Topic: Political Economies of Pharmaceutical Knowledge
In this course we examine the production, distribution, and consumption of knowledge about drugs – legal, regulated, and patented drugs. As we will learn, the case is a pathological one, as pharmaceutical companies expend great efforts to shape scientific knowledge about their products, and to transfer that knowledge to researchers, physicians, and potential consumers. But the case is one that raises interesting many issues worth discussing, about, for example: the natures of diseases, the bounds of cosmetic pharmaceuticalization, the nature of bias within science, dealing with conflicts of interest, integrity in research, and the enrollment of research subjects. This is an interdisciplinary course, and we will read a wide variety of articles, by philosophers, sociologists, anthropologists, historians, journalists, and medical researchers.