restricted access The Great American Medicine Show Revisited
Abstract

Since the late 1800s, changes in the advertising and marketing of medicinal drugs have produced heated debates in the United States. With the emergence of the modern prescription drug between 1938 and 1951, concerns that once focused primarily on patients' use of over-the-counter drugs were broadened to include physicians and their "doctors' drugs" as well. The medical profession's growing control over their patients' drug choices inevitably heightened the scrutiny of their own performance as consumers. Although deeply divided over issues of the patient's role in medical decision making, consumer activists and physician reformers expressed similar concerns about the impact of aggressive pharmaceutical marketing and advertising on the doctor-patient relationship, and starting in the late 1950s they employed strikingly similar strategies to counter the new corporate "medicine show." Yet their efforts to promote a more rational use of prescription drugs have usually been too little and too late to offset the effectiveness of pharmaceutical advertising and mar-keting activities.


pdf