SOC 7108 Chapter 30: SOC 7108 - Chapter 30
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THE COMMODIFICATION OF FEMALE SEXUAL DESIRE
The process of bringing new drugs to the market interweaves commercialism, science,
clinical medicine and governmental regulation. Clinical trial researchers studying these
pharmaceuticals are essential for this process because they serve as mediators between
producers and consumers of new drugs through a wide complex network. This paper explores
the link researchers make with drug manufacturers and consumer market in terms of female
sexual dysfunction (FSD). Researchers play an essential role not only in terms of bringing new
drugs into the market but also by making the drug publicly acceptable and legitimizing its use.
They often position themselves as mediators between the pharmaceutical company, the
regulator agencies, the medical community and the potential consumers. They contribute to
the commodification of new drugs and diseases and promote the marketing of their own
expertise and legitimacy. With success for men, many sought suitable treatment for women.
Clinical trial researchers are generally physicians or clinical psychologists who have academic
appointments with medical schools. With the increase of privatization and commercialization,
the pharmaceutical industry has become an important stream for funding health centres and
researchers. Similarly, researchers as well are an essential part through conducting trials and
participating in a number of other activities that assist companies in identifying and creating
new markets (e.g. attending new meetings, conferences, raise awareness about particular
disorders). They also gain professional recognition funds for their particular department.
Because pharmaceutical companies have to produce medical scientific knowledge when
bringing new drugs within the market, they direct their internal research and external
sponsored research toward the development of marketed drugs and diagnoses similar to
commodified products (e.g. advertisements, television commercials). However,
pharmaceuticals have the advantages and disadvantages of being dependent on biomedical
science for its approval and legitimacy which works in favor of their marketing as it can be
promoted through claims about medical benefits but are also subject to regulatory controls
that limit direct marketing to consumers.
Exchange Networks in Science and Medicine
Critiques of the relationship between biomedical research and pharmaceutical industry
often rely on the idealized understanding of the good old days of research such as the
internalist and functionalist accounts of science that often reconstruct the intertwining of
academic and industrial research or basic and applied known as a corruption tale entangled in
the name of power and profit. For example, Drosophilia geneticists emphasize community
practice as their moral economy (social rules and customs that regulate the crucial aspects of
community life, access to workplaces and tools of production). For Drosophilia, they were
based on cooperation, free exchange of materials/knowledge and equity in assigning credit for
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