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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Healing Disruption: Symposium

Dr Maziyar Ghiabi has announced the proceedings of a two-day symposium titled ‘Healing Disruption: Histories of Intoxication and ‘Addiction’. The symposium is to be held on 26th-27th January, 2023 at Reed Hall, Exeter University, UK. For more details please email m.ghiabi@exeter.ac.uk.

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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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ICDPS fall seminar series unpacks complex global health histories

We are still living the COVID-19 pandemic, and scholarship regarding public health, drug history, and global health governance has become more important than ever. In light of recent global health crises, the International Center for Drug Policy Studies at Shanghai University organized a series of online seminars to discuss and understand the present situation in global health and drug regulations. ICDPS held the seminars during November and December of 2022, and invited scholars from around the world to share and discuss their research.

Addiction Lives Interview: Paul Roman

This post provides some excerpts from an “Addiction Lives” interview with Paul Roman, a researcher in the alcohol and addictions field for 55 years, who talks about the early years of the NIAAA. You can read the full interview here.

The “Addiction Lives” interview project is a print and online collaboration between the Society for the Study of Addiction and the journal Addiction. The series explores the views and personal experiences of people who have contributed to the evolution of ideas in the Addiction journal’s field of interest.

“Addiction Lives” is edited by Professor Virginia Berridge and this interview was conducted by Points co-founder Trysh Travis in August 2021.


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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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