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The Changing Role of South African Bio-pharma Industry Associations and Implications for Development of Healthcare Innovation Capacities

The increased importance of biopharmaceutical industry associations in influencing innovative economic performance in developing countries requires new thinking and policy regarding the institutions which diffuse and govern knowledge in emerging contexts of economic and political pluralism. Based on a Leverhulme Trust funded research project, this policy brief considers the role of biopharmaceutical industry associations in building capacities for health innovation in South Africa. Empirical evidence from the project shows that biopharmaceutical industry associations in South Africa play an important role in shaping regulatory environments for medical technologies and therefore have the potential to contribute towards developing governance capacities for health innovation. However, this potential is conditional on reducing industry fragmentation and increasing collaboration with relevant public actors. For this reason, it is recommended that policies which facilitate greater partnering activities between biopharmaceutical industry associations, health care providers and government should be encouraged.