What's at stake in the fake?

Indian pharmaceuticals, African markets and global health

Nishpriha Thakur | People at Fake Drugs Project

Nishpriha Thakur

Research Fellow
King's College London

Nishpriha Thakur studied languages and literature for her BA and MA at the MS University of Baroda. She was a Fulbright Scholar, specializing in language pedagogy at the Five Colleges Inc., Amherst, USA and has also worked on the Jharkhand Volume of the People’s Linguistic Survey of India. She has a PhD in Sociology from Shiv Nadar University, India. For her PhD thesis, she looked at the everyday-ness in the markets of inner city areas of Surat in relation to the shifts in the city.

Her research topic seeks to understand the authenticity of pharmaceuticals from the outside in and how value is created, circulated and transferred to in the pharmaceutical markets of Western India, East Africa and Southern Africa.

To do her research, she employs her training from languages to understand nuances, tonalities, expressions and most importantly—categories. Her other technique is to understand how to participate and write about exchanges in various spaces — something she has been able to learn (and unlearn!) from her ethnographies of market networks and marketplaces.

She hopes to excavate terminologies for fake medicines, how value is created through exchanges that happen in manufacturing hubs, warehouses, shops, houses, offices, archives and hence it is not just the invisible hand, but also the invisible lands that leads to producing ‘fake’ medicines.

As she usually starts her conversation with people with food, what goes in it and how they cook it, she thinks ‘too many cooks spoil the secret of a broth’ and she carries such secret recipes in her fieldwork diaries.

Email: Nishpriha.thakur@kcl.ac.uk