‘Dopesick’ Rick Mountcastle and Abbott Labs — The EP Teases ‘Pharma Crusading’ Next

After watching Hulu‘s Dopesick Season 1 Episode 8 Finale, many viewers want to know more about Rick Mountcastle (Peter Sarsgaard) and Randy Ramseyer (John Hoogenakker) pursuing Abbott Labs. The concluding episode teases what’s next for Rick and Randy, but the shocking part of their next crusade is that it happened in real life. Creator, EP, and showrunner of Dopesick, Danny Strong, explained why he included pharmaceutical company Abbott Labs in the last few minutes of the series finale.

'Dopesick' Episode 8 cast members Peter Sarsgaard playing Rick Mountcastle, John Hoogenakker as Randy Ramseyer and Jake McDorman as John Brownlee laughing and smiling together
Peter Sarsgaard, John Hoogenakker and Jake McDorman | Gene Page/Hulu

‘Dopesick’ Episode 8 recap: Rick and Randy wrap up their case against Purdue Pharma

In Dopesick Episode 8, Rick and Randy finally obtain the information they need to indict Purdue Pharma. With the help of Billy Cutler (Will Poulter), the two men secure sales tapes proving that Purdue misbranded OxyContin and pushed sales representatives to downplay the addictiveness of the drug. Purdue Pharma agrees to a plea deal to pay out a $600 million settlement. They also agree to misdemeanors against the executives and felony charges against the company. It was the highest amount a pharmaceutical company ever paid out then.

Later, Bridget from the DEA (Rosario Dawson) brought sparkling cider to Rick and Randy. They celebrated their win against Purdue in Dopesick Episode 8. Rick felt they could have done more. However, Bridget insisted they struck the “first blow” against Purdue, which could help future cases. 

With some encouragement, Rick agreed to take on Abbott Labs with Randy, who found that they targeted nursing homes with a drug called Depakote. 

Rick Mountcastle and Randy talk in the 'Dopesick' finale
‘Dopesick’: Peter Sarsgaard and John Hoogenakker | Gene Page/Hulu

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Why did ‘Dopesick’ reference Abbott Labs in the last episode?

Showbiz Cheat Sheet spoke with Dopesick creator Danny Strong via phone conversation on Nov. 15, 2021. The executive producer indicated that it was a purposeful move to include the reference to Abbott Labs in Dopesick Episode 8.

“It was to show that these guys are going to keep going and that there’s going to be more of these cases,” Strong explained. “And that they’re sort of Pharma crusading now after everything that happened. And I like that there was, you know, maybe some reluctance by Rick Mountcastle, but that after the same project, he’s going to keep going, and they’re going to keep up this story.”

Although Rick initially blew off Randy’s idea to take down another pharmaceutical company, in the end, he agreed to it. 

Did Rick Mountcastle and Randy Ramseyer pursue Abbott Labs in real life?

'Dopesick' Episode 8: Peter Sarsgaard as Rick Mountcastle getting into his car
‘Dopesick’: Peter Sarsgaard | Gene Page/Hulu

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According to the real-life Rick Mountcastle’s Linked In profile, he led the investigation and prosecution of Abbott Laboratories. The false marketing of the epilepsy drug, Depakote, led to a $1.5 billion settlement.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the company illegally marketed Depakote in nursing homes to treat dementia. The investigations also found that the company provided doctors and pharmacists with illegal kickbacks to push the off-label uses of the drug. 

Although Rick and Randy went on “Pharma crusading” after the timeline of events in Dopesick, Strong wouldn’t include the two men in a storyline about Abbott labs in a potential Dopesick Season 2.

The complete eight-part series created by Danny Strong, Dopesick, is currently available for streaming on Hulu.