Corporate Science and the Husbandry of Scientific and Medical Knowledge by Alastair Matheson analyzes the way in which medical discourse is constructed, and the influence that the pharmaceutical industry has on this process. When introducing a new drug, pharmaceutical companies tend do also attempt to establish knowledge that accompanies the drug’s production itself. This knowledge or “product canon” legitimizes the new drug within the contemporary medical paradigm. Through clinical trials they establish this “product canon”. Initially the public perception of the drug is reshaped; this is done by introducing a problem or “puzzle” which then is associated with the emergence of a corresponding new drug. Knowledge is in essence created to serve a commercial purpose.
The article emphasizes the pivotal role which pharmaceutical interest plays in creating scientific norms in medical discourse. The medical field’s great dependence on pharmaceutical funding and endorsement renders it vulnerable to commercial interest.