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Hearts, Minds, and Maladies: Toward a Critical Theory of the Commodification of Pharmaceuticals
Unformatted Document Text:  4 convergence of monopoly capital with science and medicine. In the summer of 2002 the editors of the New England Journal of Medicine, one of the most highly regarded journals in the field, announced that the policy requiring that authors of review articles of medical studies not have financial links to pharmaceutical companies whose potential products are under study. There was no pressure brought to bear on the journal. Rather, the gifts and fees for consulting from drug companies permeates research and development to such an extent that not enough potential writers can be found who are not themselves being paid by the private sector. This policy is only for reviewers; the real authors of the studies are usually in the tow of pharmaceutical companies that have a considerable investment riding on positive results which, for example, we see with the Imclone/Martha Stewart scandal that ensues. (Newman 2002) An historical context is necessary, however, to fully understand exactly how far down this road science has traveled, to theorize its trajectory, and to anticipate what may be around the next bend. Indeed, the US experience with pharmaceutical advertising should be understood as but one chapter in a longer continuum and project of drug marketing that began at the turn of the century. In 1906, following a flurry of muckraking exposés addressing the dangers -- or innocuousness -- of then prevalent "patent medicines," the U.S. Congress passed the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act. A year earlier, the American Medical Association (AMA) banned patent medicine advertising from its Journal, and created the Council on Pharmacy and Chemistry. This body exerted considerable professional autonomy over the development and distribution of drugs. The AMA embarked on a campaign for over a decade where newspapers and journals were publicly assailed and shamed into foregoing their lucrative advertising for patent drugs. At the same time, the AMA set up its Council on Pharmacy and Chemistry, which worked with the federal Bureau of Chemistry

Authors: Tracy, James.
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convergence of monopoly capital with science and medicine. In the summer of
2002 the editors of the New England Journal of Medicine, one of the most highly
regarded journals in the field, announced that the policy requiring that authors
of review articles of medical studies not have financial links to pharmaceutical
companies whose potential products are under study. There was no pressure
brought to bear on the journal. Rather, the gifts and fees for consulting from
drug companies permeates research and development to such an extent that not
enough potential writers can be found who are not themselves being paid by the
private sector. This policy is only for reviewers; the real authors of the studies
are usually in the tow of pharmaceutical companies that have a considerable
investment riding on positive results which, for example, we see with the
Imclone/Martha Stewart scandal that ensues. (Newman 2002)
An historical context is necessary, however, to fully understand exactly
how far down this road science has traveled, to theorize its trajectory, and to
anticipate what may be around the next bend. Indeed, the US experience with
pharmaceutical advertising should be understood as but one chapter in a longer
continuum and project of drug marketing that began at the turn of the century.
In 1906, following a flurry of muckraking exposés addressing the dangers -- or
innocuousness -- of then prevalent "patent medicines," the U.S. Congress passed
the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act. A year earlier, the American
Medical Association (AMA) banned patent medicine advertising from its Journal,
and created the Council on Pharmacy and Chemistry. This body exerted
considerable professional autonomy over the development and distribution of
drugs. The AMA embarked on a campaign for over a decade where newspapers
and journals were publicly assailed and shamed into foregoing their lucrative
advertising for patent drugs. At the same time, the AMA set up its Council on
Pharmacy and Chemistry, which worked with the federal Bureau of Chemistry


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