The state, markets and access to medicines

French Institute Seminars in Humanities (FISH)

22 November 2016
11:00 - IFAS Conference Room, 62 Juta Street, Braamfontein

Charlotte Pelletan

One of the modalities of access to medicines and drug regulation in South Africa consists in the paradoxical delegation of regulatory functions to non-state actors (namely, but not only, industry).

Drug policies in capitalist neoliberal globalized states are characterized by their insertion into a global trade system promoting a growing commodification of medicines. At the same time, social claims for reforming the status of medicines rise significantly. State formation in South Africa has been characterized by continuous negotiations and compromise with business, which at first sight questions the possibilities for access policies. Opening the black box of the South African state amounts to demonstrate state’s ability to roll out a political project which aims at incorporating the notion of public goods into pharmaceutical industry in a neoliberal context.

This presentation attempts to shed a light on access mechanisms through the analytical deconstruction of markets as a set of intertwined social relations. 


Charlotte Pelletan is a Ph.D student in Political Science at the Institute of Political Science of Bordeaux. Her Ph.D. research aims at re-thinking access to medicines through the reconnection of health systems, architecture of pharmaceutical industry and innovation dynamics. She has co-written with Palesa Sekhejane (HSRC) a book chapter entitled "HIV and AIDS Triumphs and Struggles: Developmental Gap for Biomedical Sciences and Healthcare Systems Innovation in South Africa", which will be part of the forthcoming book edited by Busani Ngcaweni “Sizonqoba: Outliving AIDS in Southern Africa” (AISA).

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