Pill Peddlers: Essays on the History of the Pharmaceutical Industry

Pill Peddlers: Essays on the History of the Pharmaceutical Industry

Editor: Jonathan Liebenau, Gregory J. Higby, and Elaine C. Stroud, eds.
Publisher: American Institute of the History of Pharmacy
Year Published: 1990
Pages: 133
ISBN: 0-931292-22-0
Series: AIHP Monograph Series #13
Price: $10.95 ($6.95 for members)

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The title of this book, Pill Peddlers, comes from an allusion to the drug industry in Sinclair Lewis’s novel of 1924, Arrowsmith. Since two of the essays in this volume quote that passages from Lewis, as examples of the public image of the pharmaceutical industry, we though it appropriate as a provocative title for this collection of essays. It serves as a reminder of the generally low esteem accorded to the pharmaceutical industry throughout much of its history.

This publication is the result of a symposium organized in 1987 by Jonathan Liebenau at the Wellcome Institute in London, where Dr. Leibenau brought together a group of scholars to describe and analyze the development of the pharmaceutical industry in various countries, and to suggest new areas for research. By publishing papers from that symposium, the AIHP hopes to encourage further exploration of an industry that in little more than a century grew from obscurity to predominance in the field of pharmacy.

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction, by Jonathan Liebenau (page 1)
  • The Rise of the English Drugs Industry: The Role of Thomas Corbyn, by Roy Porter and Dorothy Porter (page 5)
  • The “Preposterous Provision:” The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics’ Ban on Industrial Pharmacologists, 1908-1941, by John Parascandola (page 29)
  • A Brief History of the Pharmaceutical Industry in Basel, by Renate A. Riedl (page 49)
  • Universities, Industry, and the Rise of Biomedical Collaboration in America, by John P. Swann (page 73)
  • The Early History of the Wellcome Research Laboratories, by E. M. Tansey and Rosemary C. E. Milligan (page 91)
  • The French Pharmaceutical Industry, 1919-1939, by Michael Robson (page 107)
  • The Twentieth-Century British Pharmaceutical Industry in International Context, by Jonathan Liebenau (page 123)
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