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.