Getting to yes: corporate power and the creation of a psychopharmaceutical blockbuster

Cult Med Psychiatry. 2009 Jun;33(2):185-215. doi: 10.1007/s11013-009-9129-3.


In this paper, I analyze documentary evidence from a pharmaceutical company's strategic marketing campaign to expand the sale of an antipsychotic medication beyond its conventional market. I focus on the role of the managerial function known as channel marketing, the task of which is to minimize friction, achieve coordination and add value in the distribution of the company's products. However, the path to achieving these objectives is challenged because members of the marketing channel, or intermediaries, may not be contractual members of the channel; in fact they may have widely divergent goals or may even be hostile to the manufacturer's efforts at control. This can be construed to be the case for physicians and others who are in the pharmaceutical manufacturer's distribution channel but not of it. Their views and actions must somehow be brought into alignment with the manufacturer's goals. This paper seeks to show part of the process from the manufacturer's strategic standpoint, in which potential dissenters are incorporated into the pharmaceutical company distribution channel. The routinization of this incorporation results in the diminishment of psychiatry's professional autonomy by means of what is-paradoxically to them, but not to a student of marketing-a competitive threat. The paper concludes with a discussion of corporate power.

MeSH terms

  • Antipsychotic Agents*
  • Commerce / organization & administration*
  • Drug Industry*
  • Humans
  • Marketing*
  • Organizational Case Studies
  • Patents as Topic
  • Psychotropic Drugs*


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Psychotropic Drugs