Making Medicines in Africa The Political Economy of Industrializing for Local Health (International Political Economy Series)
(2015; 358 pages)

Edited by Maureen Mackintosh, Geoffrey Banda, Paula Tibandebage and Watu Wamae . (December 2015). Making Medicines in Africa . Available at:


This is a book about the industrial development of pharmaceutical production in Sub-Saharan Africa. Yet the values that drive this industrial enquiry are rooted in the needs of a subcontinent with the worst health status in the world. The central argument of this book is that industrial development in pharmaceuticals and the capabilities it generates are necessary elements in African initiatives to tackle these acute health care needs. A successful pharmaceutical industry is no guarantor of good health care: India indeed has managed to grow a highly successful industry while leaving many of its people without access to competent care. However, without the technological, industrial, intellectual, organizational and research-related capabilities associated with competent pharmaceutical production, the African subcontinent cannot generate the resources to tackle the needs and demands of its population.

The book is a collective endeavour, by a group of editors and authors with a strong African and more broadly Southern presence, to find ways forward that link technological development, investment and industrial growth in pharmaceuticals to improving access to essential good-quality medicines, as part of moving towards universal access to competent health care. This book presents original research, much of it from recent fieldwork in African contexts. The authors include academics, researchers and practitioners...

The book starts by challenging a highly persistent international myth: that Sub-Saharan Africa has no pharmaceutical industry. On the contrary, the industry has a long history and is strongly embedded in a number of African countries. Operating in a relatively high-skill, high-technology sector, pharmaceutical firms have faced all the well-known challenges of African countries' infrastructural weakness, in skills, utilities and transport, but many have built successful businesses and are investing in technological and product upgrading. Regional inter-country trade is expanding, and new investment opportunities are opening up.

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