Antidepressants and Advertising: Psychopharmaceuticals in Crisis

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Antidepressants and Advertising: Psychopharmaceuticals in Crisis

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Title: Antidepressants and Advertising: Psychopharmaceuticals in Crisis
Author: Greenslit, Nathan; Kaptchuk, Ted Jack

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Citation: Greenslit, Nathan P., and Ted J. Kaptchuk. 2012. Antidepressants and advertising: psychopharmaceuticals in crisis. The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine 85(1): 153-158.
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Abstract: As the efficacy and science of psychopharmaceuticals has become increasingly uncertain, marketing of these drugs to both physicians and consumers continues to a central part of a multi-billion dollar per year industry in the United States. We explore how such drug marketing portrays idealized scientific relationships between psychopharmaceuticals and depression; how multiple stakeholders, including scientists, regulatory agencies, and patient advocacy groups, negotiate neurobiological explanations of mental illness; and how the placebo effect has become a critical issue in these debates, including the possible role of drug advertising to influence the placebo effect directly. We argue that if and how antidepressants “work” is not a straightforward objective question, but rather a larger social contest involving scientific debate, the political history of the pharmaceutical industry, cultural discourses surrounding the role of drugs in society, and the interpretive flexibility of personal experience.
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