Accepted Paper:

Retracing the 'career' of a controversial drug in India: The Science and Politics of Nimesulide   


Parvathi Iyer (Central University of Gujarat, India)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines a controversial drug, Nimesulide, including its entry and marketing in India and the subsequent litigation related to its safety/efficacy issues in the larger context of the pharmaceutical industry's relative power to shape knowledge claims about drugs.

Paper long abstract:

The present paper examines the case of a 'controversial' drug, Nimesulide. Through a detailed documentation of the drug's entry and marketing in India and the subsequent litigation in connection with its safety and efficacy issues, the paper attempts to examine the relative power of the pharmaceutical industry in the shaping of knowledge claims and attributes related to the potency, safety and efficacy of drugs in India. The paper commences with an outlining of the history pertaining to the discovery of the drug in the United States and its approval in a few European countries. It then examines the broad context of its entry in the Indian market and its 'success' as a revenue-generating drug among domestic manufacturers. The subsequent sections of the paper examine the trajectory of the litigation in connection with the drug in India, including the arguments and counter-arguments put forward by the parties to the litigation and the judgment by the Delhi High court on the drug. The paper concludes with a discussion of how the attributes of the drug were represented by different sets of actors, including the petitioner, the print media, health activists, firms, regulatory officials and the medico-scientific community, in the course of the litigation, in order to justify their assessments of the drug and its implications for the shaping of the safety and efficacy related attributes of the drug and its therapeutic career.

Panel LD02
The role of cosmopolitan modern medicine and its social and cultural challenges