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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 Patient Must Prescribe for the Doctor

The Patient Must Prescribe for the Doctor

(p.251) Eight The Patient Must Prescribe for the Doctor
Remaking the American Patient

Nancy Tomes

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter examines how the ideal of “doctor knows best” came under attack from multiple directions during the years between 1965 and 1975, leading one doctor to say that “the patient must prescribe for the physician.” It begins with an overview of health care legislation associated with the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, including the 1962 Kefauver-Harris Amendment. It then considers the rise of movements that sought to return “medical power to the people,” including student radicals associated with the New Left, radical feminists, and environmentalists. It also looks at advocacy groups within the broader consumerist movement, with particular emphasis on Public Citizen's Health Research Group, founded by Ralph Nader and Sidney Wolfe in 1971, and how its approach to protecting what Nader termed “body rights” helped to bring medical consumerism into the mainstream of American politics. Finally, it discusses the 1970 Patients' Bill of Rights and its provisions on informed consent, along with the emergence of a more domesticated version of medical consumerism.

Keywords:   health care legislation, Kefauver-Harris Amendment, advocacy groups, Public Citizen's Health Research Group, Ralph Nader, medical consumerism, Patients' Bill of Rights, informed consent

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