STS for pharmaceuticals and public health policy
Conor Douglas (Maastricht University)
Courtney Davis (King's College London)
John Abraham (King's College London)
Stuart Hogarth (King's College London)
Friday 2 September, 9:00-10:45, 11:00-12:45, 12:30-14:15, 14:00-15:45 (UTC+0)

Short abstract:

What is the relationship between pharmaceuticals and the policies that govern them? How can societal challenges in this area be addressed to achieve health outcomes? We seek papers exploring the dynamics through which pharma technoscience has been, could be, and should be, shaped by other means.

Long abstract:

The path pharmaceuticals and associated diagnostic devices travel from developmental stages within laboratories, through clinical development, and ultimately to the patient is highly precarious, though potentially lucrative. While the techno-scientific bases of such products are extremely complex, the work of Abraham (1995), Davis (2015, with Abraham), Hogarth and Salter (2010), Douglas et al. (2015) and others have shown they are also social, economic, legal and political accomplishments. Understanding the nature and socially significant implications of how these political, economic and legal dynamics shape pharmaceuticals and diagnostics underpins this track's motivation. While major shifts are underway in medicine's focus on how to understand fundamentals of disease via advanced genomic and bio-marker technologies, the possibility of more evidence-based evaluation of scientific claims-making about pharmaceutical treatment of disease is also progressing. The business models of pharmaceutical/diagnostic companies, government policies/ideologies, organization and philosophies of regulatory agencies, the medical profession's production of knowledge, and patient advocacy all play a role in determining the trajectory of these technologies in our society. We seek to extend research at the STS-pharmaceutical nexus by inviting papers that explore this trajectory with a view to evaluating the implications for public health. This includes: political economy of pharmaceutical/diagnostic industry; patents, markets and innovation; (de)regulation, innovation and availability of valuable therapies; law, transparency and public accountability of industrial/regulatory science, the medical-industrial complex and pharmaceutical knowledge production, political dynamics of drugs for rare diseases; pharmaceutical coverage decision-making in the context of healthcare sustainability ; the role of patients in development and regulatory processes.

Accepted papers: