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6_Medicalization, Markets, and Consumers - Conrad and Leiter

6_Medicalization, Markets, and Consumers - Conrad and...

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JOURNALOF HEALTH AND SOCIAL BEHAVIOR One aspect of direct-to-consumer advertis- ing that has not been discussed is its impact on expanding the medicalization of human prob- lems. So-called "consumer education cam- paigns" are used to introduce products, bring- ing new people into a market by creating a pre- viously unrecognized demand for the product (Applbaum 2000). The direct-to-consumer advertising may well shape the way the public conceptualizes problems and it may increase consumer demand for medical solutions. At least two of the top 20 drugs promoted with direct-to-consumer advertising (see Rosenthal et al. 2002) have significant implications for medicalization: Viagra (ranked 6) and Paxil (ranked 4). Viagra and Erectile Dysfunction Male impotence has been a medical problem for many years. There is some evidence of medicalization in the Victorian era (Mumford 1992), although its dominant framing through- out much of the 20th century appears to have been as a psychogenic problem. In the 1990s, the problem became redefined as sexual dys- function and its treatment was promoted by urologists, the medical technology industry, mass media, and
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