Pharmabusiness, ethics and biopolitics

Project title: Activity of pharmaceutical industry – ethical challenges and new biopolitics
Principal investigator: mgr Emilia Kaczmarek
Financing: National Science Centre, Preludium 9
Project Period: 2016-2018
Project no. 2015/17/N/HS1/02122

Project goals: The main objective of the project is to demonstrate the biopolitical nature of the activity of pharmaceutical industry and to evaluate this activity from the point of view of bioethics. Research on particular strategies of the pharmaceutical industry will be divided into three parts. In the first part, the different forms of pharmaceutical lobbying will be characterized. In the second part, the matter of analysis will be the pharma marketing and the third part will be devoted to the commercialization of knowledge in the drug industry. The objective of the proposed project is to gain knowledge about the nature of the various strategies of the pharmaceutical industry, through deep analysis of such concepts as medicalization of life (in the context of pharmaceutical marketing and, in particular, in the context of so called disease branding/disease mongering) or commercialization of knowledge (inter alia in the context of control over the results of clinical trials sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry). Particular stages of the project will be devoted to different research questions, such as, for example: which of the existing concept of biopolitics gives the best tools for understanding the drug industry, what role plays lobbying in the democracy or what social consequences entail selected strategies of advertising drugs?

Popular summary

Keywords: biopolitics, pharmabusiness, medicalisation, commercialisation of knowledge


Publication of the project results

Conference presentations:

  • Kaczmarek, E. (2016). Health, risk and responsibility, The 2016 EACME Annual Conference – 30 Years of European Bioethics. The European Association of Centres of Medical Ethics (EACME). Leuven, Belgium, 8-10 September.
  • Kaczmarek, E. (2016). Lobbying in the healthcare systems – a challenge for bioethics?, 30th European Conference on Philosophy of Medicine and Health Care. The European Society for Philosophy of Medicine and Health Care (ESMPH). Zagreb, Croatia, 17-20 August.
  • Kaczmarek, E. (2016). Between public good and private interest – the management of secrecy as the policy of transparency, Conference – “Secret politics: history, modern forms and significance”, Department of Political Philosophy, Institute of Philosophy, University of Warsaw, Poland, Warsaw, 24 June.
  • Kaczmarek, E. (2016). Is Bioethics only a Side Effect of Global Biopolitics? Biocapital and the Recent Critique of Bioethics, 13th World Congress of Bioethics – Individuals, Public Interests and Public Goods: What is the Contribution of Bioethics?. The International Association of Bioethics (IAB). Edinburgh, Scotland, 14-17 June. [Poster]