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The Abundance of the Copy: Generic Medicines and the Politics of Equivalence

A Presentation by Cori Hayden

Can rich people’s medicines and poor people’s medicines “really” be the same? This is the question that consumers in Mexico started asking with the arrival of generic medicines on the commercial landscape in the early 2000s. The same but (similar), the same but (cheaper), the same but (different): consumers of generics there and elsewhere have repeatedly been asked to confront –and have articulated– the rich heterogeneity of sameness to itself. Through the lens of ongoing ethnographic work in Mexico, the project on which this talk draws explores the implications of this strange kind of abundance (that is, not just of ‘copied drugs,’ but of kinds of equivalence itself), for how we think about markets, politics, and access to health. Cori Hayden is a professor of Anthropology and the Director of the Center for Science, Technology, Medicine & Society at the University of California, Berkeley. Cosponsored by the Program in the History of Medicine and the Department of Anthropology.

Lecture

This talk is available as an audio download (.mp3 – 59.9 MB).

Question and Answer

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