Pharma in the bedroom... and the kitchen.... The pharmaceuticalisation of daily life

Nick J. Fox, Katie J. Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

89 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines the consequences of a new emphasis on lifestyle in the production, marketing and consumption of pharmaceuticals. Over the past decade, a range of medicines have become available that address aspects of lifestyle, while others have been the subject of lifestyle marketing. We argue, with recourse to a broad literature from the social sciences, economics and health services research and from our study of pharmaceutical consumption, that two processes can be discerned. First, there is a domestication of pharmaceutical consumption, with drugs available via home computers, and marketing of pharmaceuticals that focuses upon private or personal conditions and addresses domestic activities such as sex and cooking. Secondly, there is a pharmaceuticalisation of everyday life as the pharmaceutical industry introduces profitable medicines for a range of daily activities and pharmaceuticals come to be seen by consumers as a 'magic bullet' to resolve problems of daily life. We suggest that the pharmaceuticalisation of daily life links the economics and politics of pharmaceutical production to the private lives of citizens.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)856-868
Number of pages13
JournalSociology of Health and Illness
Issue number6
Early online date28 Aug 2008
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2008
Externally publishedYes


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