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Complex norm localization: from price competitiveness to local production in East African Community pharmaceutical policy

Murray-Evans, P and O'Reilly, P (2022) Complex norm localization: from price competitiveness to local production in East African Community pharmaceutical policy. European Journal of International Relations. ISSN 1354-0661

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Open Access URL: https://doi.org/10.1177/13540661221123504 (Published version)


This article offers a critical contribution to debates around access to medicines and the global politics of pharmaceutical production in Africa. Specifically, we seek to account for a normative shift within these debates whereby the promotion of local pharmaceutical production in Africa has once again come to be viewed as a central modality for achieving access to health across the continent. While the onset of this normative shift has been highlighted by the global Covid-19 pandemic, in this article we argue that its antecedents can be traced to a more incremental process of global and regional normative change that has been in motion since the late 1990s. To illustrate this, we narrow our empirical focus onto the East African Community (EAC) and the regional initiatives its members have pursued to promote local pharmaceutical production capacities since 2012. We draw and build upon the literature on norm localization to emphasize how the emergence and distinctiveness of this policy reflected the complex way in which policy actors within the EAC sought to localize and combine separate (and somewhat competing) changing global norms around access to health and industrial policy. The article also points to the tensions and unintended consequences which emerged from this complex process of norm localization and the challenges of implementing this strategy within the institutional landscape of the EAC.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: regionalism; East African Community; access to health; industrialization; pharmaceuticals; norm localization; International Relations; 1605 Policy and Administration; 1606 Political Science
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business > HF5410 Marketing. Distribution of Products
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
R Medicine > RM Therapeutics. Pharmacology
Divisions: Humanities & Social Science
Publisher: SAGE Publications
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 13 Sep 2022 11:36
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2022 11:45
DOI or ID number: 10.1177/13540661221123504
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/17541
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