Dr. Jack Neel's Real-Life? Liza Drake Fictional? Lonafen vs. Subsys? Pain Hustlers Myths


"Pain Hustlers," inspired by true events, this Netflix crime drama, released in 2023, delves into the dark underbelly of the pharmaceutical industry, echoing the shocking opioid scandal that rocked the United States.

Wells Tower, the ingenious screenwriter behind this gripping narrative, drew inspiration from Evan Hughes' 2022 nonfiction book, "Pain Hustlers: Crime and Punishment at an Opioid Startup." Tower wove the real-life events into a script that takes creative liberties to craft a unique and compelling story.

Lonafen vs. Subsys: Fact and Fiction

In "Pain Hustlers", Lonafen takes the spotlight as the central opioid, a fictitious creation that weaves its own web of intrigue and danger.

But here's the twist – Lonafen is not real. It's a product of the creative minds behind the screenplay, a fictional drug carefully crafted to drive the plot forward in the 2023 Netflix crime drama. While its presence feels eerily authentic, Lonafen doesn't exist outside the realm of "Pain Hustlers."

Real Subsys Strong Painkiller

However, the roots of Lonafen trace back to a real and scandalous history embodied by its real-life counterpart – Subsys. Subsys, a liquid form of fentanyl manufactured by Insys Therapeutics, shares a striking resemblance with Lonafen in terms of its purpose and the chaos it wrought upon unsuspecting patients.

Subsys, like Lonafen, was designed to alleviate breakthrough pain in cancer patients. Yet, both substances found themselves at the center of controversy due to their highly addictive nature. In the case of Subsys, Insys Therapeutics faced lawsuits for not only manufacturing a potent pain reliever but also bribing doctors to prescribe it to patients who didn't truly require it.

Lonafen may be a product of fiction, but its roots dig deep into the soil of real-life pharmaceutical scandals, drawing a chilling parallel to the opioid crises that have echoed through recent years. "Pain Hustlers" like a mirror to reality, reflects the dangers of playing with powerful substances for profit.

Lonafen's Ingredients & Effects in "Pain Hustlers"

Let's dive deeper into the concoction that fuels the scandalous narrative of "Pain Hustlers" – Lonafen's ingredients and its effects.

In the film, Lonafen mirrors its real-life counterpart, Subsys, in more ways than one. Both substances are designed with a specific purpose – to alleviate breakthrough pain in cancer patients. The liquid fentanyl coursing through Lonafen's veins, much like Subsys, presents itself as a potent solution for those battling intense pain in the wake of their cancer struggles.

But here's where the plot thickens and the lines between fiction and reality blur. The pharmaceutical company in the movie, Zanna Therapeutics, resorts to a disturbingly accurate tactic: the bribery of medical practitioners. This shadowy maneuver is not just a scripted plot point; it echoes the real-life events that unfolded with Insys Therapeutics.

Cheque in the name of Zanna Therapeutics Inc. - Pain Hustlers - Netflix
Image Credit: Netflix

Just as Zanna bribes medical practitioners in "Pain Hustlers" to prescribe Lonafen to patients who might not necessarily need it, Insys Therapeutics used similar tactics with Subsys. The parallel between the film and reality serves as a stark reminder of the murky depths to which some pharmaceutical practices can sink for the sake of profit.

So, as we witness the gripping tale of Lonafen's journey from the silver screen into the fictionalized world of "Pain Hustlers," we're left contemplating the unsettling truth that reality often provides the raw material for the most enthralling, and sometimes chilling, stories.

Dr. Jack Neel's Real-Life Counterpart: John Kapoor

The man behind the inspiration for Dr. Jack Neel in "Pain Hustlers" is John Kapoor. He is a pharmaceutical pioneer who founded Insys Therapeutics in 1990, aiming to make a mark in the world of pain management. Kapoor's brainchild, Subsys, a liquid form of fentanyl, hit the market in 2012, promising relief for breakthrough pain in cancer patients.

Real John Kapoor - REUTERS
Image Credit: REUTERS

However, as the plot thickens, so does Kapoor's involvement in some shady dealings. Illegal practices, including bribery and misleading advertising, turned the success story of Insys Therapeutics into a courtroom drama.

Kapoor, along with six other executives and managers, found themselves in hot water in late 2016. The charges? Conspiracy to bribe medical personnel to prescribe Subsys, even to patients who didn't truly need it.

Fast forward to the courtroom drama in 2019 — Kapoor faced the music and was convicted of racketeering conspiracy. The sentence? A hefty 66 months in prison, or five and a half years, mirroring the fate of Dr. Jack Neel in the nail-biting conclusion of "Pain Hustlers."

The echoes of Kapoor's real-life legal troubles reverberate through the character arcs in the film, adding layers of authenticity to the gripping narrative.

John Kapoor's Release and Parallel with "Pain Hustlers"

June 2023 was a few months before the Netflix movie inspired by Kapoor's tumultuous journey hit the screens. John Kapoor, the man who lived through the courtroom drama, made an early exit from prison, serving only two years of his original 66-month sentence.

