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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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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 27 July 2021

A Big Pill to Swallow

A Big Pill to Swallow

(p.220) Seven A Big Pill to Swallow
Remaking the American Patient

Nancy Tomes

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter examines how American consumers came to view the expense of prescription drugs as a “big pill to swallow” during the Cold War era. It considers how the cost and quality of prescription drugs became a central issue in the late 1950s and exacerbated the already shaky doctor–patient relationship as physicians were held responsible for concerns about both the prices and the safety of these medications. It also discusses the concern regarding the economic ties between physicians and the pharmaceutical industry and the drugstores' transition from traditional counter service to self-service. Finally, it explores how the widening distinction between over-the-counter and prescription drugs in the Cold War drugstore contributed to the revival of medical consumerism.

Keywords:   prescription drugs, doctor–patient relationship, physicians, pharmaceutical industry, drugstores, self-service, medical consumerism

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