‘Pandemic Medicine: Why the Global Innovation System is Broken, and How We Can Fix It’ Wins Global Health Best Book Award

“Pandemic Medicine: Why the Global Innovation System Is Broken, and How We Can Fix It” (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2021), by Kathryn C. Ibata-Arens, a political science professor at DePaul University, has been named Best Book in Global Health by the International Studies Association (ISA) for its contribution to understanding the business and politics of global health. Ibata-Arens was presented the award at the ISA’s annual meeting on March 31 in Nashville, Tennessee. The book outlines past epidemics and pandemic threats to humanity before taking readers through the history of the origins of drugs from natural medicines in ancient Asia to the modern synthetic pharmaceuticals that now dominate global markets.

The book explains why the wildly profitable, modern, Big Pharma industry and the restrictive global intellectual property rights regime it has created, backed by the World Trade Organization, pose a problem for human health today. The author shows how drug discoveries led by international networks of experimenters and social entrepreneurs are producing new and accessible healing medicines through “open innovation sandboxes.” Such public-private partnerships are leading a transformation in bringing curative drug discoveries to humanity.

“I am honored to be among an esteemed group of recipients of this book prize, who have made substantial contributions to our understanding of who gets access to health and healthcare globally, and, more importantly, how we can make healthcare more affordable and accessible worldwide,” said Ibata-Arens. “In light of the lingering COVID-19 pandemic, I hope that ‘Pandemic Medicine’ serves as a resource for those trying to protect us from pathogens and to prevent future global health crises.”

Ibata-Arens’ book was chosen from among dozens of nominated works published in 2021.

“‘Pandemic Medicine’ presents a unique theoretical model to explain innovation and knowledge sharing pertaining to the critically important and timely topic of access to vaccines and therapeutics. The book’s detailed, non-Western case studies are sure to impact scholarship in international health governance and serve as a key educational resource in the field,” said Heather Wipfli, selection committee chair and director of the University of Southern California’s Global Research, Innovation and Training (GRIT) Lab.

Kathryn Ibata-Arens is a Vincent de Paul Professor of Political Economy at DePaul University in Chicago. A scholar of innovation and entrepreneurship, science and technology policy, and economic development, Ibata-Arens is also currently researching the economics of patents of living matter. Her critically acclaimed previous book, “Beyond Technonationalism: Biomedical Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Asia” (Stanford University Press, 2019), examined venture start-up firms in China, India, Japan, and Singapore, analyzed national policy and firm-level strategy supporting competitive growth in frontier technologies.

The Andrew Price-Smith Book Award, formerly known as the Global Health Studies award, is presented annually by the International Studies Association, recognizing the impact made by Price-Smith, a leading scholar of global health security and Professor at Colorado College, who died of cancer in 2019. His 2001 book, “The Health of Nations: Infectious Disease, Environmental Change, and Their Effects on National Security and Development,” was one of the first books to combine political science with global health, and it had a seminal impact on the field of global health security.

Founded in 1959, the ISA is the world’s largest interdisciplinary professional organization of global affairs policy makers, practitioners, and scholars, whose 7,000 members from 100 countries are “dedicated to posing and answering questions regarding some of the most pressing issues of our time.”

Media contact: Russell Dorn rdorn@depaul.edu

Source: Kathryn C. Ibata-Arens, author