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Happy Pills

Can we get happiness with a pill?

Arnaud Robert / Paolo Woods

delpire & co

Publication date : 2021/09/30
Weight 720 g / Dimensions 17 x 24 cm / 264 pages /
Published in French
Stitch-and-glue binding, soft cover
Design : Catherine Barluet
Statistical research by We do Data
ISBN 9791095821366

Can we get happiness with a pill?

For five years, journalist Arnaud Robert and photographer Paolo Woods have traveled the world in search of Happy Pills, these drugs that each repair a human injury, these molecules that make you hard, work, act, these formulas that allow depressed people to not completely sink, those painkillers that the working poor swallow to have the strength to feed their families.

From Niger to the United States, from Switzerland to India, from Israel to the Amazon, Big Pharma is now deploying the tools of science, marketing and communication to offer people a standardized response to the quest for happiness, long the prerogative of religions, philosophies or even politics.

Through this journey from consumer to consumer, pill to pill and country to country,  the most contemporary obsessions arise. It is as much a philosophical journey as an investigation into the world of chemistry.

The book is made up of ten chapters that address as many general themes embodied in personal stories, such as:
– a young gay man from Tel Aviv who takes prophylactic pills against HIV;
– a depressed Valaisan who goes through stays in a psychiatric institution and uses antidepressants and anxiolytics;
-a farmer from Niger who takes powerful painkillers to avoid fatigue; – a teenage girl from Massachusetts who takes Adderall to treat her attention deficit disorder;
– a young Amerindian woman, from the Peruvian Amazon, who is injected with a contraceptive so as not to have another unwanted pregnancy;
– a French intellectual, suffering from pancreatic cancer, who decides to resort to assisted suicide in Switzerland;
– the Home Pharma series where, in around 30 countries, families are asked to present all the medicines they keep at home.

At the introduction of each chapter, a double page of infographics presents the issues at stake: the weight of the pharmaceutical industry, physical pain as an anthropological universal, the evocative power of Viagra …

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