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Pandemic Medicine: Why the Global Innovation System Is Broken, and How We Can Fix It

Kathryn C. Ibata-Arens
Pandemic Medicine: Why the Global Innovation System Is Broken, and How We Can Fix It
ISBN: 978-1-62637-969-5
ISBN: 978-1-62637-971-8
Forthcoming October 2021/190 pages/LC: 2021015856
Advances in International Political Economy
"Ibata-Arens's accessibly written, and timely, book offers a compelling argument: that profit-and patent-driven drug development must be replaced by a global system of sharing innovation commons, including those harvested from nature. Short of this transformation, pandemics may become more common than we currently imagine!"—Anthony P. D'Costa, The University of Alabama Huntsville


Despite a century of advances in modern medicine, as well as the rapid development of Covid vaccines, the global pharmaceutical industry has largely failed to bring to market drugs that actually cure disease. Why? And looking further ... How can government policies stimulate investment in the development of curative drugs? Is there an untapped potential for "natural medicines" in new drug discovery? How have private–public sector partnerships transformed the ways we innovate? To what extent are medicinal plant biodiversity and human health codependent?

Addressing this range of increasingly critical questions, Kathryn Ibata-Arens analyzes the rise and decline of the global innovation system for new drug development and proposes a policy framework for fast-tracking the implementation of new discoveries and preparing for future pandemics.


Kathryn C. Ibata-Arens is Vincent de Paul Professor of Political Economy at DePaul University.


  • The Innovation Commons: The Global System for New Drug Discovery.
  • Twilight of the (Big Pharma) Gods: The Rise and Decline of Innovation.
  • Books of Remedies: China's Drug (Re)Discovery  Politics.
  • The Turmeric War: India Takes on the World Trade Organization and Big Pharma.
  • Medicine Gardens: Japan's Investment in New Drug Discovery.
  • A Way Forward: Bringing Innovative Solutions to Global Human Health Problems.