Medicating Modern America: Prescription Drugs in History|
by Andrea Tone (Author), Elizabeth Watkins (Author)
View the Table of Contents. Read the Introduction.
”These challenging essays mark the transformation of medication from a tradition
of need assessed by physicians, to a culture that far exceeds a basic threshold
for drugs on demand on the part of the public.”
"Nowhere do pharmaceutical companies sell more drugs, make more money, affect
more lives, or wield more power than in the United States. These sophisticated
but accessible essays trace the history of eight types of prescription
blockbusters, from antibiotics to Viagra, and show how they have changed
Americans' thinking about disease, consumer rights, and normality itself. They
force us to confront the paradox of a pill-taking society that wages war on some
drugs but avidly seeks out others to economically profitable if not always
therapeutically benign effect."
—David Courtwright, author of Forces of Habit and Dark Paradise
With Americans paying more than $200 billion each year for prescription pills,
the pharmaceutical business is the most profitable in the nation. The popularity
of prescription drugs in recent decades has remade the doctor/patient
relationship, instituting prescription-writing and pill-taking as an integral
part of medical practice and everyday life.
Medicating Modern America examines the meanings behind this pharmaceutical
revolution through the interconnected histories of eight of the most influential
and important drugs: antibiotics, mood stabilizers, hormone replacement therapy,
oral contraceptives, tranquilizers, stimulants, statins, and Viagra. All of
these drugs have been popular, profitable, influential, and controversial, and
the authors take a historical approach to studying their development,
prescription, and consumption. This perspective locates the histories of
prescription medicines in specific cultural contexts while revealing the extent
to which contemporary debates about pharmaceutical drugs echo concerns voiced by
Americans in the past.
Exploring the rich and multi-faceted history of pharmaceutical drugs in the
United States, Medicating Modern America unveils the untold stories behind
America's pharmaceutical obsession.
Contributors include: Robert Bud, Jennifer R. Fishman, Jeremy A. Greene, David
Healy, Suzanne White Junod, Ilina Singh, Andrea Tone, and Elizabeth Siegel Watkins.
About the Author
Andrea Tone is Canada Research Chair in the Social History of Medicine at McGill
University. She is the author, most recently, of Devices and Desires: A History
of Contraceptives in America. Elizabeth Siegel Watkins is associate professor of
the History of Health Sciences at the University of California at San Francisco
and the author of On the Pill: A Social History of Oral Contraceptives, 1950-1970.
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: NYU Press; 1 edition (January 8, 2007)