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Brossard Antonielli Alila

PhD candidate in sociology,EHESS


Dissertation defended on 13 January 2023: The metamorphoses of a drug factory in Mozambique. From socialist pharmaceutical policies to the Brazilian cooperation project

Phd advisors: Maurice Cassier (Cermes 3 – CNRS) and Marilena Correa (IMS - UERJ)

Since its independence in 1975, Mozambique has adopted innovative pharmaceutical policies in line with the international debates of the time on access to generic drugs and the promotion of local production. In the 1980s, Mozambique set up its first pharmaceutical factory with technical support from UNIDO. These self-reliant policies suffered from economic crises and structural adjustment programs. The area of drugs, although dominated by donors since the 1990s, is the arena for negotiations to regain control by Mozambican health officials. Since 2003, Brazil, with its experience in manufacturing antiretrovirals (ARVs) and other generic drugs in its public laboratories, has been supporting the Mozambican government in setting up a state plant for the local production of generic drugs. This South-South cooperation is unique in that, unlike other recent local production initiatives in Africa, it is not a joint venture, but rather a third-party state donating technology, equipment, raw materials, and funding human resource training to a state-owned enterprise in a low-income country.

The main objective of this research is to document and critically analyze the transfer of pharmaceutical technology from Brazil to Mozambique for the local production of generic antiretrovirals. We will interrogate the process that intertwined public health, diplomacy and the circulation of technical knowledge and the evolving context in which this project took place, namely that of the implementation of large-scale HIV treatment financing in Mozambique. This will allow us to highlight the practical conditions and challenges for the manufacture of antiretroviral drugs in resource-limited countries of the South, and particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, as an alternative to reduce the dependence of these countries on international aid for the treatment of their populations. This research is based on interviews, observations in the drug factory, and the collection of official documents, archives and a corpus of press.

Keywords: generic drugs, pharmaceutical industry, technology transfer, South-South cooperation, Mozambique

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