SCIENTIFIC SOVEREIGNTY: How International Drug Donation Programs Reshape Health, Disease, and the State



This essay sketches two international, pharmaceutical company–sponsored drug donation programs and assesses this novel integration of corporations into global health. Based on ethnographic interviews with retired and current pharmaceutical executives and scientists, international humanitarian workers, and volunteers and drug recipients in the Morogoro region of Tanzania, this essay develops a concept of “scientific sovereignty,” a process through which corporate and biomedical logics supplant the state in the exercise of biopower. I assess these interventions’ impact on a local health system and the theoretical implications of the global health orthodoxies on which they rely.