compelled by the situation, the pharmacists had to pepper spray him to get him out of the shop, but the junkie kept returning, causing chaos. This incident clearly indicated how OxyContin was causing people to suffer and become addicts.


Edie also met Shannon in a clinic after discovering that she was advertising OxyContin pills to doctors. Edie tried to warn her, but Britt, being an extremely desperate and rude person, intervened and humiliated her. Edie stepped aside, waiting for the right time for them to realize the difference between right and wrong.

Why Did The FDA Approve OxyContin?

The FDA’s initial approval of OxyContin was baffling. In 1987, when Richard introduced the medication, he subjected it to laboratory experiments and administered it to mice, which survived the dosage. The drug was then sent for human trials, particularly among gynecological and cancer patients, who also managed to survive the medication while also experiencing effective pain relief. However, they certainly developed an addiction to the drug, yet this was not Richard’s primary concern. Consequently, samples of the medication, along with OxyContin’s test results, were submitted to the authorities. The FDA, without conducting the experiments themselves, solely reviewed the test samples provided to them. However, a doctor named Curtis Wright became an obstacle for the Sacklers. They needed to devise different approaches to overcome this challenge. With Curtis involved, the launch of OxyContin was facing significant trouble, and the Sacklers were determined to get rid of this hurdle by any means possible.


What Happened To Glen?

Glen Krygar was doing pretty well after starting to take OxyContin. His pain subsided, but he soon became addicted to the drug. While the effect of an OxyContin pill was intended to last for 24 hours, Glen found himself needing another in less time, which raised a concern for his wife. She decided to discuss it with the doctor they were seeing. However, this doctor was easily swayed by OxyContin advertisements, revealing his lack of expertise as a knowledgeable physician. He increased Glen’s drug dosage and even proposed that Glen become the face of a documentary showcasing the relief provided by OxyContin. Appreciating the opportunity to be in a film, Glen and his family eagerly shared their story, along with numerous other patients who experienced benefits from the medication. Glen felt genuine happiness at regaining his ability to work and saying goodbye to pain. Yet little did he realize that he was slipping deeply into addiction, reaching a point from which there was no turning back.

Meanwhile, we observed Glen’s stepson, Tyler, a teenage boy who was associated with friends addicted to heroin. Tyler stole some OxyContin pills from his stepfather, taking them to his friends to get high together. However, Tyler didn’t realize that both he and his stepfather were gradually edging closer to their downfall with the help of this drug. On a day when the pill container was in Tyler’s possession, Glen couldn’t find it in its usual spot, causing him to become frantic. His frustration escalated, leading him to consume a long-forgotten medicine found on the floor. Witnessing Glen’s desperation, Tyler retrieved the container from his room and handed it to Glen to calm him down. Glen was calmed down for a while, but it had evidently inflicted significant harm on his health. During a family lunch one day, Glen unknowingly bit his finger and lost consciousness. In the upcoming episode, it’s likely that we’ll witness Glen’s descent into addiction, a path that could have unfortunate consequences for him. On the other hand, we may also anticipate Shannon’s personal journey toward self-actualization as she gradually realizes the extent of the wrongdoing she has been involved in.

Poulami Nanda
Poulami Nanda
Poulami Nanda hails from a medical background, yet her journey is to cross the boundaries of medicine and survive in the cinematic world. The surrealistic beauty of cinema and art has attracted her from a very young age. She loves to write poems, songs, and stories, but her dream is to write films someday. She has also worked as a painter, but nothing attracts her more than cinema. Through her writings, she wants to explore the world of cinema more and more and take her readers on the same ride.

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