Demonization and drug regulation: the state, culture, and FDA regulators as villains in popular fiction, 1974-present

Lucas Richert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Prescription drugs play an increasingly significant part in Americans’ lives. Therefore, undermining the process that safeguards the integrity of that drug armamentarium is particularly scandalous. This article critically considers three novels, The Third Patient, The Delta Factor and Strong Medicine, and attempts to locate them in a broader debate about the relationship between culture and the state. My analysis explores the development and implementation of a regulatory reform philosophy in the United States after 1974 and highlights the demonization of big government and specifically government bureaucrats like FDA officials. At the same time, the novels offer a specific critique of large bureaucracies, even as they acknowledge that such enormous entities provide opportunities for particular types of conspiracy narratives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-262
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Journal of American Culture
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2013


  • food and drug administration
  • pharmaceutical
  • regulation
  • regulatory reform

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