Richard Del Rio

Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Behavioral Science and Social Medicine, Florida State University

2021 to 2022
Research Fellow

Dope Town: The Drug Markets of Chicago, 1850-1940

Across our contemporary political spectrum, there is a recognition that the American public is struggling to cope with the rising prices of drugs. It is a problem that is not dependent on any single operative. However, at the center of the complicated nexus of manufacturers, distributors, healthcare providers, insurers and benefits managers that determine the price of drugs are the rebate and discount schemes they constructed. This research project investigates the long history of rebate agreements between retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers and aims to explain the value these agreements held for pharmacy’s professionalization movement during the gilded age and progressive era. Going back to the simpler beginnings of the pharmaceutical market provides a long view to consider the cultural, political and economic values driving new complexities in its structure. Using Chicago as a case study, I investigate how rebate programs informed outcomes for organizations representing different branches of the drug industry.