Defining Drugs: How Government Became the Arbiter of Pharmaceutical Fact

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Transaction Publishers - Social Science - 163 pages
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Drug-related morbidity and mortality is rampant in contemporary industrial society, despite or perhaps because, government has assumed a critical role in the process by which drugs are developed and approved. Parrish asserts that, as a people, Americans need to understand how it is that government became the arbiter of pharmaceutical fact. The consequences of our failure to understand, he argues, may threaten individual choice and forestall the development of responsible therapeutics. Moreover, if current standards and control continues unabated, the next therapeutic reformation might well make possible the sanctioned commercial exploitation of patients.

In Defining Drugs, Parrish argues that the federal government became arbiter of pharmaceutical fact because the professions of pharmacy and medicine, as well as the pharmaceutical industry, could enforce these definitions and standards only through police powers reserved to government. Parrish begins his provocative study by examining the development of the social system for regulating drug therapy in the United States. He reviews the standards that were negotiated, and the tensions of the period between Progressivism and the New Deal that gave cultural context and historical meaning to drug use in American society.

Parrish describes issues related to the development of narcotics policy through education and legislation facilitated by James Beal and Edward Kremers, and documents the federal government's evolving role as arbiter of market tensions between pharmaceutical producers, government officials, and private citizens in professional groups, illustrating the influence of government in writing enforceable standards for pharmaceutical therapies. He shows how the expansion of political rights for practitioners and producers has shifted responsibility for therapeutic consequences from individual practitioners and patients to government.

This timely and controversial volume is written for the scholar and the compassionate practitioner alike, and a general public concerned with pharmacy regulation in a free society.

Richard Henry Parrish II is assistant professor of pharmacy practice at the Bernard J. Dunn School of Pharmacy at Shenandoah University.

"Defining Drugs documents the evolution of social thought and action about pharmaceuticals in the United States in the 20th century. Written from a free-market perspective, Richard Parrish demonstrates how industry, goverment, and profressional leaders used science to justify the expansion of goverment power over standards and people. The Politicized definition of pharmaceutical fact cemented the foundation of pharmacotherapy in the modern pharmacratic state. Parrish's thesis will affect the current debates on federal power concerning the proper role of pharmacists, physicians, prescription laws, and Medicare prescription benefits; dietary supplements and herbal remedies; and nanotechnologies and pharmacgenomics. Scholary in documentation and persuasive in tone, Defining Drugs is an indispensable contribution to our understanding of the debate about drugs and drug policy." --Dr. Thomas Szasz, State University of New York

"Parrish provides an invaluable analysis of the transformation of pharmaceutical regulation over the past millennium."--Peter Barton Hutt, Esq., Covington and Burling

"Defining Drugs is an essential key for the medical profession and any who would understand the drug industry's regulation processes." The Midwest Book Review


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The Search for Order between Progressivism and the New Deal
Pharmaceutical Fact
Letters between Leaders
Dispensing Doctors and CounterPrescribing Pharmacists
Negotiating Reality The Construction of Enforceable Pharmaceutical Standards
Defining Drugs Consequences of Seeking External Governance
Methodology and Bibliographic Sources

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