The People vs. Purdue Pharma
Dopesick has been an absolutely devastating watch and after 7 weeks of this rollercoaster ride, everything comes down to this final chapter of the tale.
We begin in 2019 with a big demonstration from protestors, chanting against Richard Sackler and taking to the streets. With 400,000 dead, Big Pharma’s greed has finally come back to bite them. Among those is Diane, who remains determined to see justice dealt for Betsy and so many other boys and girls like her.
What happens to Finnix in 2002?
In 2002, Finnix faces the harsh realities that as long as he’s on Suboxone, he won’t be able to get his medical license. With relapsing a very real possibility, he tries to work out what to do next.
Out in the waiting room he finds a girl called Elizabeth Ann, someone he actually helped deliver when she was a baby. She’s in a rough way, very clearly hooked on Oxy.
Finnix eventually heads over to see Jerry and Diane. There’s certainly no love lost between them, especially given Finnix was the one who prescribed Oxy to her in the first place. His words fall on deaf ears, with Jerry telling Finnix to go on and live his life.
How does Richard Sackler deal with the lawsuits?
Richard Sackler learns about the 10,000 signatures and the mounting pressure against him. He tasks the executives with heading down to Virginia and meeting those in Appalachia head-on. Of course, the community’s concerns falls on deaf ears and in turn, the execs read out an open letter about how they’re not going to take any further action. To try and sweeten the deal, they decide to donate $100,000 to their community.
Of course, this is just them paying the guys off. At the same time though, the money would actually do a significant amount to help the community.
Sister Beth though is the voice of reason, not content to watch this manipulation play out. She decides she’d rather “die in hell than take their blood money.”
Off the back of this, Sackler learns about John Brownlee and how there’s going to be a massive investigation into Purdue now. Also, more importantly than that, he learns John, Rick and Randy cannot be bought out. To try and deflect this, they bring Rudy Giuliani (the Mayor of New York) into this to swing things in their favour. However, it’s clear there’s a storm coming.
Realizing this, Richard takes himself out the limelight and steps down as the President of Purdue Pharma.
Does Billy sign the NDA agreement?
Amber is flying high, celebrating her promotion. Billy is deliberating over whether to join her or not, eventually called into Martin’s office regarding the missing training tapes.
He’s threatened with being sued and Purdue decide to terminate his contract right there and then. They also chalk this up to his “negative attitude.”
Just before Billy leaves, he’s pressured into signing an NDA agreement. If he does, he’ll get a $75,000 settlement. Purdue refuse to let him see a lawyer and pressure him to sign.
The next scene we see him leave the office but late on we do get our answer – Billy refuses to sign the NDA agreement and instead, stays quiet.
What are on the training tapes?
In 2006, Randy and Rick show off those false testimonies in Congress to Purdue. Purdue Pharma try to weasel out of this with a financial incentive of $10 million but they’re having absolutely none of it. The guys are definitely onto something but they need more; something emotional that will completely rock Purdue to their core.
This inevitably comes off the back of Randy and Rick visiting Martin, questioning him about the company. Martin mentions the missing training tapes and that, in turn, leads them to Billy. It’s here we learn he never signed the NDA and that he’s still got the tapes. After some persuasive pressuring, Billy posts the videos to their office.
These training tapes very clearly show off fraud and how the company intentionally misled and lied to their sales reps.
Do Randy and Rick get a conviction from Purdue?
There’s a lot of risk with indictments and it could well be that Purdue go to court and don’t get a conviction. Alternatively, Purdue offer to settle for a massive fine and minor misdemeanors for the execs in charge.
John meets with Randy and Rick, telling them he’s made the deal. Three executives will have three years probation, 400 hours on community service and their careers in pharma will be over. The trouble is, all of this will still see the Sackler family remain where they are, leading very wealthy lives.
Purdue continue to drag their heels over signing, with Howard Udell’s attorney wanting to delay things and talk further. John Brownlee is having none of it and despite Main justice pushing back, Purdue eventually sign. Off the back of this, a list of US attorneys are presented to be fired, including John Brownlee.
What happens in court?
Fast forward to 2007 and the three executives are led into the court where they hear numerous witness testimonies from those sons and daughters that have been killed from Oxy. The plea deals go through but Richard Sackler continues to push Oxy being sold and in higher doses.
Randy, Rick and Bridget all meet and toast to their win. They haven’t won the war but it’s a solid win in this battle against Purdue. They’re unsure whether Purdue will go down but with convictions now brought against them, that could well be a very real possibility.
How does Dopesick end?
