Industry Associations and the Politics of Making Medicines in South Africa

Papaioannou, Theo; Watkins, Andrew; Mugwagwa, Julius and Kale, Dinar (2016). Industry Associations and the Politics of Making Medicines in South Africa. In: 28th SASE Annual Meeting: Moral Economies, Economic Moralities, 24-26 Jun 2016, University of California Berkeley.



The role of industry associations in shaping policy and regulatory environments through various lobbying activities is well established in the academic literature. In most cases, while such activities are deemed essential and effective from an industry perspective, they also carry negative connotations connected to narrow rent seeking and the pursuit of industrial elites’ interests which run counter to the public good and which often bypass democratic processes. This paper argues, however, that in South Africa, particular historical trajectories and a lack of institutional capacities is gradually shifting biopharmaceutical industry associations away from ineffective lobbying activities to a new political approach that emphasises partnering with government and civil society organisations in the pursuit of not only narrow industry objectives, but also broader economic and development aims.

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