A Snapshot of Drug Advertising Laws in the USA: Impact on Consumer Protection and Health

Traditional drug advertisements involve drug ads and promotional material targeted at healthcare professionals to increase clinician knowledge of advancement in treatment options. On the other hand, direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) is pharmaceutical advertising directed at patients to increase their awareness of available drugs and treatment options.

There has been renewed interest in the value of DTCA in recent years, which makes it seem like a modern phenomenon, but the practice dates back to early medical training. The argument in support of DTCA is that targeting consumers instead of healthcare providers gives patients power and agency over their drug consumption (Schwartz & Woloshin, 2016). While this argument has some merits, it is vital that we know the history of drug advertisements in the United States to understand how DTCA has shaped public perception of drugs, drug use, and public health. Only with this understanding can we make a sound judgment on the need for DTCA in present times and the future of healthcare.

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Who Can Afford a Baby? An Intersection of Gender, Race, and Class Oppression in Fertility Treatment in the USA

The World Health Organization (WHO) describes infertility as an inability to achieve a viable pregnancy within one year of regular and unprotected heterosexual sex. Infertility is classified as a disease by WHO and as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Center for Disease Control estimates that 1 in 5 heterosexual women who have no prior births experience infertility. This makes infertility one of the most common diseases/disabilities in women of reproductive age (Insogna & Ginsburg, 2018; World Health Organization, 2018:2020; Davis & Khosla, 2020).

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Discussions on Enacting Transdisciplinarity in Psychedelic Studies 

In my first post for this six-part series of commentaries, I reflected on the start of the “Psychedelic Pasts, Presents, and Futures” Borghesi-Mellon workshop when faculty, students, and community members gathered in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to discuss the importance of transdisciplinarity in psychedelic research and education. In this final post of the series, I return to transdisciplinarity after a semester of events, including a second discussion about transdisciplinarity on the other side of UW-Madison’s campus in the brutalist, concrete Helen C. White Hall. One of the aims of the organizers—Dr. Lucas Richert, Amanda Pratt, and myself–for this workshop was to foster conversations about what humanities and social sciences perspectives bring to psychedelic studies, particularly in relation to the role of transdisciplinarity at the new Transdisciplinary Center for Research on Psychoactive Substances (TCRPS) at UW-Madison.

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Future Histories of Psychedelic Biomedicine

A commonly cited catalyst for the psychedelic renaissance is the renewed interest in biomedical research on psychedelics for mental health, including depression, PTSD, and addiction. For instance, popular media like Michael Pollan’s How to Change Your Mind (2018) and its Netflix adaptation (2022) often utilize this research to bolster claims about the relative safety of psychedelics and their efficacy as a mental health treatment. The common (and simplified) narrative in these popular portrayals is that psychedelic research boomed throughout the mid-twentieth century before being swept up in the drug war and pushed underground, and yet today, after years of unjust policies and propaganda, psychedelic researchers and advocates from the past are being proven right by contemporary biomedical research.

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Mosaics of Support for Psychedelic Risk Reduction

Timothy Leary used the phrase “set and setting” to describe the way that one’s mindset and physical setting impacts their psychedelic experience. In a recent talk titled “Beyond Set and Setting: Cultivating Mosaics of Support,” Kwasi Adusei, DNP, PMHNP-BC, clarified that set and setting refer to the extra-pharmacological influences on psychedelic experiences, including the “color palette of set” (i.e. internal elements like mood, beliefs, and attitudes) and the “crucible of setting” (i.e external elements like music, space, and people). Adusei ultimately advocated for the addition of a “mosaic of support”–meaning the collection of factors that aid in integrating a psychedelic experience–to set and setting in order to increase the benefits and reduce the risks of psychedelics. 

Adusei came to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to give this talk for the next installment of the “Psychedelic, Pasts, Presents and Futures” Borghesi-Mellon workshop. In his work as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, psychedelic-assisted psychotherapist, and co-founder of the Psychedelic Society of Western New York, Adusei hopes to shift the stigma around psychedelics and demonstrate that psychedelics can help people heal and remain productive members of society. The aim of such work, in Adusei’s view, is to empower people to do this work within their own communities by providing numerous resources that support them in this project.

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Reflections on how the Yaqui Intercultural Medicine Clinic – a unique model of community well-being and mental health treatment in Sonora – came to be.

If you read my previous post, “The Toad Boom: the false narrative of ancestral 5-MeO-DMT use”, you may perhaps have wondered why I wrote that post with such vehemence and confidence. In this post, I would like share that the reason for that is that I witnessed first-hand how that story unfolded.

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Points Interview: Philipp Rühr, Archival Researcher Network participant.

Following on from my recent post on the emergence of the non-profit psychedelic prior art library Porta Sophia, and its Archival Researcher Network (ARN), this post features an interview with ARN-participant Philipp Rühr.

Philipp is an aspiring psychotherapist with a background in video art, filmmaking and translation. His videos and films have been shown internationally. Based in Berlin, he is currently completing his studies in Psychotherapy Sciences at the Sigmund Freud Universität where he is also working at the outpatient clinic. He has recently received Porta Sophia’s ARN-Research Grant for his research on psychedelic prior art. Philipp’s current focus are clinical trials with psychedelic compounds in children and adolescents, and he is dreaming of compiling and translating a compendium of historic German psychedelic study reports which haven’t previously been translated into English.

Through the interview here, it becomes clear how Rühr’s work with the ARN has dovetailed with his own research interests and career to ultimately support Porta Sophia’s goal to intervene in the psychedelic patent landscape and ensure psychedelic therapies can one day be available at scale to the people who need them. Rühr was one of the first recipients of a Porta Sophia research grant and, to date, he has submitted 30 pieces of prior art in response to the archival prior art targets. 

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