What’s at stake in the fake? Indian pharmaceuticals, African markets and global health


  • Dr Sarah Hodges

  • Dr Rene Gerrets

  • Dr Julia Hornberger

Project summary

The idea that fake drugs threaten global health has become almost common sense. Often, these concerns are voiced in relation to how, for example, Africans’ already poor health is further imperiled by fake drugs from India. Yet when we looked closely at the scientific literature backing up these claims, we found that they were based on unexpectedly weak evidence. 

We will critically re-examine our collective common sense about fake drugs and global health. Initial research suggests that worries about fake drugs are not confined to  the world of pharmacology. When the world’s supply of live-saving drugs is beset by worries about safety, governments and citizens face difficult decisions about how to allocate scarce resources. 

Our project’s historical and ethnographic enquiries seek to understand the emergence and circulation of worries about fake drugs, as well as understanding the global effects of these worries.