Centre for Global Health Policy

Pharmaceuticals and Global Health Policy

Medicines, Markets, Manufacturers, and Medical Countermeasures

9 June 2016
Arts C Building, Room 333, University of Sussex

One-Day Workshop

This an invitation only workshop, but if you would like to attend please email k.petty@sussex.ac.uk. 



Pharmaceuticals are pivotal to global health policy. Outbreaks of pandemic flu, Ebola, MERS and now Zika are intensifying international efforts to streamline pharmaceutical development. Concern about global health security threats – from the rise of anti-microbial resistance to the spectre of a bio-terrorist attack – are fanning bespoke pharmaceutical regimes for the development, manufacture and distribution of innovative medical countermeasures. At the same time, a number of influential global health actors are working tirelessly to narrow the pharmaceutical gap between high- and low-income countries, with the aim of making many life-saving pharmaceuticals more accessible in low-income countries, and encouraging the development of more innovative medicines to treat neglected diseases for which there is no underlying commercial market. These developments are underpinned by the the emergence of new manufacturing capabilities in many low- and middle-income countries – with the potential to reshape the global political economic of pharmaceuticals production and consumption in the decades ahead.  

This workshop brings together a number of predominantly UK-based researchers analysing different dimensions of the role played by pharmaceuticals in contemporary global health policy – from medicines and medical countermeasures, through to markets and manufacturers.


The workshop aims are:

1)     to facilitate interdisciplinary, social science dialogue across a number of distinct research projects focusing on pharmaceuticals in global health policy;

2)     to enable researchers to showcase their work in this area to cognate researchers – comparing commonalities and tensions across different areas of global health policy; and

3)     to explore the scope and avenues for possible future collaboration.


Some of the overarching questions of the workshop include:

  • What are the main drivers behind the proliferation of pharmaceutical logics and solutions in contemporary global health policy?
  • How do multi-national pharmaceutical companies balance their commercial needs with the more humanitarian imperatives of global health?
  • What role to global governance structures – from formal institutions to legal regimes and intellectual property – play in these dynamics?
  • What role do markets and manufacturers from low- and middle-income countries play in this processes?
  • What are the obstacles and resistances to approaching global health problems pharmaceutically?
  • Is the pharmaceuticalization of global health policy sustainable?


Workshop participants will be encouraged to give brief presentations. Emphasis will be on allowing time for discussion and the identification of commonalities and tensions across the different research areas.

The workshop is co-organized by the Instituto de Higiene e Medicina Tropical at the Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, the Centre for Global Health Policy at the University of Sussex, and the BISA Working Group on Global Health – with support from the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).