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Medical Sociology



PHARMACY, 2019/2` 1st Semester

Course objectives

The usage of medications became an integrated practice in modern societies which has several social connotations.  Pharmacists will encounter the social problems connected with discovering, producing, distributing and consuming medicines on an everyday basis. The course aims to provide understanding of all these processes based on introducing some, selected sociological concepts.

The course also aims to cultivate students’ communications skills and to improve their ability for critical thinking.


The lessons would be divided between lectures and oral presentations by the students and the discussions of these presentations.


Corse schedule

8th of November

Introduction. Guide to the readers.

Lecture: Basic concepts in sociology. Health and body concepts. Health and illness behaviour

15th of November

The concept of health. Health and illness behaviour (adherence)


Ostenberg L-  Blaschke T (2005): Adherence to Medication, N Engl J Med 353:487-97.

Sarayani A- Jahangard – Rafsanjani Z- Molouk Hadjibabaie M – Ahmadvand A – Javadi M- Gholam K (2013): A comprehensive review of adherence to diabetes and cardiovascular medications in Iran; implications for practice and research, Journal of Diabetes & Metabolic Disorders 12:57 (9 pages)

Thomas F (2016): Young people’s use of medicines: Pharmaceuticalised governance and illness management within household and school settings, Social Science & Medicine, Volume 165, September 2016, Pages 150–158

Lecture: Social stratification and inequalities in health


22th of November

Inequalities in health, mortality and access to pharmaceutical care


Berkowitz SA – Seligman HK – Choudhry NK (2014): Treat or Eat: Food Insecurity, Cost-related Medication Underuse, and Unmet Needs. The American Journal of Medicine 127: 303-310

Breme P (2014): Forgone care and financial burden due to out-of-pocket payments within the German health care system, Health Economics Review, 4:36 (9 pages)

Selvaraj S, Farooqui H H, Karan A (2018): Quantifying the financial burden of households’ out-of-pocket payments on medicines in India: a repeated cross-sectional analysis of National Sample Survey data, 1994–2014, BMJ Open 2018; 8: e018020. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2017-018020

Murphy A et al (2018): Inequalities in the use of secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease by socioeconomic status: evidence from the PURE observational study, Lancet Glob Health 2018;6: e292–301

Lecture: Professions


29th of November



Dawoud, D. – Griffiths P – Maben J, Goodyer L – Greene R (2011): Pharmacist supplementary prescribing: A step toward more independence? Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy 7: 246–256

Jebara T, Cunningham S, MacLure K, Awaisu A, Pallivalapila A and Stewart D (2018): Stakeholders’ views and experiences of pharmacist prescribing: a systematic review, Br J Clin Pharmacol 84: 1883–1905

Taylor K M – Harding G (2005): The pharmacy degree: The student experience of professional training Pharmacy Education, March 2007; 7(1): 83–88

Lecture: Health care and pharmaceutical care


6th of December

Health care, pharmaceutical care


Voglera S – Habimanaa K – Artsa D (2014): Does deregulation in community pharmacy impact accessibility of medicines, quality of pharmacy services and costs? Evidence from nine European countries, Health Policy 117 (2014) 311–327

J Busfield (2010): ‘A pill for every ill’: Explaining the expansion in medicine use, Social Science & Medicine 70: 934–941

Fox N J – Ward K J (2008): Pharma in the bedroom . . . and the kitchen …  The pharmaceuticalisation of daily life, Sociology of Health & Illness Vol.  30.  No.  6, pp.  856 – 868

Moncrieff J (2014): The medicalisation of “ups and downs”: The marketing of the new bipolar disorder. Transcultural Psychiatry Vol. 51(4) 581–598

Lecture: Medicalization, pharmaceuticalisation


13th of December

Medicalization, Phamaceuticalisation. Pharma industry


Fisher J A – Cottingham M D – Kalbaugh C A (2015): Peering into the pharmaceutical “pipeline”: Investigational drugs, clinical trials, and industry priorities, Social Science & Medicine, Volume 131: 322–330

Mulinary S (2013): Regulating drug information in Europe: a pyrrhic victory for pharmaceutical industry critics? Sociology of Health & Illness, Volume 35, Issue 5, pages 761–777, June 2013

Sariola S, Jeffery R, Jesani A & Porter G (2018): How Civil Society Organisations Changed the Regulation of Clinical Trials in India, Science as Culture, DOI:10.1080/09505431.2018.1493449

Britten N – Denford S – Harris-Golesworthy F -Jibson S- Pyart N -Stein K (2015): Patient involvement in drug licensing: A case study, Social Science & Medicine 131:289-296

Thomas F – Depledge M (2015): Medicine ‘misuse’: Implications for health and environmental sustainability, Social Science & Medicine 143: 81-87

Course evaluation.

Course requirements:

10-15 minutes long oral presentation based on one of the readers (see list above) prepared by a group of students (size of this group depends on the length of the paper but maximum 3). All presenters working on the same article will get the same grade irrespective to the labour division they applied.

Written reflections are expected to provide individually during the lessons. These reflections should be based on content of the lecture of the previous week and they are also expected to make connections with the presentations of the day.

Lectures slides are provided in PDF forms on the Institute’s web-page.

The final grade is the average of the grades from sociology and ethics.

 Budapest, 30th August 2019

 Katalin Kovács, MA, PhD, MSc