In Painkiller, Shannon Schaeffer is an ex-college athlete hired by Purdue Pharma. The company changes her life completely, but she soon realizes she is not working for the right people. West Duchovny plays Shannon.
Shannon Shaeffer joins Purdue Pharma after hearing Britt Hufford’s speech at a conference, where Britt promotes OxyContin and tries to hire graduate students who will work for them and convince doctors that they need to adjust their treatment when it comes to pain.
Britt leaves an impression on Shannon. If that’s not enough, Britt also offers Shannon a place at her house until she buys a house of her own. Shannon sees a lot of positivity coming from this firm.
Britt takes Shannon under her wing and teaches her how to use her beauty and smile to make a conversation and convince doctors to prescribe more OxyContin.
Shannon’s life is turned upside down once she joins Purdue Pharma. Her wardrobe and hairstyle are changed to make her look more pretty. She and Britt ride in beautiful cars from doctor to doctor and sell OxyContin.
Shannon starts seeing problems
Shannon finds this job problematic the moment she goes with Britt to her first doctor, who acts like a creep to her. Shannon is told to do what the doctors say, as people trust them more than anyone else, and they are important if they are going to sell their drug.
Shannon starts learning the ropes of her job, and the payment she receives encourages her to work harder. She continues to find ways to make more money in this business. The only way to do so is to make her doctors prescribe more milligrams of OxyContin.
Shannon begins seeing more problems in this business when she notices two teenage girls snorting OxyContin and passing out. They almost crash their car trying to run away from Shannon, who comes to wake them up.
Shannon had crossed paths with one of these girls, and it felt personal to her. She makes a note of this but forgets about it after receiving a promotion. As per the promotion, she not only receives a new title but will also train new employees.
Dr. Cooper, one of Shannon’s clients, tries to get intimate with her, and she doesn’t see this as part of the deal. To avoid Dr. Cooper, Shannon hands Dr. Cooper to Molly Dover, the new employee she is training.
Molly was completely brainwashed, and she did everything she could to sell OxyContin, even if it meant sleeping with Dr. Cooper. When Shannon learns of this at a party, she tells Molly that she didn’t have to do this.
During this same party, Shannon tries OxyContin for herself and realizes what this drug really is.
Shannon becomes the snitch
To make up for the mistakes she made, Shannon meets Edie Flowers and agrees to help in any way she can. Shannon gives her calls, e-mails, and everything she has about her job and Purdue Pharma since day one.
Shannon loads Edie and Brownlee up, but unfortunately, Richard Sackler makes some calls and ends the case with a settlement. Hence, Shannon’s documents don’t end up being useful to Edie, who desperately wanted to put a stop to Purdue Pharma.