4_Medicalization, Markets, and Consumers - Conrad and Leiter

4_Medicalization, Markets, and Consumers - Conrad and...

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JOURNAL OF HEALTH AND SOCIAL BEHAVIOR sional medicine historically dominated health care, but we now see "buyers" (e.g., corpora- tions that pay for employees' health insurance); "providers" (e.g., physicians, hospitals, HMOs); "payers" (e.g., insurance companies, governments); and "consumers" (e.g., patients, advocacy groups) all vying for power and influence over medical care. The growing influence of the biotechnology industry (espe- cially the pharmaceutical and genomics indus- tries), has increased the complexity of the "the medical-industrial complex" (Relman 1980; Clarke et al. 2003). In this paper we explore how the develop- ment and promotion of new technologies, con- sumer demand, and the emergence of new medical markets have facilitated new areas of medicalization. Using the cases of Viagra, Paxil, human growth hormone, and in vitro fertilization (IVF) as illustrations, we contend that, in the climate of increased corporatization of health care and decreased public regulation, the creation or expansion of new medical mar- kets are a significant force toward medicaliza- tion.
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