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India and the Patent Wars

Murphy Halliburton









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(Hardback | ISBN 9789387164024 | 204 pages)


India and the Patent Wars contributes to an international debate over the costs of medicine and restrictions on access under stringent patent laws, showing how activists and drug companies in low-income countries seize agency and exert influence over these processes. Murphy Halliburton contributes to analyses of globalization within the fields of anthropology, sociology, law, and public health by drawing on interviews and ethnographic work with pharmaceutical producers in India and the United States.

India has been at the center of emerging controversies around patent rights related to pharmaceutical production and local medical knowledge. Halliburton shows that Big Pharma is not all-powerful, and that local activists and practitioners of Ayurveda, India’s largest indigenous medical system, have been able to undermine the aspirations of multinational companies and the WTO. Halliburton traces how key drug prices have gone down, not up, in low-income countries under the new patent regime through partnerships between US- and India-based companies, but warns us to be aware of access to essential medicines in low- and middle-income countries going forward.


‘In India and the Patent Wars, Murphy Halliburton addresses the question of how IP law and trade agreements should deal with sophisticated knowledge systems organized by principles quite unlike those of the West.’—Michael F. Brown, author of Who Owns Native Culture?

The Author:
Murphy Halliburton is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Queens College and the Graduate Center, CUNY. He is the author of Mudpacks and Prozac.