Policy, Economics, Global Health, Development

Panel organiser:

Name Email
Eunjeong Ma eunjma@gmail.com


The rise of Asian medicine as a major economic force has drawn the attention of politicians and economists, who now seek to claim or defend against patent rights, to claim Intangible Heritage support from UNESCO, or to shore up political platforms based on post-colonial defences of indigeneity.

Questions to discuss:

Who is tracking the total world supply of Asian medicines (or is WHO tracking them?), and what are the major directions in which government health policy is moving? 

How can individual practitioners and their representative groups, anthropologists and trials researchers keep better track of and help to shape these changes in national and international health policy and regulation?

Key actors to consider: politicians (lawmakers), regulators (regulatory agencies at the governmental and consumer levels), venture capitalists, practitioners, pharmaceutical companies, consumers, regulators can be sub-divided into medicinal plants cultivation,

Food or Drug?: Eastern Medicine Meets “Evidence-Based” Marketing

This panel investigates the rise and popularity of Asian medicine in global markets. In recent decades there has been an emerging market for healthy “lifestyles” and health “promotion”. Pharmaceutical industries sell new and old foods through claims about their medical power, or search traditional medicine for products companies can sell to new or alternative markets. The “drugs for life” paradigm constitutes a modern assemblage of proof or “evidence-based medicine”, new tactics in media and marketing, and an ideology of “healthism” centered on the individual as consumer of self-care and participant in disease definition. This movement is also a dismantling of earlier efforts to regulate marketplaces using a simple food-drug demarcation, where diet is the free domain of the layperson, drugs the restricted domain of expert practitioners.

One facet of this story is the collision of Western models of therapeutic control with traditional Eastern medical practices. The papers in this session examine the interactions between Eastern medicine, global marketing, and drug regulation. As boundaries for what is food versus drug blur, regulators, market middlemen, and consumers are left to broker these mixed markets and mixed epistemologies for health. The papers show that, at this intersection of traditional knowledge, corporate marketing, and modern empiricism, the story of East meets West gets messy.

Impressions of ICTAM IX

  • Impressions of ICTAM IX, 2017, by Matthias Burmeister, ICTAM IX Filmteam

Trailer ICTAM IX, 2017