The Bitter Pill


The Sackler family and their company, Purdue Pharma, are infamous contributors to the ongoing opioid epidemic, but less well-known are distribution companies, like McKesson and Cardinal Health, that were meant to maintain controls and report suspicious orders by manufacturers and pharmacies but only helped to fuel the crisis. In an unprecedented attempt to hold these companies accountable and to obtain retribution for people suffering with opioid addiction, Paul Farrell Jr., a plaintiff attorney in West Virginia, files a civil suit against the distributors in the county where he lives. For Paul, this fight is personal: 20 percent of the babies in Cabell County are born addicted to opioids, and West Virginia has the highest overdose rate per capita in America. When his legal strategy starts to garner attention from lawyers across the country, including those in states like North Carolina and Florida, the cases against pill distributors get rolled into the biggest civil litigation in U.S. history. BD

Filmmaker Q&A following screening


Clay Tweel


Tim Grant, Shannon E. Riggs, Mary Rohlich


Giacomo Ambrosini, Clay Tweel


Ben Joyner

Release Year


Festival Year



United States

Run Time

99 minutes


World Premiere