Mann and Plummer take us behind the scenes in the aspirin wars to penetrate the shores of capitalism and show the essence of competition at its canniest, most ruthless, most brilliant, and most fierce.ights to Atlantic. 8 pages of photographs.
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The analogy to a military history is well fulfilled by this literate, compendious chronicle of the marketing of aspirin and its analgesic rivals, starting with the drug's final formulation in the late 1800's and ending with its current ``repositioning'' as a heart-attack preventive. According to Mann (a contributing editor to Science and The Atlantic) and Plummer, here we have a perfect history of medical hype: Aspirin's pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects are verifiable and even miraculous, but because its sole constituent, acetylsalicylic acid, had been known and therefore unpatentable in Germany, it became (along with heroin) one of the first drugs sold not by its chemical name but by its ``brand'': Aspirin. The company that sold it was Bayer of Elberfeld, later to become the monolith I.G. Farben. After WW I, when Germany could no longer transact business in many western nations, the brand name became a free-for- all. Among other things, the battle over market share gave rise to such institutions as the roadside billboard and the FDA. Then along came acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil)--and the plot continues to thicken. A well-told tale of greed, business acumen, and ongoing marketing genius that's also a microcosmic history of law, politics, and medical progress in the 20th century. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Library Journal:
The authors detail the history of the marketing of aspirin as a drug from its introduction in 1899 to the present. They carefully researched the business, medical, and legal literature to supplement information obtained through interviews with numerous scientists, businesspeople, and government officials. Some of the events they describe include the activities of Farbenfabriken Bayer in the United States in the early 1900s, Sterling's purchase of the Bayer name of aspirin, the Food and Drug Administration's regulations in labeling and advertising of aspirin, the introduction of competing products such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, and recent claims that aspirin will reduce the risk of heart attacks for healthy people. The authors also provide numerous literature references. Highly recommended for business and medical collections of public, university, and special libraries.
- Bruce Slutsky, St. John's Univ. Lib., Jamaica, N.Y.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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