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Global Health Centre

The Impact of Financialisation on Global Health: A Series of Pharmaceutical Case Studies (FINPHARM)

Project Overview


Lead Research Team: Vinh-Kim Nguyen, Nadya Wells, Ryan Whitacre

Doctoral Fellows: Dena Kirpalani, Zhubin Chen

Research Assistants: Amy Nguyen, Alisa Gessler, Melissa Coyle

Project Owner: The Global Health Centre, Graduate Institute, Geneva

Project Funder: Swiss National Science Foundation (Grant #189186)

Project Status: Ongoing

Key Words: global health, finance, biomedicine, research and development (R&D), technological innovation, business models, global governance

Project Description

In recent decades the structure of national and global economies has undergone a significant shift, characterised as financialisation whereby economic, social and political life are being increasingly shaped by financial actors and motives. The central objective of this research is to examine the impact of financialisation on the development and use of pharmaceuticals in three areas of global health significance: (1) the "recycling" of antiretroviral drugs for HIV prevention (2) the search for effective treatments and vaccine for Ebola Virus Disease, and (3) the development of solutions for the growing global threat of antimicrobial resistance. This research requires an innovative inter-disciplinary approach that brings together expertise in understanding how the worlds of finance and pharmaceuticals work and interact, with insight into how global health problems and solutions then play out in the real world. There has to date been relatively little research exploring these intersections. For each of these areas, the project will assemble in-depth case studies of pharmaceutical solutions, linking research on "upstream" financial factors affecting their development with clinical, epidemiological and social realities "downstream".


Expected results

We expect the project to deepen understanding of the impact of financial incentives and actors on pharmaceutical innovation and access. We plan to develop a framework for engagement in the global health and finance communities and stimulate debate on policies to ensure health is adequately taken into account in financial-sector decision-making. We aim to uncover opportunities for collaboration between the two sectors including the potential of financial actors to help achieve the SDGs through more effective investments in pharmaceutical development and use.