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Advertenties voor hypnotica en sedativa in het Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde, 1900-1940: historische veranderingen in de vorm en inhoud van een informatiebron voor artsen

Authors:

Arjo Roersch van der Hoogte ,

NL
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Toine Pieters

Abstract

Drug advertising as communication between the pharmaceutical industry and the physician: Advertisements for psychotropic drugs in the Dutch medical journal, Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde, 1900-1940

 

In this article we explore the historical development of drug advertisements for psychotropic drugs in the leading Dutch medical journal from 1900 to 1940. The advertisements for hypnotics and sedatives, in the Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde (Dutch medical journal) reflected the changes in the vocabulary and image promoted by the pharmaceutical companies. In the first two decades, the advertisements were sober and to the point, and included the trademark, company name, molecular formula and therapeutic properties of the medication. The emphasis was on creating a scientific image of reliable symptom control for the therapeutic drug. In doing so, the ethical drug companies tried (successfully) to distinguish themselves from the producers of patent medicines. Once scientific credibility was established, the form and content of the advertisements changed significantly. In the late 1920s and 1930s drug companies embraced modern advertising techniques, developing a figurative language to address the changing beliefs and practices of Dutch physicians. Instead of promoting therapeutic drugs as safe and scientific, the emphasis was on their effectiveness in comparison to similar drugs. In the process, scientific information was reduced to an indispensable standardized minimum, whereby therapeutic drugs were advertised according to the latest pharmacological taxonomy rather than molecular formulas. The image-making of ‘ethical marketing’ began during the interwar years when marketers applied modern advertising techniques and infotainment strategies. The scanty black and white informational bulletins transitioned into colourful advertisements. The pharmaceutical companies employed the same medical language as used by physicians, so that one word or image in an advertisement would suffice for the physician to recognize a drug and its therapeutic properties. These developments show the changing relationship between the modern ethical pharmaceutical industry and Dutch doctors during the interwar years – from rapprochement towards concerted action.

DOI: http://doi.org/10.18352/studium.1503
How to Cite: Roersch van der Hoogte, A. & Pieters, T., (2010). Advertenties voor hypnotica en sedativa in het Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde, 1900-1940: historische veranderingen in de vorm en inhoud van een informatiebron voor artsen. Studium. 3(4), pp.139–154. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18352/studium.1503
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Published on 05 Dec 2010.
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