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Between Discourse and Being The Commodification of Pharmaceuticals in Late Capitalism

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A critical exploration of the history and present dynamics of drug advertising in the United States reveals how advertising practices exemplify the extent to which late capitalist market rationality impacts on popular understandings of medicine, well being, and disease. An historical overview of drug advertising and regulation thereof contextualizes a closer analysis of the ways in which the pharmaceutical industry acts to maximize profits through marketing efforts and the creation of diseases as platforms for the expansion of drug product markets. In this way U.S. drug manufacturers operate on a variety of communicative levels to ensure that their promotional messages are among the most widely disseminated. As medical and pharmaceutical technology develops and plays an increasingly pronounced role in everyday life from casual to more profound levels via the mass media, a critical and historical understanding of how and for whom it acts may become a vital focus of future inquiry on social and communicative phenomena and processes.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Communication

Publication date: 2004-03-01

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