America has had a long love affair with the prescription. It is much more than the written "script" or a manufactured medicine, professionally dispensed and taken, and worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year. As an object, it is uniquely illustrative of the complex relations among the producers, providers, and consumers of medicine in modern America.
The tale of the prescription is one of constant struggles over and changes in medical and therapeutic authority. Stakeholders across the biomedical enterprise have alternately upheld and resisted, supported and critiqued, and subverted and transformed the power of the prescription. Who prescribes? What do they prescribe? How do they decide what to prescribe? These questions set a society-wide agenda that changes with the times and profoundly shifts the medical landscape. Examining drugs individually, as classes, and as part of the social geography of health care, contributors to this volume explore the history of prescribing, including over-the-counter contraceptives, the patient’s experience of filling opioid prescriptions, restraints on physician autonomy in prescribing antibiotics, the patient package insert, and other regulatory issues in medicine during postwar America.
The first authoritative look at the history of the prescription itself, Prescribed is a groundbreaking book that subtly explores the politics of therapeutic authority and the relations between knowledge and practice in modern medicine.