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Medicating Modern America Prescription Drugs in History by Andrea Tone

Medicating Modern America Prescription Drugs in History


Medicating Modern America Prescription Drugs in History by Andrea Tone

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.


& ;The most valuable role of Medicating Modern America is as a teaching text. There are currently very few texts available for undergraduate teachers that offer digestible and critical assessments of the role of prescription drugs in the history of twentieth-century biomedicine; Medical Modern America-by providing a series of highly accessible and engaging analyses of prescriptions drugs-superbly fills this gap.

-;Social History of Medicine Provides a series of highly accessible and engaging analyses of prescriptions drugs.

-Social Hiistory of Medicine Their excellent example of balanced analysis should inspire other scholars to pursue further work in the new pharmaceutical history.

-Gregory J. Higby,The Journal of American History A well-edited collection of eight timely and provocative essays about the key prescription drugs that have, for better or worse, helped shape American consumer culture and health since World War I.

-Journal of the History of Medicine 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 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.

-Choice A set of fascinating case studies. . . . Anyone who has taken prescription medications can benefit by reading it.

-Metapsychology Online Reviews

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.

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Book Info

Publication date

8th January 2007


Andrea Tone

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New York University Press


262 pages


Pharmacy / dispensing



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