On trial

Testing new drugs in psychiatry, 1940-1980

By Marietta Meier, Magaly Tornay and Mario König

On trial
Hardcover -
  • Price: ¬£90.00
  • ISBN: 9781526169808
  • Publish Date: Jul 2024
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    Book Information


    The heroic story of the invention of antidepressants is a key part of the psychopharmaceutical turn. On Trial revolves around one of its pioneers, psychiatrist Roland Kuhn, who practiced in M√ľnsterlingen, a state-run psychiatric hospital in Switzerland. Kuhn became famous for the 'discovery' of the first antidepressant, Tofranil, and more recently notorious for his numerous trials on often unsuspecting patients.

    Largely based on the extensive and previously inaccessible sources of Kuhn's private archive, the book delves into the early days of industry-sponsored clinical research in psychiatry. It examines how the clinic, patients, doctors, nursing staff, corporations, and authorities interacted in the trials.

    Conducted from the 1940s to 1980s, the M√ľnsterlingen drug trials are historicised and situated in the period's evolving landscape of experimentation.


    1. The 1940s: the ball gets rolling
    2. The 1950s: testing frenzy with Geigy
    3. Test patients
    4. The 1960s: a flood of substances and new dimensions of testing
    5. Substance logistics, information streams, and money flows
    6. The 1970s: between doldrums and success
    7. Fatal incidents
    8. The 1980s: a long, restless finale
    List of test substances


    Marietta Meier is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Zurich
    Magaly Tornay is a Postdoctoral researcher at the University of Bern
    Mario König was an independent author and historian

    On trial

    By Marietta Meier, Magaly Tornay, Mario König

    Hardcover £90.00 / $140.00

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