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America has had a long love affair with the prescription. It is much more than the written "script" or a manufactured medicine, professionally dispensed and taken, and worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year. As an object, it is uniquely illustrative of the complex relations among the producers, providers, and consumers of medicine in modern America.
The tale of the prescription is one of constant struggles over and changes in medical and therapeutic authority. Stakeholders across the biomedical enterprise have alternately upheld and resisted, supported and critiqued, and subverted and transformed the power of the prescription. Who prescribes? What do they prescribe? How do they decide what to prescribe? These questions set a society-wide agenda that changes with the times and profoundly shifts the medical landscape. Examining drugs individually, as classes, and as part of the social geography of health care, contributors to this volume explore the history of prescribing, including over-the-counter contraceptives, the patient’s experience of filling opioid prescriptions, restraints on physician autonomy in prescribing antibiotics, the patient package insert, and other regulatory issues in medicine during postwar America.
The first authoritative look at the history of the prescription itself, Prescribed is a groundbreaking book that subtly explores the politics of therapeutic authority and the relations between knowledge and practice in modern medicine.
Johns Hopkins University Press
— Scott D. Grimwood
Both the health care professional and the consumer will benefit greatly from this topical book. Prescribed describes how the prescription has progressed from a document written in Latin to an electronic text that is the principal dimension of people's current encounters with physicians, nurse practitioners, and other physician extenders... Highly recommended.
List of Abbreviations ix
Introduction: The Prescription in Perspective Jeremy A. Greene Elizabeth Siegel Watkins 1
1 Goofball Panic: Barbiturates, "Dangerous" and Addictive Drugs, and the Regulation of Medicine in Postwar America Nicolas Rasmussen 23
2 Pharmacological Restraints: Antibiotic Prescribing and the Limits of Physician Autonomy Scott H. Podolsky 46
3 "Eroding the Physician's Control of Therapy": The Postwar Politics of the Prescription Dominique A. Tobbell 66
4 Deciphering the Prescription: Pharmacists and the Patient Package Insert Elizabeth Siegel Watkins 91
5 The Right to Write: Prescription and Nurse Practitioners Julie A. Fairman 117
6 The Best Prescription for Women's Health: Feminist Approaches to Well-Woman Care Judith A. Houck 134
7 "Safer Than Aspirin": The Campaign for Over-the-Counter Oral Contraceptives and Emergency Contraceptive Pills Heather Munro Prescott 157
8 The Prescription as Stigma: Opioid Pain Relievers and the Long Walk to the Pharmacy Counter Marcia L. Meldrum 184
9 Busted for Blockbusters: "Scrip Mills," Quaalude, and Prescribing Power in the 1970s David Herzberg 207
10 The Afterlife of the Prescription: The Sciences of Therapeutic Surveillance Jeremy A. Greene 232
Time Line of Federal Regulations and Rulings Related to the Prescription 257
List of Contributors 321