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Remaking the American PatientHow Madison Avenue and Modern Medicine Turned Patients into Consumers$
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Nancy Tomes

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781469622774

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469622774.001.0001

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The Guinea Pigs’ Revolt

The Guinea Pigs’ Revolt

(p.105) Four The Guinea Pigs’ Revolt
Remaking the American Patient

Nancy Tomes

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter discusses the emergence of a new kind of medical consumerism in the 1930s as an alternative to the “marriage of medicine and business” that made Americans unwitting “guinea pigs.” Before considering the application of critical consumerism to medical care, the chapter traces the origins of calls for Americans to become more “intelligent buyers” of medicine in order to avoid the dangers of deceptive advertising, unsafe drugs and cosmetics, unnecessary medical procedures, and unaffordable doctors' bills. It then examines the strand of medical consumerism directed at drugstores that was built on longstanding complaints about proprietary drugs and their manufacturers' advertising techniques. It also comments on the disagreement among physicians over the consumerist ideal of the skeptical patient, with particular emphasis on the American Medical Association's refusal to admit the medical profession's flaws. Finally, it analyzes the growing conflict over what it meant to be a “good” patient.

Keywords:   medical consumerism, critical consumerism, medical care, advertising, drugstores, proprietary drugs, physicians, American Medical Association

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