VCC336 Lecture 9 - Sickness

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Visual Culture and Communication
Neil Narine

VCC 336 LEC9 MAR1313 SICK AGENDA - History: pharma and the public good - FDA (Health Canada in our country) - 1972 Shift: “A drug for everyone” - Blockbuster drugs - Big Bucka, Big Pharma (film) - Medicalizing human experience MEDICINE (MED) and the public good - Drug research/production as PUBLIC GOOD - - George Merck in 1950: “We try to forget that medicine is for the people. The profits follow, and if we have remembered that, they never fail to appear.” (cited in Petersen, Our Daily, Meds…p. 115) - HOW DID WE GET THERE? ORIGINS: 1890s—The Patent Medicine Business - Drugs composed of ‘secret’ ingredients; ads made exaggerated claims of success. - Medicine was the first type of consumer good to be extensively advertised - Encourage consumer self-diagnosis and self-medication - No regulation = buyer beware SIMPSON and SON TONIC - Digestion. U will feel pepped up. - ORIGINS… - 1906: US Food and Drugs Act mandates full disclosure of ingredients of packaging - 1938: US Food Drug and Cosmetic Act mandates full testing of all drugs for safety - Patent (for profit) medicines were restricted and direct advertising to consumer (DTC) DISAPPEARED - Drug manufacturers had to RESTRICT promotional activities to physicians ORIGINS: The ETHICAL MEDICINE BUSINESS - ‘ETHICAL’ drug manufacturers wanted to distinguish themselves from patent medicine industry’s reputation for dishonesty and deceit - -still for profit, but… - - open, honest descriptions of ingredients - -allied with emerging medical profession - -refused to advertise directly to the public 1970s: BIG SHIFT: More profit in more sickness - Drug research/production as public good - -Henry Gladsen (CEO of Merck) in 1972: wanted Merck to be more like Wrigley’s *chewing gum+, bc then the company would sell its drugs to everyone, instead of only to the sick (Moynihan and Cassels, Selling Sickness (NY: Nation Books, 2005), p. ix) - A DRUG FOR EVERYONE. A DRUG FOR EVERYONE - 1970s-present - Drugs Companies proved difficult to oppose - Advertising increased exponentially - Healthy people received prescriptions - Patient advocacy groups could only fight for increased disclosure of drug risks 1970s: RISE OF “LIFESTYLE DRUGS” ZANTAC: THE FIRST ‘BLOCKBUSTER’ - Common ailments = most profits - Heartburn? - 1970s: Smith Kilne introduces Tagamet as treatment for ulcers which safely reduces the prod of stomach acid - 1980s: Glaxo introduces revised version of drug called Zantac - WRITING EXERCISE - What do these ads for ZANTAC say about health and wellness in a consumer culture? ZANTAC; The first blockbuster - Glaxo created a market from heartburn sufferers - -renamed heartburn ‘gastroesophageal reflux disease’ (GERD) - -identified large market of potential patients -
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