Prescribing by Numbers: Drugs and the Definition of Disease

Prescribing by Numbers: Drugs and the Definition of Disease

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by Jeremy A. Greene
     
 

The second half of the twentieth century witnessed the emergence of a new model of chronic disease—diagnosed on the basis of numerical deviations rather than symptoms and treated on a preventive basis before any overt signs of illness develop—that arose in concert with a set of safe, effective, and highly marketable prescription drugs.

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Overview

The second half of the twentieth century witnessed the emergence of a new model of chronic disease—diagnosed on the basis of numerical deviations rather than symptoms and treated on a preventive basis before any overt signs of illness develop—that arose in concert with a set of safe, effective, and highly marketable prescription drugs. Physician-historian Jeremy A. Greene examines the mechanisms by which drugs and chronic disease categories define one another within medical research, clinical practice, and pharmaceutical marketing, and he explores how this interaction has profoundly altered the experience, politics, ethics, and economy of health in late-twentieth-century America. His provocative analysis sheds light on the increasing presence of the subjectively healthy but highly medicated individual in the American medical landscape, suggesting how historical perspective can help to address the problems inherent in the program of pharmaceutical prevention.

"Greene describes the relationship between advances in treatment, the incentives of manufacturers, and the effect on the public of increased attention to prevention... The risk-benefit trade-offs of the quantitative approach are complex, and Greene's historical revelations are timely."— New England Journal of Medicine

"One of the best, and most significant, books published recently on the development of medical practice and the pharmaceutical industry in the U.S. in the second half of the twentieth century."— Social History of Medicine

"Greene focuses on the question of how public health priorities became closely aligned with the pharmaceutical industry's marketing practices... [and] offers a nuanced description of the development of 'therapeutics of risk reduction' with multiple lines of influence, subtle power shifts, and gains and losses for patients and physicians."— Chemical Heritage

"A gripping story... Greene warns us in his superb book that things are not always as they are claimed."— Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine

Jeremy A. Greene is a fellow in the Department of Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School and a resident in the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801891007
Publisher:
Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date:
11/01/2008
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
973,465
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Jeremy A. Greene is an associate professor of medicine and the Elizabeth Treide and A. McGehee Harvey Chair in the history of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He is the author of Generic: The Unbranding of Modern Medicine and coeditor of Prescribed: Writing, Filling, Using, and Abusing the Prescription in Modern America, both published by Johns Hopkins.

Johns Hopkins University Press

Table of Contents


Preface     vii
Acknowledgments     xiii
Introduction. The Pharmacopoeia of Risk Reduction     1
Diuril and Hypertension, 1957-1977     19
Releasing the Flood Waters: The Development and Promotion of Diuril     21
Shrinking the Symptom, Growing the Disease: Hypertension after Diuril     51
Orinase and Diabetes, 1960-1980     81
Finding the Hidden Diabetic: Orinase Creates a New Market     83
Risk and the Symptom: The Trials of Orinase     115
Mevacor and Cholesterol, 1970-2000     149
The Fall and Rise of a Risk Factor: Cholesterol and Its Remedies     151
Know Your Number: Cholesterol and the Threshold of Pathology     189
Conclusion. The Therapeutic Transition     221
Notes     241
Index     309

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