Research & CV

In-progress Book Manuscript

My research draws on my background in law to foreground the role of legal and geopolitical regimes in conditioning the Global South’s access to lifesaving and palliative drugs. Situated at the intersection of medical anthropology, law, and political economy, my in-progress book manuscript is titled Scandal in a Spectral Place: Pharmaceutical Capitalism in Pakistan. The manuscript draws from two years of ethnographic fieldwork in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad, Pakistan, at overburdened government hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, state drug regulatory agencies, and the Supreme Court, High Court, and specialized drug courts in Pakistan.

Scandal in a Spectral Place centers the role of geopolitics in conditioning pharmaceutical access, an under-explored intersection. For example, it situates Pakistan’s epidemic of unpalliated cancer pain due to morphine scarcity within enduring histories of Western military imperialism in the Golden Crescent. A devastating paradox animates the book: despite some of the world’s lowest drug prices, and barely any patents filed by Western multinationals, Pakistan confronts one of the highest global burdens of treatable diseases, drug shortages, and an epidemic of unpalliated cancer pain due to morphine scarcity. The book unravels these puzzles by rethinking the relationships between pharmaceutical access and price, property, and narcotics control.

Trade Secrets Research

I am also working on a parallel, shorter-term project, culminating in a journal article, supported by the UBC Arts Undergraduate Research Award and Hampton New Faculty Grant. Titled “Property’s Secrets: How Trade Secrets Impede the Global South’s Access to COVID-19 Vaccines”, it goes beyond patents to examine trade secrets as a powerful frontier in pharmaceutical companies’ access-blocking arsenal, on display in the COVID-19 ‘vaccine apartheid’. In Spring 2024, I will conduct fieldwork for this project at a major industry conference on trade secrets in San Jose, California.