Prescribed by Elizabeth Siegel Watkins
Writing, Filling, Using, and Abusing the Prescription in Modern America

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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.


About Elizabeth Siegel Watkins

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Jeremy A. Greene is an assistant professor of the history of science at Harvard University and an instructor in the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics at the Department of Medicine of Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School. He is the author of Prescribing by Numbers: Drugs and the Definition of Disease, also published by Johns Hopkins. Elizabeth Siegel Watkins is a professor, vice chair, and director of graduate studies in the History of Health Sciences Program at the University of California, San Francisco. She is the author of The Estrogen Elixir: A History of Hormone Replacement Therapy in America and On the Pill: A Social History of Oral Contraceptives, 1950–1970, both also published by Johns Hopkins, and the coeditor of Medicating Modern America: Prescription Drugs in History.
Published April 20, 2012 by Johns Hopkins University Press. 342 pages
Genres: History, Education & Reference, Professional & Technical, Science & Math. Non-fiction

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