What’s at stake in the fake? A contemporary cultural history of fake drugs and India    


  • Dr Sarah Hodges

    University of Warwick

Project summary

Preliminary investigations suggest the global anti-counterfeiting movement’s regular claims about India’s role as a major producer of fake drugs are poorly aligned with observable evidence. If accurate, these findings suggest that practical measures to strengthen access to safe medicines – for the world’s rich and poor – need urgent rethinking. In order to test initial findings, I will carry out further research into the nature of India’s pharma sector since the 1970s, with particular attention to its role as the generic drugs manufacturer for the global South. Materials will be gathered from official and unofficial published archives as well as from interviews in India with those who write policy, drugs manufacturers, pharmacists, physicians and medical representatives. 

Global health scholars have already noted India’s generics in anti-counterfeiting activities. India’s reputation in fake drug manufacturing, however, has gone largely unquestioned. Findings will be published and aired at the National Bioethics Conference in India and a bespoke international medical humanities workshop.