The promulgation of penicillin, for instance, is part of the story of the 1950s. America, fresh out of a World War and looking towards technology to save humanity -- the Atomic bomb, the Age of Plastics, new innovations for the kitchen, and then turning towards science to provide the fundamental answers that change and shape society.
Additionally, the story of penicillin is the story of economics. Once the synthesis of the cillians occurred, the larger pharmacological industry needed millions of dollars to produce the drug to the level needed. This author, in fact, believes that the cost of penicillin had a negative effect on the fall of the British Labour Party in the mid-1950s. The real tragedy, though, is that due to the overuse of the cillans, modern culture has actually changed the evolutionary nature of bacteria. The resistant strains now have a life of their own, and even though medical science continues to struggle against their ravages, their development at the micro level may have effects that we can only guess.
Finally, unlike some very specific medical only articles, this material, while written in a scientific manner, and using scholarly techniques, is clearly meant for people interested in the History of Science, Business, Popular Culture, and of course, Medicine. In many ways, the development of penicillin mirrors the changes in culture and attitudes in the post-World War II world, and America's dominance of those cultural issues -- for a while, that is. Penicillin is no longer "the wonder drug," but the changes it made to society and medicine make the continual search for the new penicillin all that more valid.
Bellis, M. (2010). "The History of Penicillin." About.Com -- Inventors. Cited in: