Agenda for an anthropology of pharmaceutical practice

Mark Nichter, Nancy Vuckovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations


Over the last two decades, patterns of pharmaceutical-related behavior and the cultural interpretation of medicines have been examined by anthropologists in several cultural settings. In this paper the authors identify additional issues warranting study so as to broaden the scope of pharmaceutical anthropology, utilizing as a unifying focus the examination of pharmaceutical use in the context of social transformation. Ten interactive themes are presented which bridge micro-level and macro-level investigations of pharmaceutical use. The discussion moves from the discourse on 'rational drug use' to the rationales which underscore drug prescription, manufacture, and demand.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1509-1525
Number of pages17
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Dec 1994


  • consumer demand
  • pharmaceutical practice
  • rational drug use
  • social transformation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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