Drugs for Life

DrugsForLife-Dumit-Cover-rev

How Pharmaceutical Companies Define Our Health (2012 Duke University Press)

Kindle version is now out!

Hear my radio interview about Drugs for Life on BBC 4 Thinking Allowed

Every year the average number of prescriptions purchased by Americans increases, as do healthcare expenditures, which are projected to reach one-fifth of the U.S. gross domestic product by 2020. In Drugs for Life, I consider how our burgeoning consumption of medicine and cost of healthcare not only came to be, but also came to be taken for granted. For several years, I attended pharmaceutical industry conferences; spoke with marketers, researchers, doctors, and patients; and surveyed the industry’s literature regarding strategies to expand markets for prescription drugs. I concluded that underlying the continual growth in medications, disease categories, costs, and insecurity is a relatively new perception of ourselves as inherently ill and in need of chronic treatment. This perception is based on clinical trials that we have largely outsourced to pharmaceutical companies. Those companies in turn see clinical trials as investments and measure the value of those investments by the size of the market and profits that it will create. They only ask questions for which the answer is more medicine. Drugs for Life challenges our understanding of health, risks, facts, and clinical trials, the very concepts used by pharmaceutical companies to grow markets to the point where almost no one can imagine a life without prescription drugs.

Here is introduction to it: Dumit 2012 Drugs for Life – Introduction

Buy Drugs for Life at Amazon

Drugs for Life also featured in Booktivism at the wonderful and scary Selling Sickness conference in February 2013. You can download a reader’s guide to the books here.

--

2012

Dumit, Joseph. 2012. Drugs for Life: Growing Health through Facts and Pharmaceuticals. Durham: Duke University Press.

»Objective Brains, Prejudicial Images

Rampage-InScanner-1.jpg

Science in Context 12, 1 (1999), pp.173-201 In this article I argue that brain images constructed with computerized tomography (CT) and positron emission tomography (PET) are part of a category of “expert images” and are both visually persuasive and also particularly difficult to interpret and understand by non-experts. Following the innovative judicial analogy of “demonstrative Continue reading…

+
-

»WRITING THE IMPLOSION: Teaching the World One Thing at a Time

implosion-lain

This has been my mainstay form of doing and thinking ethnographically a connected and disconnected world. A reading of Gilles Deleuze’s Cinema 2 in dialogue with Donna Haraway’s works and methods. Working through the former helps me unpack the process of Haraway’s inquisitive “implosion” method and some of its aims better. I describe this as Continue reading…

+
-

»Biomedicine as Culture

Biomedicine as Culture

Co-edited with Regula Burri in 2008. Biomedicine as Culture: Instrumental Practices, Technoscientific Knowledge, and New Modes of Life (Routledge Studies in Science, Technology and Society), best described through contents: Introduction REGULA VALÉRIE BURRI AND JOSEPH DUMIT PART I Social and cultural studies of biomedicine 1 Medicalizing culture(s) or culturalizing medicine(s) STEFAN BECK 2 Metaphors of medicine Continue reading…

+
-