Orgasm Inc.

Synopsis: Filmmaker Liz Canner takes a job editing erotic videos for a drug trial for a pharmaceutical company. Her employer is developing what they hope will be the first Viagra drug for women that wins FDA approval to treat a new disease: Female Sexual Dysfunction (FSD). Liz gains permission to film the company for her own documentary. Initially, she plans to create a movie about science and pleasure but she soon begins to suspect that her employer, along with a cadre of other medical companies, might be trying to take advantage of women (and potentially endanger their health) in pursuit of billion dollar profits. ORGASM INC. is a powerful look inside the medical industry and the marketing campaigns that are literally and figuratively reshaping our everyday lives around health, illness, desire -- and that ultimate moment: orgasm.
Genre: Documentary
Director(s): Elizabeth Canner
Production: Astrea Media
  1 win & 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
73 min

Okay, now could

you just move down?

Go ahead

and move down.

Okay, move down

a little more.

There you go.


Now just make yourself

comfortable, relax.

I'm going to

leave now.

What's an orgasm

like for you?

I'm going to say that

it's like a blooming flower.

It comes from the roots

and grows up

until it spreads beautiful aroma

around the room.

It's like coming down

from the highest

and the best

rollercoaster ride.

I think it's

different sound.

It's definitely

a different sound.

It would be like "ahhh"

with the rollercoaster

but with the orgasm

it would be "ohhh. "

Is there something

that comes to your mind

when you think about

having an orgasm?


That's what I think about

is the war in my head.

I'd like to.

I hope I do.

What's wrong with me...

I can't?

And so by the time

I get through

having this conversation

in my head,

I am not involved

anymore in the now

and in the activity

that's going on.

Why does it hurt you?

It's vey frustrating.

It's vey, vey frustrating

to enjoy sex

and to never get to

have that release.

I don't want to be hurt

anymore about this.

In this morning's "Healthy Woman"

something new to deal with.

An astonishing statistic.

Forty-three percent

of women aged 18 to 59

have some kind of

sexual dysfunction.

Female Sexual Dysfunction.

Symptoms include

lack of desire,

lack of pleasure,

painful intercourse.

This is a vey new

field of medicine

but there's a good chance

the problem can be tackled.

The FDA has only

approved Viagra for men

but some doctors

such as Jennifer Berman

believe Viagra might

help women too.

As many woman

hold their breath and wait

for the cream or spray or pill

that might work for them,

the race is on

to be first.

The prize:

billions upon billions of dollars.

Vivus was a pharmaceutical company

that was busy developing

an Of9aSM CfeaM

for women.

Your name?

My name is

Liz Canner.

Okay, iust a moment.

I'm a documentay filmmaker

and Vivus contacted me

because they needed

some help

with the clinical trial

of their new drug.

Vivus is a company

that develops drugs

for male erectile


and we're currently

getting into

the female sexual

dysfunction arena.

We're doing some

early phase clinical trials.

What we want

people to do

is they're going have to

come into a doctor's office

and they're going to

have to apply this drug

and then we are going to have

to measure a sexual response.

What we intend on using

is visual sexual stimulation

which is visually

explicit material.

Well, we need some help with

the actual production of the video.

Vivus wanted me to

put together erotic video

for use during the testing

of their new drug.

I thought, "How could

I take this job?"

How could I not

take this job?

I was curious

about the latest

scientific thinking about

women and pleasure.

So, I gained permission to film

Vivus for my own documentay.

Little did I know that I

would spend nine years

documenting the medical

industy's attempt

to change our understanding

of the meaning of health,

illness, desire, and that

ultimate moment:

What's the name of

the company mean?

It's Latin for "alive"

and I just had the feeling

that our obiective was to put life

back into dead penises.

Twelve years ago today,

I incorporated the company.

And as you can see it's

a real joyous, boisterous crowd.

Vivus 12th Anniversay April 16,

Celebrating 12 Years of Sexcess.

Why did you

found Vivus?

After a radical prostatectomy

for cancer

my privy organ was

no longer alive.

And that's when I focused

on what could be done

in the field of

sexual dysfunction.

All the drugs that we developed,

all of them started on me.

In 1996, Vivus was one

of the first companies

to win FDA approval for a drug

to treat Erectile Dysfunction.

It was on the market

It was heady days though.

You really... you watched

the stock price go up evey day.

Our market capitalization

was over $1.5 billion.

But for only a few days.

Then Viagra was

launched, obviously,

of the product

actually started

to deteriorate.

When Vivus was no longer

the market place champion for men,

they started testing their

erection drug on women.

This new treatment

was called Alista.

How does Alista work?

What happens

when you add Alista,

our product,

with sexual stimulation,

what affect does it have

on cyclic A and P?

In this case it increases

it pretty dramatically.

That, in turn, decreases

intercellular calcium,

which in turn causes

increased blood flow.

How will you know if a woman

has been cured by Alista?

The endpoint in the male

is rather straightforward,

an erection occurs

or it doesn't.

The female doesn't have that

same type of a vertical indicator.

So we're dependent upon

a diay or on questionnaires

rather than doing

a measurement

of the amount of engorgement

of the penis.

What about orgasm?

Well, an interesting equation

here that increased blood flow

hasn't conclusively been

shown to cause orgasm.

How many drug companies

do you think there are

out there right now

developing drugs for FSD?

There's probably

at least 12,

developing all different

types of things.

We're all in a race to see

who can be first to market.

The top four contenders for FDA

approval are approaching the start.

My work with Vivus began

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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