Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Public Health. 2010 May;100(5):793-803. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2009.181255. Epub 2010 Mar 18.

Hidden in plain sight marketing prescription drugs to consumers in the twentieth century.

Author information

Department of the History of Science, Harvard University, Science Center 364, One Oxford St, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.


Although the public health impact of direct-to-consumer (DTC) pharmaceutical advertising remains a subject of great controversy, such promotion is typically understood as a recent phenomenon permitted only by changes in federal regulation of print and broadcast advertising over the past two decades. But today's omnipresent ads are only the most recent chapter in a longer history of DTC pharmaceutical promotion (including the ghostwriting of popular articles, organization of public-relations events, and implicit advertising of products to consumers) stretching back over the twentieth century. We use trade literature and archival materials to examine the continuity of efforts to promote prescription drugs to consumers and to better grapple with the public health significance of contemporary pharmaceutical marketing practices.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center