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Hearts, Minds, and Maladies: Toward a Critical Theory of the Commodification of Pharmaceuticals
Unformatted Document Text:  10 take pills to fix a stuffy nose in wintertime, why not do the same for depression? Norikazu Terao, who directed marketing for Meiji and its partner companies, says he would constantly trot out the kokoro no kaze line to explain to Japanese reporters why the taboo surrounding the disease should be lifted. (Landers 2002a). On US college campuses pharmaceutical company Wyeth is utilizing similar tactics to alter the ways in which the emotional dispositions of young adults are perceived, understood, and addressed. Wyeth, the maker of the antidepressant drug Effexor, is sponsoring “mental-health educational campaigns” on ten college campuses in 2002. The 90-minute program, titled “Depression in College: Real World, Real Life, Real Issues,” is slated to take place in campus auditoriums and to be hosted by MTV star and Effexor user Cara Kahn. Programs and depression “screenings” are now frequently given more upbeat sounding solicitations, such as “’Stressed? Come find out how much,” or “Come test your mood,” which elicit higher interest in potential student participants than would a more prosaic sounding “depression screening,” according to industry associates. Pharmaceutical companies see America’s 15 million college students as a lucrative segment of the $12.2 billion annual market for antidepressants, particularly given students’ sometimes precarious and uncertain stations in young adulthood. College health officials estimate that as many as 20% of students take antidepressants at some time while at university. Wyeth has pooled its resources with Pfizer Inc. (maker of Zoloft), GlaxoSmith-Kline PLC (Paxil) and Eli Lilly & Co. (Prozac) to lend financial support to National Depression Screening Day, which took place on October 10, 2002 at campuses, hospitals, and high schools nationwide. Also in 2002 the National Mental Health Association and the Jed Foundation sent a letter to 3,000 university presidents

Authors: Tracy, James.
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background image
10
take pills to fix a stuffy nose in wintertime, why not do the same for
depression? Norikazu Terao, who directed marketing for Meiji and
its partner companies, says he would constantly trot out the kokoro
no kaze line to explain to Japanese reporters why the taboo
surrounding the disease should be lifted. (Landers 2002a).
On US college campuses pharmaceutical company Wyeth is utilizing
similar tactics to alter the ways in which the emotional dispositions of young
adults are perceived, understood, and addressed. Wyeth, the maker of the
antidepressant drug Effexor, is sponsoring “mental-health educational
campaigns” on ten college campuses in 2002. The 90-minute program, titled
“Depression in College: Real World, Real Life, Real Issues,” is slated to take place
in campus auditoriums and to be hosted by MTV star and Effexor user Cara
Kahn. Programs and depression “screenings” are now frequently given more
upbeat sounding solicitations, such as “’Stressed? Come find out how much,” or
“Come test your mood,” which elicit higher interest in potential student
participants than would a more prosaic sounding “depression screening,”
according to industry associates.
Pharmaceutical companies see America’s 15 million college students as a
lucrative segment of the $12.2 billion annual market for antidepressants,
particularly given students’ sometimes precarious and uncertain stations in
young adulthood. College health officials estimate that as many as 20% of
students take antidepressants at some time while at university. Wyeth has
pooled its resources with Pfizer Inc. (maker of Zoloft), GlaxoSmith-Kline PLC
(Paxil) and Eli Lilly & Co. (Prozac) to lend financial support to National
Depression Screening Day, which took place on October 10, 2002 at campuses,
hospitals, and high schools nationwide. Also in 2002 the National Mental Health
Association and the Jed Foundation sent a letter to 3,000 university presidents


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