This book analyses two specific processes of globalization that have had an impact on the changing nature of doctor-patient encounters in India. One is the immense and successful growth of the global market in antidepressants over recent years, to the effect scholars speak of an "antidepressant era". The other process is the rising Indian generics industry, which is to become the world largest manufacturer of generic medications by volume. This expansion was made possible by the Indian patent regime that was in place from 1972 to 2005, which allowed thousands of small, medium, and large companies to reverse-engineer and sell drugs that were patent-protected in European and North American countries. Indian manufacturers did not only recapture from multinational companies the majority share of the domestic pharmaceuticals market, but they also to become the new "pharmacy of the world" through drug exports. Based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork in India, this book shows how the prescription habits of Indian allopathic practitioners (psychiatrists, general physicians, and untrained "quacks") have changed through the easy availability of generic psychopharmaceuticals.
The author also analyses how both popular and professional perceptions of mind, body, and psychological distress are being transformed by pharmaceutical marketing. Additionally, this book demonstrates how regulatory and bioethical regimes in both India and beyond contribute both to the rise of Indian generic manufacturers and the rise of psychopharmaceutical uses. Exploring in detail this "reverse globalization" process of India's psychopharmaceuticals industry and their crossings with other streams of global forces, this book questions the common center-periphery relationship of Western thinking and links macrosocial factors with the level of experience of different social actors, thus providing a unique contribution to current debates in the medical anthropology, medical sociology, transcultural psychiatry and Asia Studies.