26 April 2021

The pharmaceutical imaginary of heart disease: Pleasant futures and problematic present

CoverProfessor MSO Bjarke Oxlund has published a book chapter together with postdoc Sofie Rosenlund Lau and professor Anna Birna Almarsdóttir

The chapter focuses on the role of pharmaceutical prevention in the lives of individuals with elevated cholesterol who have been offered statin treatment. Heart disease as a global health threat has already been subject to pharmaceuticalisation, since pharmaceuticals have been defined as the main way to decrease mortality and morbidity from cardiovascular disease. The pharmaceutical self/imaginary has mainly been used to study psychopharmacology, in which symptomatic conditions and suffering are pronounced.

The analysis is based on ethnographic fieldwork carried out in the capital region of Denmark in 2013–2014 by the first author. High cholesterol was studied as an object in order to understand how the condition is produced, governed and managed, and what role pharmaceuticals play in risk reduction. High cholesterol is neither stable nor easily captured as a coherent whole, and the fieldwork thus spread across a variety of physical sites and actors.

The chapter features in the book "Living Pharmaceutical Lives" edited by Peri J. Ballantyne and Kath Ryan and published by Routledge: https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/edit

Pre-print version available here: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/349956797_The_pharmaceutical_imaginary_of_heart_disease