The article analyses the involvement of pharmaceutical companies from emerging markets in global health governance. It finds that they play a central role as low-cost suppliers of medicines and vaccines and, increasingly, new technologies. In so doing, pharmaceutical companies from emerging markets have facilitated the implementation of a key goal of global health policy: widening access to pharmaceutical treatment and prevention. Yet, looking closer at the political economy underlying their involvement, the article exposes a tension between this policy goal and the political economy of pharmaceutical development and production. By declaring access to pharmaceuticals a goal of global health policy, governments and global health partnerships have made themselves dependent on pharmaceutical companies to supply them. Moreover, to provide pharmaceutical treatment and prevention at the global level, they depend on companies to supply medicines and vaccines at extremely low prices. Yet, the development and production of pharmaceuticals is organized around commercial incentives that are at odds with the prices required. The increasing involvement of low-cost suppliers from emerging markets mitigates this tension in the short run. In the long run, this tension endangers the sustainability of global access policies and may even undermine some of the successes already achieved.
Pharmaceuticals and Security: The Role of Public-Private Collaborations in Strengthening Global Health Security; G1040; EUROPEAN UNION; ERC-2012-StG_20111124 312567