Accepted Paper:

Pharmaceutical wholesaling and its regulation, an important stage to explore  


Daniel Arhinful (NMIMR, University of Ghana)
Jean-Yves Le Hesran (IRD)
Carine Baxerres (IRD/ Université Paris Descartes/CNE)

Paper short abstract:

Based on ethnographic study of a large pharmaceutical wholesale market in Accra, Ghana, we analyse the links between state and market regulation and how they influence consumption by people and public health concerns.

Paper long abstract:

Pharmaceuticals provide an ideal window into studying contemporary societies and understanding how and why they change. We present data from two years ethnographic study of the pharmaceutical wholesale market at Okaishie "drug lane" in Accra, which hosts a large number of companies involved in the pharmaceutical wholesaling in Ghana. We question the current links between state regulation and market regulation, while taking into account the influence of transnational actors.

We examine sales practices in this market against the background of current national regulation by highlighting informal practices on both pharmaceuticals and actors. Some of them will be analysed as inherent to the way the business is thought in Ghana by key players including authorities. The various dynamics generated by the opening of the market to numerous pharmaceutical firms (mainly from "emergent" countries of Asia, like India and China, and from Western countries), to numerous importers who are also involved in marketing and their competitive financial pitch and the quality of supplied pharmaceuticals, seem to generate logically informal practices. The consideration of medicines against malaria subsidy program proposed by the Global Found will enrich the analysis. Finally, we will examine the underlying logical structure of the market - between economic elements and human relations aspects - and we will highlight its impact on consumption by people ("irrational" consumptions, self-medication, etc.), taking into account public health concerns (danger to miss malarial attacks vs spread of antimalarial resistances).

Panel T017
STS for pharmaceuticals and public health policy