Article ID: CBB000932130

Keeping Modern in Medicine: Pharmaceutical Promotion and Physician Education in Postwar America (2009)


Recent critiques of the role of pharmaceutical promotion in medical practice invoke a nostalgic version of 1950s and 1960s medicine as representing an uncomplicated relationship between an innovative pharmaceutical industry and an idealistic and sovereign medical profession---a relationship that was later corrupted by regulatory or business practice changes in the 1980s or 1990s. However, the escalation of innovation and promotion in the pharmaceutical industry at mid-century had already provoked a broader crisis of overflow in medical education in which physicians came to use both commercial and professional sources in an attempt to keep modern by incorporating emerging therapeutics into their practices. This phenomenon was simultaneously a crisis for the medical profession--- playing a key role in attempts to inculcate a rational therapeutics---and a marketing opportunity for the pharmaceutical industry, and produced the structural foundations for contemporary debates regarding the role of pharmaceutical promotion in medical practice. Tracing the issue from the advent of the wonder drugs through today's concerns regarding formal CME, we document how and why the pharmaceutical industry was allowed (and even encouraged) to develop and maintain the central role it now plays within postgraduate medical education and prescribing practice.

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Authors & Contributors
Herzberg, David
Fisher, Jill A.
Greene, Jeremy Alan
Hersch, Matthew Howard
Davis, Courtney
Abraham, John
Pharmacy in History
Atti e Memorie, Rivista di Storia della Farmacia
Social History of Medicine
Bulletin of the History of Medicine
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences
Rutgers University Press
Pickering & Chatto
Johns Hopkins University Press
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University of Pennsylvania
University of Minnesota
Pharmaceutical industry
Medicine and industry
Business and commerce
Time Periods
20th century, late
20th century
21st century
19th century
20th century, early
United States
Great Britain
New Mexico (U.S.)
Massachusetts (U.S.)
United States. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA)
Imperial Chemical Industries

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