South-South Pharmaceuticals Trade: India's “Pharmacy to the Developing World” in South Africa

Saturday, 4 July 2015: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
CLM.3.06 (Clement House)
Rory Horner, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom
Over the last decade, industry representatives, activists and scholars have referred to India as the “pharmacy of the developing world” to highlight its key role in supplying large volumes of generic medicines around the world. Yet while extensive research has explored the political economy of the pharmaceutical industry within India, relatively little is known about the social, economic and political relationships involved in how these India-manufactured medicines reach markets, and their local impact, elsewhere in the global South. This paper seeks to investigate these relationships and development consequences, drawing on primary research in South Africa. A significant degree of interconnection is found between Indian and South African pharmaceutical companies, as well as considerably variegated local impacts between different stakeholders – notably local industrial and health interests. Through this India pharmaceuticals in South Africa case, the paper seeks to highlight some of the challenges involved in generic medicine supply and to move beyond some of the hype, both overly optimistic and pessimistic, which currently surrounds “South-South” trade.