Pharmaceutical Policies from 1978 Alma Ata to 2018 Ebola: A Critical Interpretive Synthesis

28 Pages Posted: 6 Aug 2020 Publication Status: Under Review

See all articles by Lara Gautier

Lara Gautier

McGill University

Pierre-Marie David

Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Montreal


More than 40 years after the Alma-Ata Declaration on Primary Health Care, it is time to take stock. A look back at the evolution of pharmaceutical policies reveals the extent to which international health has transformed in the last four decades. The imperative of equitable access to healthcare, reaffirmed in Astana in 2018, has still not been achieved in many countries across the globe, whereas recent Ebola epidemics have opened up new political spaces for pharmaceutical development. In response to a gap in the literature with regard to the politics behind global pharmaceutical policymaking, we offer a critical interpretive synthesis of the literature on pharmaceutical policies, in English and French, from 1978 to 2018 inclusively. Our search strategy and inclusion criteria enabled us to select and review 134 papers and books on pharmaceutical policies. Building upon the seminal works of K.S. Rajan, we review the literature under the following assumption: pharmaceutical policies reflect or enact different conceptions of knowledge, political spaces, and value. We then critically discuss our findings in light of the contemporary debates, particularly in the wake of recurring Ebola epidemics. We thereby challenge the mainstream perspective according to which pharmaceuticals and pharmaceutical policies must be viewed as value-free, apolitical instruments.

Keywords: pharmaceutical policies, review, knowledge, value, policy, political space

Suggested Citation

Gautier, Lara and David, Pierre-Marie, Pharmaceutical Policies from 1978 Alma Ata to 2018 Ebola: A Critical Interpretive Synthesis. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3667006 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3667006

Lara Gautier

McGill University

1001 Sherbrooke St. W

Pierre-Marie David (Contact Author)

Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Montreal ( email )

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