Eating Drugs: An Interview

Drugs exist that are meant to help people feel better. The doctors who prescribe them might believe that they work, while their patients do not. In explaining the drugs to their patients, should those doctors use the medical terminology they themselves use – which might not be immediately understandable to their patients – or should they translate the description into terms more comfortable and familiar to the patient? And what are the practical and ethical consequences of each decision? Stefan Ecks’ new book carefully considers these problems in the context of health-related practices in modern Calcutta. Eating Drugs: Psychopharmaceutical Pluralism in India (NYU Press, 2013) looks successively at the different and overlapping medical and healing contexts that together make up a significant part of the medical marketplace in Calcutta. We talked about the book for the New Books in STS podcast, and you can listen to our conversation by heading over to this link.