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Industry associations, health innovation systems and politics of development: the cases of India and South Africa

Papaioannou, T   Watkins, A   Kale, D   Mugwagwa, J

Business and Politics  

DOI: 10.1515/bap-2014-0023

March 2015   (Early online date March 2015)

Over the last 20 years, developing countries have witnessed the increased role of non-governmental actors such as health industry associations and umbrella organizations in the diffusion and governance of health innovation. Utilizing extensive interviews with actors in the Indian and South African health industries, this paper argues that, in a context of emerging pluralism – i.e., a dynamic context of bargaining between competing (public and private) interests and values – these associations constitute public actors that play dual roles in the politics of innovation and development. Specifically, not only do they engage downstream by diffusing knowledge to their respective health innovation systems in order to achieve common objectives, they also engage upstream with their governments to co-develop policies and regulations. This dual role of health industry associations and umbrella organizations makes them less neutral politically but more effective institutionally, and their innovative and political role should be seriously taken into account in the healthcare sector.