I have been doing research on and writing about the pharmaceutical industry for so long that my acknowledgments here can’t be even nearly complete. I started this research after hearing an excellent constellation of presentations by Jennifer Fishman, Jeremy Greene, David Healy and Andy Lakoff. They then introduced me to the area and some of the many other people working in it. I especially appreciated my conversations with Jeremy then and later – everybody working in this area can learn from him. Many of my other intellectual debts are in the footnotes, but I particularly want to acknowledge conversations and exchanges with Jill Fisher, Marc-André Gagnon, David Healy, C-F Helgesson, Sammi King, Joel Lexchin, Phil Mirowski, Maggie Mort, Marc Rodwin and Jamie Swift.
Upon entering the world of pharma, I was lucky to become part of a lively private listserv discussion of the pharmaceutical industry’s practices. That discussion has informed my work in many intangible ways, and has given me a wealth of pharmaceutical knowledge that I’ve been able to use to support my research.
I was also lucky to be coming from the field of Science and Technology Studies. My background encouraged me to not naturalize existing or ideological boundaries of medicine, and led me to try to understand the processes and structures through which the pharmaceutical industry was acting. Altogether, this background led me to look for – and then find – things that many people coming from medicine, bioethics and other fields studying pharma often ignore.
Much-appreciated funding for this project came from grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (#106892) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (#410-2010-1033). The publication of this book was also supported, in part, by on-going funding from Queen’s University.
The first version of Chapter 3 was published as Sergio Sismondo, ‘Ghosts in the Machine: Publication Planning in the Medical Sciences’, Social Studies of Science 39, no. 2 (2009): 171–198; some of that material was used in later articles, including ‘Pushing Knowledge in the Drug Industry: Ghost-Managed Science’, in Sergio Sismondo and Jeremy Greene, eds, The Pharmaceutical Studies Reader (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2015), 150–164. Similarly, an early version of Chapter 5 was published as Sergio Sismondo, ‘Key Opinion Leaders: Valuing Independence and Conflict of Interest in the Medical Sciences’, in Isabelle Dussauge, C-F Helgesson and Francis Lee, eds, Value Practices in the Life Sciences (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), 31–48. A portion of Chapter 5 also descends from Sergio Sismondo and Zdenka Chloubova, ‘“You’re Not Just a Paid Monkey Reading Slides”: How Key Opinion Leaders Explain and Justify Their Work’, BioSocieties 11, no. 2 (2016): 199–219. Bits and pieces of the rest of the book are taken from a number of other articles and chapters, too numerous to mention.
The many audiences at presentations of early versions of some of these chapters, at excellent universities around the world, contributed important questions, comments and the occasional enthusiastic reception. I especially want to thank audiences at Berkeley, Copenhagen, Harvard, Leiden, Linköping, Northwestern, Pennsylvania, Vienna, York and a few annual meetings of the Society for Social Studies of Science. Students taking my courses have had to put up with my trying out different ideas and chapter theses, including some that did not make it out of the classroom and into the book.
The people interviewed for this project are owed enormous thanks for their time and thoughtfulness. If you were interviewed and you’re reading this, I know that the results don’t flatter your professions, but I hope that you find the results useful to think about.
On a few occasions, I hired or worked with research assistants or associates. Some whose work was particularly important to this book and who deserve special thanks are Zdenka Chloubova (who helped interview KOLs), Khadija Coxon, Elliot Ross and Jelena Subina, each of whom attended an industry conference and gave me detailed reports of the presentations there, and Heather Poechman, with whom I collaborated on most of the diagrams and who read the entire manuscript, helping with the formatting and checking it for spelling and grammar problems.
Over the past few years, weekly conversations and exercise with Luis Illas helped out tremendously. Christine Sismondo is an inspiration and always a fount of good sense: read her book America Walks into a Bar! I’ve also appreciated the tacit support, and sometimes more tangible help of Clara and Joe Sismondo. Phoebe distracted me as I was trying to pull the book together, but in the end she gave in to the fact that I was determined to spend a lot of time in front of the computer.
I very much appreciated close readings of the manuscript by two editors for Mattering Press, Uli Beisel and Endre Dányi; Endre also did an excellent job of shepherding the manuscript through to publication, providing excellent support and advice. Mattering Press has done a super job, and I would encourage other authors in Science and Technology Studies to consider it for their next book.
When I needed him, my good friend Alec Ross stepped up and read the book, making good suggestions throughout to make the prose less leaden. Alec had been hearing about and reading the central ideas and research here for a very long time, and I hope that the larger project has lived up to its promise. I was flattered when my friend and colleague Nicole Nelson insisted on reading a penultimate draft of the manuscript, and then provided many pages of incisive and generous comments. Read her recent book, too: Model Behavior.
Khadija Coxon read and/or helped with earlier versions of a number of these chapters, and had to put up with me working through the same constellation of ideas for far too long. The conversations we had about them improved my work in more ways than I can know. Thank you! And thank you all!