Book: A Prescription for Scandal.

Pills, politics, and prescriptions. Drugs, disease, and drama. For a tight history of the US pharmaceutical industry in the 1970s and 1980s, check out my award-winning book. Lexington is offering a limited-time promotion to buy it at 30% off the cover price. The bottom line is: if you want to get a copy, the time is right.

In 2015, the British Association for American Studies and the University of East Anglia awarded A Prescription for Scandal the Arthur Miller Centre First Book Award. The book has received positive reviews in Social History of Medicine, Canadian Journal of History, and Choice.


  • “This book is a contribution to a growing body of scholarship on the history of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). . . .The book tells an interesting part of the FDA story in the 1980s that can be put into longer historical perspective.” (Social History Of Medicine)
  • “Lucas Richert’s book ably reviews the place of the FDA in the modern regulatory order, and helps make the agency’s struggles comprehensible. Richert shows that our system of drug approval and regulation cannot be understood in simple back-and-white terms. Instead, a host of competing interests pull the FDA in all sorts of directions. Anyone interested in contemporary drug regulation will find this a useful resource.” (Joseph F. Spillane, University of Florida)
  • “Conservatives, Consumer Choice, and the FDA in the Reagan Era is an engaging analysis of the influence of presidential ideology, congressional oversight, and the political character of the FDA’s leadership on the agency’s institutional identity and regulatory work. Lucas Richert’s compelling and nuanced perspective exposes the limits of the deregulatory ethos of the Reagan era and demonstrates the persistence of an institutional identity that has balanced the imperatives of consumer safety against those of pharmaceutical innovation. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the recent history of pharmaceutical regulation and for policymakers engaged in the making of pharmaceutical policy.” (Dominique Tobbell, University of Minnesota)
  • “A thoughtful and accessible narrative history that situates the FDA in the partisan and ideological politics of the long Reagan era.” (David Herzberg, University at Buffalo, State University of New York)


Everyone knows someone or some story that reminds us of the incredible power of the pharmaceutical industry in our everyday lives. We see the advertisements during football games and The Good Wife. We see them in Men’s Health as well as Shape and Cosmo. The ads are everywhere. And by most accounts we’re consuming more and more pills every year.

My 2014 book, Conservatism, Consumer Choice and the FDA during the Reagan Era: A Prescription for Scandal, tries to understand the American drug industry in the era in which I grew up, the 1980s. Ronald Reagan was President. Dynasty, Dallas, and The Dukes of Hazard were on the television.

In writing this book, I tell a sometimes frightening story about how the regulation of Big Pharma got twisted, turned, and pulled upside down by politicians, consumer groups, and drug industry leaders. At the centre of this tug-of-war was the Food and Drug Administration, an independent government agency that was constantly under pressure during the 1980s.

The stakes were extremely high. Lives were at stake. People’s health rested in the balance.


2 thoughts on “Book: A Prescription for Scandal.

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