3 April 2019 | Koç University, Istanbul*
“Pharmocracy: Value, Politics and Knowledge in Global Biomedicine” by Prof. Kaushik Sunder Rajan
This talk elucidates the political economy of global pharmaceuticals as seen from contemporary India. The term “pharmocracy” refers to the global hegemony of the multinational, Euro-American, research and development (R & D)-driven pharmaceutical industry. It describes the ways in which this industry operates to institute forms of governance across the world that are beneficial to its own interests. Empirically, I will discuss the global harmonization of clinical trials and intellectual property regimes in India in the mid-2000s, arguing that these moves must be understood in terms of this expansion of multinational corporate hegemony. “Third World” national regulations are now being instituted to facilitate First World corporate interests in ways that have consequences for state policy, industrial competitiveness and public health. However, this capitalization is not without contestation. I trace the ways in which pharmocracy comes to be politicized in India through trajectories of judicialization and public scandal, even as it instantiates and establishes itself as hegemonic.
Kaushik Sunder Rajan is Professor of Anthropology and co-Director of the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory at the University of Chicago. He works on the political economy of the life sciences and biomedicine. He is the author of *Biocapital: The Constitution of Post-Genomic Life* (Duke, 2006) and *Pharmocracy: Value, Politics and Knowledge in Global Biomedicine* (Duke, 2017), and the editor of *Lively Capital: Biotechnologies, Ethics and Governance in Global Markets* (Duke, 2012). He has just completed a manuscript on the politics of ethnography, titled “Multi-si(gh)ted: Comparison, Intimacy and the Praxis of Ethnography”. He is beginning a new research project which looks at intersections between health and law in South Africa and India.
*This event is organized by IstanbuLab together with Social Science Seminar Series at Koç University, College of Social Sciences and Humanities.