Fast forward to 2019 and 2020; the Sacklers get away with their riches but Purdue is taken out the equation completely. The company is forced to hand over all their documents and to pay up $4.5 billion.
As news of this spreads across the different communities, we cut to Finnix who manages to get his medical licence back. After helping Elizabeth Ann off Oxy, he now runs a treatment center, Mountain Ridge Wellness Center, helping others get over their addictions.
The Episode Review
Dopesick comes to a close with a sobering and heart wrenching final episode, finally seeing Billy do right by his morals. At the same time, Finnix also manages to turn his life around, making peace with the horrors of Oxy and leading the charge at this rehab clinic.
The case against Purdue Pharma does finally get some headway but, as per the norm, those at the top still keep their riches and their jobs. Alongside Big Pharma, another industry that’s just as crooked is that of videogames. I won’t dive into that here but suffice to say, those at the top somehow still get to keep their jobs and riches despite widespread corruption and criminal offenses. Anyway, I digress.
This final episode brings the case against Purdue to a close, with a nice toast between Rick, Randy and Bridget to typify that. For them, the sense of justice is stronger than the payload and sometimes money can’t just be used to wave everything away.
Dopesick has been a stunning series, shedding light on the opioid epidemic in America and using its various timelines to really hammer home the devastating effect this has had on the American community as a whole.
Dopesick is certainly one of the best shows this year and while the ending is conclusive, it would be nice to see it return in an anthological format, tackling another drug or hard-hitting topic like this.
What did you think of Dopesick? Is it one of the best shows this year? Let us know in the comments below!
You can read our full season review of Dopesick here!
7 thoughts on “Dopesick Season 1 Episode 8 Finale: Recap, Review & Ending Explained”
Just out of interest, why do you think the video game industry is crooked? I actually agree with you but am interested in what your opinions are on the whole matter.
Thanks for a great review.
What I still don’t get is the FDA. I’m leaving the series believing the FDA is corrupt, and taking bribes from the Sacklers. It’s certainly leaving me uncomfortable about the FDA.
I cried throughout most of the episodes. The sackler family destroyed my life. I am still trying to get off oxycontin and oxycodone…Its been 25 plus years by or me. It’s absolutely true the way the series starts….I had broken my back, the Drs sent me to pain center. They had me on Percocet 2 / 10 mg. Per day.
Around 1996 I went to pain center and three Drs were in room waiting for me.
And just like the series, they said ” we have a miracle drug to give you a better quality of life. That’s when my hello started…they kept doubling the amount. Until those Drs had me on 350 to 400 mg per day. I lost everything…I can’t go on…
The Sackler family are a cartel, that the fda approved….The representatives were the pushers to the doctors…The doctors were my dealer….and I refilled with the suppliers, the pharmacy ….
It’s really hard to get off this drug…I have one question for the sackler cartel…
In the last 25 years did any of their family members ever break a bone or get cancer or anything that required pain medication? And if they did, did they get prescribed Oxycontin????
It was a great show. In the end though all you really feel is frustration. The only protection average citizens have from corporate’s soulless egomaniacs and their deadly products is the FDA. When the FDA has no integrity and shows all signs of being totally manipulated, bullied and then even rewarded, then the next untested addictive opioid is already underway.
It stated at very end that Rick and Randy’s boss got ‘reinstated’ after being told he was being fired.
Does anyone know more about that???
Thanks so much for commenting! You’re absolutely right, my apologies. Where I was writing up each character’s journey before splitting it up a rogue “doesn’t” slipped in at the end there! I’ve corrected it now though so it should read more clearly.
I would imagine he’s managed to get himself clean off Suboxone, especially as he was told he’d need to be clean to get his medical license. I’m not completely clued up on the rules around that in America but I’d imagine he’s followed protocol to do that.
I completely agree with you about the medication though, and I think the most shocking part of all of this was when Purdue were seriously debating about creating an Oxy product for kids. I shudder to think what would have happened had that been approved.
Thanks so much for reading this recap though, really appreciate the feedback!
Minor correction: Dr. Finnix does get his medical license back. In that final scene with his assistant at the Wellness Center that he’s running, she reminds him that some prescriptions for Suboxone still need his signature. So not only does he get his medical license back, he’s also certified to prescribe Suboxone — a seperare certification is required for those doctors who want to prescribe Suboxone.
It’s not clear whether he’s still on Suboxone himself — I think the laws affecting those who are on Suboxone have become more flexible over the years and I wouldn’t be surprised if those who are on it can still have a license to practice medicine. I could be wrong, but seems unnecessarily punitive to force people to choose between their careers and a medication that helps them.