Infernal Alternatives of Corporate Pharmaceutical Research

What happens when health research is measured by market size? How does this change the dynamics of medical research, and how is its growth envisioned and managed? In this article, I build on my arguments in Drugs for Life: How Pharmaceutical Companies Define our Health, which focused primarily on the development and marketing of mass medications for heart disease and I examine the market dynamics that are used to drive research into and out of psychiatric and other neuromedicines, such as the closing of mental health research at most major pharmaceutical companies. Industry compares entire sectors of medical research to evaluate their relative chances of profits and growth; it is willing to sacrifice a whole region of effective and profitable medicine if it can grow profits more in other regions. Baudrillard, Pignarre, and Stengers are used to consider whether this situation can best be described as one of infernal alternatives, and how to analyze the responses of psychiatric leaders.

2017  “The Infernal Alternatives of Corporate Pharmaceutical Research: Abandoning Psychiatry.” Medical Anthropology doi:10.1080/01459740.2017.1360877.