The biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world, known as “big pharma”, are American and European. The top five are Pfizer (US), Roche, Novartis (both Swiss), Merck (US) and GlaxoSmithKline (UK). Yet these companies – and the pharmaceutical industry as a whole – rely on global supply chains. And China and India play key roles in the supply of both ingredients and finished drugs.
Hopes for a vaccine or a medicine that will treat COVID-19 rest on this crucial sector. Yet the globalisation of pharmaceuticals and what some see as an over-reliance on products from China and India has been criticised in the US, the UK and the European Union.
Whether it be hydroxychloroquine (the “miracle” drug Donald Trump has admitted to taking), remdesivir (an antiviral drug used as an emergency treatment for the most acute cases of COVID-19) or a future vaccine, the physical as well as social and economic health of the world depends on pharmaceuticals. Production from China and India will be crucial if the pandemic is to be brought under control.
- Publication year: 2020
- Content type: Op-Ed
- Form of cooperation: Technical assistance, Humanitarian assistance.
- Cooperation context: Multilateral
- Sector: Health, Infrastructure
- Institution (publication): The Conversation
- Author (and co-authors): Rory Horner
- Keywords: COVID19; India’s development cooperation; East Asia; North America; Europe
- Link: Conversation article