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Journal Article

A Generic Solution?: Pharmaceuticals and the Politics of the Similar in Mexico

Cori Hayden
Current Anthropology
Vol. 48, No. 4 (August 2007), pp. 475-495
DOI: 10.1086/518301
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/518301
Page Count: 21
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A Generic Solution?
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Abstract

In 1997 and 1998 the Mexican government encouraged the introduction of generic drugs into Mexico, Latin America’s biggest and fastest‐growing pharmaceutical market. In contrast to the situation in Brazil, where anti‐retrovirals and HIV/AIDS treatment have been the centerpiece of a powerful state‐led generics “revolution,” in Mexico the move to cheaper, copied medicines has made its strongest mark in the private sector. The rapidly growing pharmaceutical chain Farmacias Similares, whose populist nationalism (“Mexican Products to Help Those Who Have the Least”), affiliated laboratories, political movements, health clinics, and motto—“The Same But Cheaper”—have begun to transform the face of health care provision in that country, raises important questions about whether the emergence of a market for generic medicines does in fact signal the reassertion of “the public” in and for Mexican public health. How does the copied pharmaceutical configure a particular set of political practices and discourses launched in the name of the (Mexican) public interest?

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