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Academy Award-nominated producer David Permut has acquired the rights to adapt Netflix’s “The Pharmacist” into a feature-length film.
“The Pharmacist” tells the story of Dan Schneider, the eponymous small-town pharmacist who began a desperate search for justice after the 1999 drug-related murder of his 22-year-old son, Daniel Schneider, Jr. Using only his own detective work, the elder Schneider tracked his son's killer through New Orleans' Lower 9th Ward, but Schneider’s vigilantism did not end there.
He later identified a crooked pharmacist, Jacqueline Cleggett, who was prescribing OxyContin to people who had no need for the highly addictive painkiller. Cleggett's New Orleans pain-management clinic netted at least half a million dollars by doling out thousands of prescriptions for OxyContin alone, according to a report by NOLA.com. Schneider’s inquiry into Cleggett’s practice eventually revealed a so-called pill mill operation that exemplified the United States' opioid crisis, reaching all the way to a Connecticut pharmaceutical company called Purdue Pharma.
Permut recently produced the Oscar-nominated movie "Hacksaw Ridge." He has previously collaborated with Netflix in producing the 2017 comedy "The Polka King" and is currently developing an adaptation of the 2018 Theo Love documentary "The Legend of Cocaine Island."
He will be joined in production by The Cinemart team, which was responsible for producing the original four-episode Netflix docuseries released in February.
“This is a David and Goliath story and we think we found the perfect partners to bring it to the big screen,” a representative from The Cinemart told Deadline.
Schneider’s investigation eventually gleaned enough evidence to bring about the conviction of his son’s killer as well as the revocation of Cleggett’s medical license, but his obsession also brought about turmoil for his family. With his own recordings punctuating the docuseries, Schneider provided firsthand accounts of his search for answers amid the emotional breakdown of his household.
“The implosion of this traditional American family has all the elements to be an incredibly relevant, compelling and emotional thriller,” David Permut told Deadline. “So many American lives have been shattered by the greed and immorality of big pharma, and I’m honored to be part of this team in telling Dan’s story [...] The next step is to find a great screenwriter and filmmaker, as well as an actor to take on what is sure to be a tour-de-force role.”
Schneider said he was pleased to get his story out there back when the docuseries initially premiered.
“Maybe more people will listen and maybe I can accomplish more,” Schneider said in an interview with Oxygen.com after “The Pharmacist” debuted in February. "I am going to try to use this as a platform so I can spread more ideas about how to reduce the opioid crisis problem.”
Both The Cinemart and Netflix did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“The Pharmacist” is now available to stream on Netflix.
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