Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Global Psychiatric Market Dynamics

Joseph Dumit, PhD, UC Davis
Haines Hall Reading Room 352

4 – 6:15 pm (talk + reception)


What happens when health is measured by market size, how does this change the dynamics of medical research, and how is it growth envisioned and managed? Building on the arguments in Drugs for Life: How Pharmaceutical Companies Define Our Health, which focused primarily on the development and marketing of mass medications for heart disease, this paper examines the changing forces in the U.S. that are driving research into and out of psychiatric and other neuromedicines, such as the closing of CNS research at most major pharmaceutical companies. It examines the different forces driving mental illness prescription rates, such as the massive increase in prescriptions by non-psychiatrists. By looking at how the pharmaceutical industry struggles with defining health, it shows how market size comes to play a critical role in our changing understanding of public health and the continual growth of mental health treatment numbers. One additional area where mental health and behavioral interventions are being seriously increased is toward increasing prescription compliance. Quite seriously, non-adherence is being considered a disease.

Dumit-coffee-picJoseph Dumit, PhD, is Director of Science & Technology Studies and Professor of Anthropology at University of California, Davis. “My passion is as an anthropologist of passions, brains, games, bodies, drugs and facts. I love engaging with just how strange we all are in doing what we love and how much we love and live by what we think of as knowledge. My research and teaching constantly ask how exactly we came to think, do and speak the way we do about ourselves and our world. What are the actual material ways in which we come to encounter facts and things and take them to be relevant to our lives and our futures?”

His most recent book is on pharmaceutical marketing and clinical trials called Drugs for Life: How Pharmaceutical Companies Define Our Health (Duke University Press, 2012). Previously he wrote about neuroscientists making brain images, Picturing Personhood: Brain Scans and Biomedical Identity (Princeton University Press, 2004). He has also co-edited three books: with Gary Lee Downey, Cyborgs & Citadels: Anthropological Interventions in Emerging Sciences and Technologieswith Robbie Davis-Floyd, Cyborg Babies: From Techno-Sex to Techno-Tots, and with Regula Burri, Biomedicine as Culture. For ten years he was an editor of the journal Culture, Medicine & Psychiatry.