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Tracing pharmaceuticals in South Asia: regulation, distribution and consumption

  • Start date: 01 September 2006
  • End date: 31 December 2009

This multi-disciplinary project combines anthropological fieldwork with archival and interview-based research to investigate the conditions that make possible continuing inappropriate use of medicines in South Asia. Anthropologists increasingly recognise that  phenomena - such as pharmaceutical products - must be understood as parts of global assemblages; similarly, political economists acknowledge that the cultural and symbolic meanings of global products are significant, and cannot be simply read off from economic relationships. These particular global products are also crucial to attempts to meet key Millennium Development Goals (relating to maternal and child health, building international consensus, and control of crucial infectious diseases). This project aims to increase understanding of processes that lead to iatrogenic disorders (those induced unintentionally by a physician's diagnosis) for poor people, and to offer improved understanding for the development of policy in these fields.