Think big. Think money. Think drugs. And then think of all the sly, silly, ethically impaired things that people will do to sell drugs, and you'll have a taste of Kathleen Slattery-Moschkau's film, Side Effects.
Slattery-Moschkau sold drugs for a living for Bristol-Myers Squibb and Johnson & Johnson, until she found it increasingly difficult to "look myself in the mirror," and left her job after 10 years in the industry.
An aspiring screenwriter since her college years, Slattery-Moschkau, wrote, directed, and produced Side Effects, a satirical film about the dilemma of Karly Hert (Katherine Heigl), a drug representative torn between her conscience and some really good perks. Hert's company plans to roll out "the biggest drug launch of the 21st century" for its new antidepressant, Vivexx, which they enthusiastically promote as "absolutely the most efficacious drug your patients can use!" while cheerfully predicting that "Vivexx will make Prozac look like penny candy."
Hert, who suffers pangs of conscience about some of the promotional techniques encouraged by her managers, launches a campaign of her own to tell doctors the truth about drug side effects. She's surprised when her honesty pays off with increased sales. With increased sales comes a meteoric rise on the corporate ladder, making her even more beholden to her company, a company that is hiding some dirty secrets about Vivexx.
Hert's new boyfriend, Zach Danner (Lucian McAfee), a former drug representative challenges Hert about her values. When corporate shenanigans turn ugly, the action goes from amusing to savagely funny.