From Medicalisation to Pharmaceuticalisation - A Sociological Overview. New Scenarios for the Sociology of Health

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Abstract

The aim of this paper is to analyse the sociological literature on pharmaceuticalisation and see how sociology helps us understand and explain the phenomenon. We then discuss how sociology, especially in Anglo-Saxon countries, defines the process of pharmaceuticalisation and how this last is evolving. The paper points out that, while medicalisation remains a key concept for health sociology, it is increasingly being queried and/or extended to allow for a techno-scientific era of biomedicalisation (Clarke et al. 2003) and to acknowledge the importance of the pharmaceutical industry in this process (Williams, Martin and Gabe 2011a, 2011b). Particular attention will be paid to the process of pharmaceuticalisation as brought about not just by doctors and their prescriptions, but by the central role of pharmaceutical promoters and the marketing of drugs.

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