Capabilities and Competitiveness: Essential Medicines in the Dominican Republic and Beyond


Tuesday, February 6, 2018, 12:00pm to 2:00pm


CGIS South, S250, 1730 Cambridge Street

andrew_schrankSpeaker: Andrew Schrank, Olive C. Watson Professor of Sociology and International and Public Affairs, Brown University

Moderator: Steven Levitsky, Professor of Government at Harvard University

When the Dominican Republic (DR) entered a free trade agreement (CAFTA) with the United States and Central America in the early twenty-first century, the country’s pharmaceutical makers worried that they would be decimated by low-cost foreign competition. Instead they have flourished, more than doubling their share of the domestic market and increasing their exports as well. What’s behind their surprising success? And what does it tell us about the relationship between health policy and industrial policy in the developing world? I address the question by placing the DR in comparative context and find that an essential medicines program adopted independently of CAFTA but with the support of local manufacturers played a key role by increasing and stabilizing the demand for high quality, low cost drugs that are susceptible to domestic production and attractive to foreign—as well as local—consumers.

Andrew Schrank is the Olive C. Watson Professor Sociology and International & Public Affairs at Brown University. He studies the organization, regulation, and performance of industry, especially in Latin America, and is the co-author (with Michael Piore) of Root-Cause Regulation: Protecting Work and Workers in the Twenty-First Century (Harvard University Press, 2018).