This essay sketches two international, pharmaceutical company–sponsored drug donation programs and assesses this novel integration of corporations into global health. Based on ethnographic interviews with retired and current pharmaceutical executives and scientists, international humanitarian workers, and volunteers and drug recipients in the Morogoro region of Tanzania, this essay develops a concept of ìscientific sovereignty, a process through which corporate and biomedical logics supplant the state in the exercise of biopower. I assess these interventions’ impact on a local health system and the theoretical implications of the global health orthodoxies on which they rely. [pharmaceutical donation, international aid, biopolitics, public–private partnership]
Cultural Anthropology has published a number of articles on biomedical regimes, including Angela Garcia’s The Elegiac Addict: History, Chronicity and the Melancholic Subject (2008), Nancy D. Campbell and Susan J. Shaw’s Incitements to Discourse: Illicit Drugs, Harm Reduction, and the Production of Ethnographic Subjects (2008), and Shao Jing’s Fluid Labor and Blood Money: The Economy of HIV/AIDS in Rural Central China (2006)
Cultural Anthropology has also published articles on pharmaceutical industry. See for example, Deepa Reddy’s Good Gifts for the Common Good: Blood and Bioethics in the Market of Genetic Research (2007) and Michael J. Montoya’s Bioethnic Conscription: Genes, Race, and Mexicana/o Ethnicity in Diabetes Research (2007)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ari Samsky completed a Ph.D. in anthropology at Princeton University in 2009. His dissertation looks at the creation and impact of two international drug donation programs. He is currently a Doctoral Research Scholar in the Global Health Studies Program at the University of Iowa. His current research attempts to link ostensibly novel collaborations in contemporary global health with the history of tropical health and international philanthropy. He is currently investigating the story of "viscerotome," a controversial autopsy probe developed by Rockefeller International Health Board yellow fever researchers in Brazil in 1931. In 2010 Otis Press/Seismicity Editions published his book of satirical essays and short stories, The Capricious Critic.
Biehl, Joao. 2007. Pharmaceuticalization: AIDS Treatment and Global Health Politics. Anthropological Quarterly 80(4):1083–1126.
Biehl, Joao. 2009. Will to Live: AIDS Therapies and the Politics of Survival. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Canguilhem, Georges. 2008. Health: Crude Concept and Philosophical Question. Public Culture 20(3):467-477.
Fassin, Didier. 2007. Humanitarianism as a Politics of Life. Public Culture. 19(3): 499-520.
Fox, Renee. 1995. Medican Humanitarianism and Human Rights: Reflections on Doctors Without Borders and Doctors of the World. Social Science and Medicine. 41(12): 1607-1616.
Petryna, Adriana. 2009. When Experiments Travel: Clinical Trials and the Global Search for Human Subjects. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Rabinow, Paul, and Nikolas Rose. 2006. Biopower Today. BioSocieties 1:195–217.
Redfield, Peter. 2005. Doctors, Borders, and Life in Crisis. Cultural Anthropology. 20(3): 328-361.
All photographs taken by Ari Samsky.