Review: ‘The Business of Disease’ is big on propaganda, not facts

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The healthcare documentary “The Business of Disease” seeks to cast suspicion on Big Pharma, but it proves to be a glorified PowerPoint presentation interspersed with commentary by people of questionable qualifications who aim to incite paranoia with propaganda, conspiracy theories and straw-man arguments.

“We know that a disease, especially in America, is a strong identity,” Clotaire Rapaille says. “I have breast cancer, cut it off. Then I’m a breast cancer survivor. Then you can go around giving speeches to people and getting paid.”

The film doesn’t acknowledge that Rapaille was a marketing consultant whose contract with Quebec City was canceled in 2010 after media reports said he had misrepresented himself on his résumé.


The film sidesteps anti-vaccination and medical-marijuana debates, and it makes only passing reference to the Affordable Care Act (alleging it strips away freedom). “The Business of Disease” could have bolstered its argument by tackling Chinese medicine, but it doesn’t.

Instead director Sonia Barrett bookends her work with a litany of legal disclaimers to avoid the legal consequences of the film.

“The Business of Disease.”

No MPAA rating.

Running time: 1 hour, 16 minutes.

Playing: Laemmle’s Music Hall 3, Beverly Hills.