Drug Regulation in the United States and Germany

By Arthur A. Daemmrich

224 pp., 6 x 9, 8 illus., 7 tables, appends., notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-7241-3
    Published: September 2011
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-0-8078-6339-8
    Published: December 2005
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-7839-7
    Published: December 2005

Studies in Social Medicine

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Awards & distinctions

2006 Edward Kremers Award, American Institute for the History of Pharmacy

Advocates of rapid access to medicines and critics fearful of inadequate testing both argue that globalization will supersede national medical practices and result in the easy transfer of pharmaceuticals around the world. In Pharmacopolitics, Arthur Daemmrich challenges their assumptions by comparing drug laws, clinical trials, and systems for monitoring adverse reactions in the United States and Germany, two countries with similarly advanced systems for medical research, testing, and patient care. Daemmrich proposes that divergent "therapeutic cultures"--the interrelationships among governments, patients, the medical profession, and the pharmaceutical industry--underlie national differences and explain variations in pharmaceutical markets and medical care.

Daemmrich carries the United States-Germany comparison from 1950 to the present through case studies of Terramycin (an antibiotic), thalidomide (a sedative), propranolol (a heart medication), interleukin-2 (a cancer therapy), and indinavir (an AIDS drug). He points to different political constructions of "the patient" in the United States and Germany to clarify important differences in government policies and in the distribution of power among key social actors. Daemmrich advises that international regulatory harmonization and globalization in medicine must retain flexibility for social and political variation between countries, even as they achieve technical standardization.

About the Author

Arthur Daemmrich is assistant professor of business administration at Harvard Business School.
For more information about Arthur A. Daemmrich, visit the Author Page.


"As the field of German history becomes less national and more international, Daemmrich provides an example of how to go about the difficult task of close comparison. For this reason, [Pharmocopolitics] deserves a wide audience."--H-German

"Pharmacopolitics is a fascinating book, not only for readers concerned, more narrowly, with drug regulation, but also for those interested more broadly, in differences in 'body politics'--as well as bodies politic--between Europe and the United States."--Chemical Heritage

"A broad look at the history of drug regulation, clinical studies, and post-marketing surveillance in the United States and in Germany."--New England Journal of Medicine

"[Pharmacopolitics] is a unique contribution to the literature of drug regulation that merits attention by anyone seriously interested in how social controls over drugs evolve."--Pharmacy in History

"[Should] interest a broad spectrum of readership since the regulation of prescription drugs is an enduring political topic."--Journal of the American Medical Association

"This clear and persuasive book is the first to provide a detailed cross-national comparison of the politics of pharmaceutical drug regulation. Anyone concerned with understanding how governments, social movements, professional groups, and corporations determine which drugs end up on our pharmacy shelves should read this book carefully."--Steven Epstein, University of California, San Diego, author of Impure Science: AIDS, Activism, and the Politics of Knowledge