Filming for episodes 3 and 4 of “Tatort” begins in Zurich: director Christine Ribbon with lead actresses Carol Schuller and Anna Berry Zwercher (from left to right).
Jean-Claude Galle and Peter Badrut
It’s bleak and inhospitable again in Zurich, so dark that one can easily lose the desire for a crime-thriller evening. The fourth edition of “Tatort” with commissioners Isabel Grandjean and Tessa Ott is huge again: “Risks With Side Effects” (Sunday, SRF 1, 8:05 p.m.) is a billion-dollar business for the placebo company Argon. His expensive drug, Volmilia, is about to be approved, but it does serious damage to a girl.
The condition is neuromyelitis optica, an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system. In recent years, Roche has developed an effective drug against it. Drone images of tall buildings can be seen many times at the “crime scene”.
Remarkable is the negative attitude of the thriller: lawyers and researchers are always evil. According to SDA, the crime thriller takes place in a “rogue environment.” Investigators are also angry at the pharmaceutical lobby. This is coupled with a rough choice of words – eg, ‘fucked, dreaded capitalists’.
“Processes and procedures do not correspond to reality”
“The processes and procedures for pharmaceutical research, approval and market release in Switzerland presented at ‘crime scenes’ do not correspond to reality,” says Samuel Lanz, Board Member of Interpharma, the interest group involved in pharmaceutical research in Switzerland. . Clinical studies – referred to simply as Tatort’s “testing programme” – are subject to strict scientific and ethical standards. The framework conditions for this are set out in the Human Research Act and associated decrees.
At the “crime scene”, pharmaceutical lawyers put enormous pressure on the girl to deny the side effects. But Lanz explains: “Clinical studies are not done directly by drug companies, but by research teams – doctors and hospitals. In other words, the drug company will have no access to the sick teenager.
Also important: Clinical studies must be approved by Swissmedic and one or more ethics committees. All adverse effects observed during the study should be reported to Swissmedic on an ongoing basis.
“The operations described are pure fiction,” explains Lukas Jaggi, a Swissmedic media spokesperson. There are strict and internationally coordinated guidelines and regulations for the development and approval of medicinal products. Approval of a clinical study requires approval by the independent ethics committee and the appropriate drug control authority in order to best protect study participants. »
There are very few cases where Swissmedic does not have to give its consent: the drug can be given to certain patients and for emergencies if the drug has already been approved abroad. The “crime scene” does not seem to be a special case, the girl does very well.
Baptiste Blanche, head of fiction at SRF, denies there are potential errors in “crime scenes”: “The basic steps to take when testing and approving new drugs correspond to reality – but with a ‘crime scene’ we are drawing a purely fictional story,” he says. In doing so, simplifications, dramatic representations, and exaggerations are inevitably necessary. “We are well aware of our journalistic responsibility and have relied on the authors’ rigorous research, which has included numerous discussions with experts, drug representatives, and attorneys.”
However, the new Swiss “crime scene” has risks and side effects. There seems to be a lot of exaggeration and formation. It goes down as a time pill.