Unit 2 - Global health governance and Big Pharma in the age of crisis

Unit Introduction

Unit Title: 

Unit 2 - Global health governance and Big Pharma in the age of crisis

This unit was delivered by Dr. Feyzi Ismail, SOAS

Unit Description

This lecture analyses how global governance institutions and states shape the pharmaceutical industry in ways that ultimately undermine solutions to AMR, including access to the Covid-19 vaccine, particularly in LMICs. It considers two broad approaches to global health governance in the context of AMR and Covid-19 – and attendant multiple crises – and explores the inequalities inherent in global governance dominated by the ideology of capitalist economic growth. The historical role of global governance is particularly important to understand in the context of ensuring that any vaccine that is developed in response to Covid-19 is accessible to all, regardless of ability to pay. We contend that market interference, promoted by the IFIs, distorts progress on poverty and inequality, positive global health outcomes and addressing the climate crisis, and reflects the imperialist dimensions of global governance institutions towards LMICs and the poor in general.  

Learning Objectives

By the end of the lecture the students will be able to:

  1. Draw connections between the historical and contemporary role of global governance institutions in LMICs and related imperialist dimensions.
  2. Understand the power and limits of the pharmaceutical industry in meeting global health outcomes and the role of the state.
  3. Analyse global governance, Big Pharma and the climate crisis in the context of the current pandemic.