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6112 -- ECKS, STEFAN

Is India on Prozac? Sociotropic effects of pharmaceuticals in a global perspective (work in progress)


Curare 26.2003:95-107


##Mood-altering drugs such as Prozac are widely used in North America and are gaining increasing prominence around the globe. The Indian pharmaceutical industry not only produces these drugs for export, but also markets them to Indian patients. This article explores how this process is challenging established patterns of thought in medical anthropology, transcultural psychiatry, and bioethics. Researchers in these fields commonly take for granted that patients´ models of illness are ordered in a specific sequence: first, a patient experiences symptoms of illlless, then tries to understand the causes of ill-being, then seeks the sort of healing that seems most appropriate (biomedical, psychotherapeutic, ritual, or other). As I argue here, the presence of drugs might completely reverse this order: first, there is the drug, then the explanation, then the perception of symptoms by "the patient." By bringing into play ideas from science and technology studies (STS), I illustrate how pharmaceuticals can have transforrnative powers even in the absence of active ingredients, or even in the absence of belief in the drug. Tbe concept of "sociotropic" is developed to capture these phenomena, and is applied to research perspectives for urban India.##

Keywords: urban India, pharmaceuticals, prozac (Fluctin Fluoxetin), sociotropic drugs, medical anthropology, bioethics, self-treatment

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