In Netflix’s “Pain Hustlers,” Emily Blunt plays Liza Drake, a single mother who tries to support her daughter despite believing she is destined for greater things. She works at a strip club for dismal days until she meets Pete Brenner, who offers her a position as a pharmaceutical representative, and things start to get better. Liza sees this as a chance to earn enough money to sustain her family, but she soon comes to the realisation that she may have agreed to do things that are morally dubious.
Although Liza lacks a perfect moral compass, this trait makes her incredibly relatable. Her goals, deeds, and motives evolve into a pivotal moment in the narrative that affects Zanna Therapeutics’ ascent and decline. Everything you need to know about the actual persons who influenced her position is provided here. AHEAD OF SPOILERS
Liza Drake is a Composite of Insys Therapeutics Sales Reps
“Pain Hustlers” adds fictitious characters to a plot that is mostly based on an article by Evan Hughes from the New York Times of the same name. A few of them are Liza. She is not a true person’s reflection. She is, at most, a hybrid of a few pharmaceutical representatives that worked for Zanna’s inspiration firm, Insys Therapeutics.
Liza starts off in the film working at a strip club. This information is taken from Hughes’ report, which states that one of Insys’ senior executives recruited an ex-exotic dancer to become a sales representative. It was definitely a fantastic starting point for Liza’s arc, and it allowed the filmmakers to create their own narrative around the character.
Emily Blunt’s character may have also been influenced by Tracy Krane, a sales representative for Insys who collaborated with Alec Burlakoff, the vice president of sales at the company, who may have served as the model for Chris Evans’s character in the film. In one of the article’s occurrences, Krane describes a meeting when she and Burlakoff had to persuade a physician to prescribe Subsys, a significant transaction that would have a significant impact on the business.
We witness the same thing happen to Liza when Brenner brings her to meet the big fish, Dr. Lydell. Liza cautions Brenner that he is entering forbidden territory when he devises the scheme to bribe doctors. When Burlakoff put up this notion, Krane also questioned Burlakoff’s tactics and, like Brenner, is reported to have asserted that the corporation would escape punishment only if it paid a settlement. In 2012, Krane lost his job at Insys because of his “poor sales performance.”
Sales personnel at Insys were given carte blanche to lock down physicians within their assigned regions as their team grew. They promised to get paid a lot of money for their work. Sales representatives in Alabama were reportedly paid a base wage of $40,000 at the time, but commissions brought in far over $700,000. Reps were instructed to focus on particular physicians. A sales representative reportedly identified a particular Dr. Paul Madison as “very moody, lazy, and inattentive” and as operating “a very shady pill mill that only accepts cash” in one case.
It is said that in order to intimidate him, Burlakoff and CEO Michael Babich introduced Sunrise Lee, the previously mentioned exotic dancer. She was able to persuade him to work for Insys, and during his three years there, he was allegedly responsible for 58% of prescriptions filled in Illinois. Lee eventually rose to the position of Insys Regional Sales Director. She was found guilty of conspiring to commit racketeering and given a year and a day in jail for paying physicians to write prescriptions for Subsys. Although Liza Drake and Lee share many parallels, the producers decided to fictionalise Liza’s childhood and upbringing.
Liza is initially a greedy sales representative, but she ultimately develops a conscience and chooses to expose Zanna’s wrongdoings. Several employees in real life also become weary of Insys’ practises. Six months following Subsys’ debut, a Texas sales representative reported the speaker programmes to the authorities. After collaborating with them for some time to construct the case, he was forced to abandon the lawsuit. That same year, Insys was the best-performing initial public offering (IPO), with a gain of more than 400%. But eventually, more workers came forward, which resulted in the senior executives of the business being detained and found guilty.
Because a movie can’t cover the story of every character in its running length, Liza’s creators combined a number of these stories into one. The character “was made up of young people who were often in over their head and they were hungry for success, and a lot of that is embodied in her,” according to director David Yates. The details are true, even though they originate from here and there. In light of this, we can state that Liza Drake is not based on a single individual but rather a composite of many Insys employees who saw the executives’ avarice and took action to stop it.
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