Pharmaceuticals have a more active social life than me.

Nathan Greenslit discusses the idea of a chemical drugs’ social identity. With the added lens of a drugs social life, there becomes two different statements you can make about a drug that has been remarketed. “Fluoxetine hydrochloride is an antidepressant later also marketed for use as a treatment for PMDD” or “Flouxetine hydrochloride was originally marketed as an antidepressant and later also marketed for treatment for PMDD.” Greenslit’s article unpacks the idea that the very identity of what a chemical compound if can be completely socially constructed. From the standpoint of the physician another distinction needs to be made, do different illnesses react differently to the drugs, making them equally effective, or is it the drug that happens to work for both. Does it work for either? Are the illnesses really different? Greenslit states that the deciding factor as to whether a drug is rebranded or just repurposed for a different illness is whether the illnesses have symbolic incompatibility. He notes that OCD, depression and anxiety seem to be conceptually related whereas depression and PMDD are kept in different categories. It seems so very unmedical, unscientific to have the uses of pharmaceuticals dictated by branding and marketing. It is hard to tell whether it would be more ethical, or just more intuitive to only use the generic brands and have physicians and studies dictate which individuals would benefit best from them.

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