8:10  Scott Higham - Big Pharma's role in the US opioid crisis

Drug overdose is now the most common cause of death for Americans under 50, with nearly 50,000 people dying each year after taking opioids. 

Pulitzer-prize winning Washington Post journalist Scott Higham has been investigating the role that the drug companies play in the problem.

He has obtained internal memos and emails showing how they supplied huge quantities of potentially addictive painkillers into vulnerable communities with little regard to how they were being used and abused.

As a result of the crisis, more than 2,000 lawsuits have been filed across the US by states, councils and local authorities against the makers, distributors and sellers of the drugs.

In the first case to reach trial, last week a court in Oklahoma awarded US$572 million in damages against drug manufacturer Johnson & Johnson to pay for the costs of treating the opioid epidemic. Meanwhile earlier this year Purdue Pharma, the makers of Oxycontin, and pharmaceutical company Teva have reached out-of-court settlements totalling more than US$350 million dollars with Oklahoma.

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Photo: Flickr


8:35 Diana Sarfati - The future of cancer in New Zealand

Diana Sarfati

Diana Sarfati Photo: Otago University Wellington

An ageing and growing population means the number of New Zealanders diagnosed with cancer is predicted to double by 2040.  

This is just one of the challenges facing University of Otago epidemiologist Professor Diana Sarfati, the new interim National Director of Cancer Control.

Added to the list are survival rates that lag behind many other countries, increasing costs for cancer care and drugs, and a shameful gap in outcomes for vulnerable populations including Māori.

So what can be done? And what will the future of cancer prevention and care look like in New Zealand?




9:05 Celebrity profile writer Taffy Brodesser-Akner

New York Times writer Taffy Brodesser-Akner has profiled an amazing range of celebrities from Bradley Cooper to Tonya Harding and Jonathan Franzen, but is best known for her deep dive into the Goopy world of Gwyneth Paltrow.

She's temporarily abandoned fact for fiction with a new novel; Fleishman Is In Trouble, which tells the story of Toby, a middle aged doctor experiencing the wild and precarious life of the recently separated.

Taffy Brodesser-Akner / book cover

Taffy Brodesser-Akner / book cover Photo: supplied / Erik Tanner


9:35 David Schurmann - A Brazilian lens on New Zealand

David Schurmann

David Schurmann Photo: Giullia Paulinelli

Brazilian David Schurmann jumped ship in New Zealand at age 16 while his family were sailing round the world and ended up staying for six years, studying filmmaking and working as a TV director.

Now back in Brazil, his film Little Secret (Pequeno Segredo), inspired by his sister, was his country's Oscar entry for 2016. It is playing around the country as part of the Latin America and Spain Film Festival.

David has also made a documentary series The Inside Guide: Exploring Kiwi Success in Brazil looking at some of the New Zealanders trying to make it in the world's ninth largest economy.


10:05 Sir David Spiegelhalter - The Art of Statistics

Sir David Spiegelhalter has built a career sorting the damned lies from the statistics.

In his new book The Art of Statistics the Cambridge Professor shares his passion for data, scientific evidence and risk, and how it's reported to us.

So bacon kills? Well, not so much. And don't get him started on average house prices. 

He also collects thousands of coincidences, trying to separate blind chance from something more significant. 

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Photo: supplied


11:05 Gina Martin - Anti-voyeurism activist

Gina Martin

Gina Martin Photo: supplied

At a music festival in England, Gina Martin caught someone taking photos up her skirt.

Despite complaining to security and the police, the perpetrator walked free, as legally he hadn't done anything wrong.

For the next 18 months Martin campaigned to get English law changed to make 'upskirting' a criminal offence.


11:35 Filmmaker Sima Urale

Director and actor Sima Urale has just been announced as a 2019 Arts Foundation Laureate.

Her work combines Samoan and urban New Zealand perspectives to tell Pacific stories.

As the first female Samoan film director she has released a string of acclaimed films, including her debut O Tamaiti which won Best Short Film at Venice, and 2008 feature Apron Strings.

Kim will ask about the challenges along the way, and her exciting new projects.

Sima Urale

Sima Urale Photo: supplied / Nan Sirisamphan



Books mentioned in this show


Fleishman Is in Trouble
By Taffy Brodesser-Akner
ISBN: 9781472267061
Published by: Headline Publishing Group


The Art of Statistics: Learning from Data
By: David Spiegelhalter
Publisher:Penguin Press

Be The Change - A Toolkit for the Activist in You
By:Gina Martin
ISBN: 9780751577884
Publisher: Sphere


Music played in this show

Song: Charlie
Artist: Mallrat
Played at: 9:34

Song: Used to be Lonely
Artist: Whitney
Played at: 11:38