How do we understand health in relation to society? What role does culture play in shaping our experiences of, and orientation to, health and illness? How do we understand medicine and medical treatment within a sociological framework?
Medicines regulation refers to the role of the state in regulating the safety and efficacy of medicines.
In recent years medical sociology has paid growing attention to medicines and their production by the pharmaceutical industry and how the state controls which medicines are available for consumption. Informed by political sociology and the political economy of medicines, the focus has been on the way in which [Page 217]the interests of the state and pharmaceutical industry may play out to the disadvantage of consumers. Particular attention is being given to the possibility of ‘regulatory capture’, where the government agency responsible for regulating the pharmaceutical industry comes to represent that industry rather than the ‘public interest’ (Abraham, 1995). The extent to which the relationship between government ...