The timing couldn't be more perfect – Kapoor reentered the real world just as his story became a hot topic again. However, the real-life script takes an unexpected turn when we compare it to the fictional universe of "Pain Hustlers."

Dr. Jack Neel - Pain Hustlers - Netflix
Image Credit: Netflix

Unlike Dr. Jack Neel, whose fate remains confined to the prison bars in the film, Kapoor's release injects a dose of reality into the narrative, leaving us to ponder the complexities of justice and redemption.

The parallel between Kapoor's early release and the cinematic conclusion adds a layer of intrigue to the ongoing saga of pharmaceutical intrigue and legal repercussions.

Liza Drake: Real or Fictional?

The leading lady of "Pain Hustlers," the character that keeps us on the edge of our seats – Liza Drake, is portrayed by the talented Emily Blunt. Now, you might be wondering, is Liza Drake based on a real person? Well, let's untangle that web.

Liza Drake - Pain Hustlers - Netflix
Image Credit: Netflix

Director David Yates steps into the spotlight to shed some light on the origins of Liza Drake. In a conversation with Forbes, he unravels the mystery, confirming that Liza is not a carbon copy of any one individual. Instead, she emerges as a composite character, a blend of various personalities that danced through the real-life drama surrounding Insys Therapeutics.

Yates takes us behind the scenes, describing Liza as "ambitious, idealistic, and perhaps a little bit naive." She's not merely a replication of real-life figures but a creation born from the collective imagination of the filmmakers. They wanted a character who resonates – someone with a background marked by low income, lack of education, and the struggle for recognition.

In crafting Liza Drake, the team cherry-picked qualities from the characters of the Insys story, creating a character both grounded in reality and elevated by the necessities of storytelling.

While Liza Drake may not have a real-life doppelganger, her authenticity is woven into the fabric of the opioid scandal, making her a relatable and riveting figure in the captivating world of "Pain Hustlers."

The Adaptation Process in "Pain Hustlers"

In the adaptation process, Tower masterfully juggled the real-life events chronicled by Hughes in "Pain Hustlers: Crime and Punishment at an Opioid Startup." While staying true to the essence of the story, Tower took artistic liberties to mold the narrative into a cinematic spectacle.

Real Insys Therapeutics

One significant tweak involved the fictionalization of Insys Therapeutics as Zanna Therapeutics. This creative decision provides a canvas for storytelling that transcends the bounds of a documentary-style narrative. Zanna Therapeutics becomes the stage for the high-stakes drama, mirroring Insys' real-life troubles, yet evolving into its own entity within the film.

Central to Tower's vision was the art of making characters relatable, and here, Liza Drake takes center stage. The scriptwriters, in collaboration with Director David Yates, breathed life into Liza by infusing her character with qualities that resonate with the everyday struggles many Americans face.

Tower and the creative team, like alchemists, turned the raw material of true events into a spellbinding tale, inviting us to witness the gritty world of pharmaceutical intrigue through a lens that balances authenticity with the allure of cinematic storytelling.

Wrapping Up "Pain Hustlers" Story Elements

We explored the adaptation process, witnessing how Wells Tower transformed Evan Hughes' book into a screenplay. Tower's creative prowess took the real-life events surrounding Insys Therapeutics and molded them into the riveting tale we see on Netflix.

The characters, including the enigmatic Dr. Jack Neel and the complex Liza Drake, emerged as more than just players in a plot. They became conduits for storytelling, representing the highs and lows, ambitions, and struggles that mirrored real-life figures involved in the opioid scandal.

Zanna Therapeutics, the fictional pharmaceutical company, took the stage as a dark reflection of Insys Therapeutics. The adaptation process allowed for creative liberties, giving birth to Lonafen – a fictitious drug that echoed the scandalous history of Subsys, a real-life opioid manufactured by Insys Therapeutics.

The narrative's climax heightened the tension, drawing parallels between John Kapoor's real-life release and Dr. Jack Neel's fictional fate. Kapoor's early exit from prison in June 2023 added a layer of complexity to the ongoing saga, contrasting with Neel's incarceration in the film's conclusion.

As we close this chapter, it's essential to acknowledge the intricate dance between fact and fiction in "Pain Hustlers." The filmmakers took inspiration from real events but wove them into a tale that transcends mere retelling.

Watch 'Pain Hustlers' on Netflix.

Dr. Jack Neel's Real-Life Liza Drake Fictional Lonafen vs. Subsys Pain Hustlers Myths

Author: Lia Chez

Author/Writer - Lia Chez

Say hello to Lia Chez! When she's not basking under the sun or owning the city's nightlife, Lia's living her dream life. With a passion for fashion-tech and a heart tuned to pop beats, she's our style and music maven. Lia delves deep into the American music scene, Movies & TV Shows, dishing out the juiciest entertainment news with a dash of humor. With her, every day's a beach bash, and every night's a city lights spectacle!

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