Introduction: What “Goods” Are Pharmaceuticals?

  • Satoru Kimura
  • Yasuhide Nakamura
Part of the Trust book series (TRUST, volume 5)


The authors discuss how pharmaceutical products, i.e., the goods, behave and get involved in their surroundings in the real world, from different perspectives. Healthcare is inseparable from pharmaceutical products, and they are regarded as the goods that interface between medical doctors and patients. Pharmaceutical products are goods controlled by the state, and are involved in various fields of society, e.g., they function as tools for public health; the WHO formulates its policies for them; NGOs carry out support activities in relation to them; they constitute the key in economic and industrial development and promotion; newly developed medicines and generics face the challenge of intellectual property rights; and there exists their illegal distribution. An inductive viewpoint is required; we need to view that in the real world, interests occur in various fields in which pharmaceuticals are involved. Pharmaceuticals are goods with a strong “sociality,” i.e., social standing. How they are valued is determined by their interactions with society. The same would be still true when the term “social” is replaced with the term “international.” This book starts with the argument that the sociality and internationality of pharmaceutical products are closely related to the problem of poor quality pharmaceuticals.


Conflict of interests Pharmaceuticals Poor quality Social goods Sociality 


  1. Ames, Joseane, and D.Z. Souza. 2012. Counterfeiting of drugs in Brazil. Revista de Saúde Pública. Accessed 1 Sept 2018.
  2. Atemnkeng M.A., K. De Cock, and J. Plaizier-Vercammen. 2007. Quality control of active ingredient in artemisinin-derivative antimalarials within Kenya and DR Congo. Tropical Medicine & International Health 12 (1): 68–74. Accessed 1 Sept 2018.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Campbell, N., J.P. Clark, V.J. Stecher, et al. 2012. Internet-ordered Viagra (sildenafil citrate) is rarely genuine. The Journal of Sexual Medicine 9 (11): 2943–2951. Accessed 1 Sept 2018.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Criminal Intelligence Service Canada, Counterfeit pharmaceuticals in Canada. Accessed 6 March 2016.
  5. Doi, Osamu, Satoru Kimura, et al. 2013. Drug-Induced Suffering in Japan. Tokyo: Yakuji Nippo. (Parallel in Japanese and English).Google Scholar
  6. Illich, Ivan. 1976. LIMITS to medicine medical nemesis: the expropriation of health. London: Calder & Boyars Ltd.Google Scholar
  7. Kawakita, Airo. 1977. Kindai Igaku no Shiteki Kiban (Jo) [Historical Groundwork of Modern Medicine, vol. 1]. Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten. (In Japanese).Google Scholar
  8. Khan, Mohiuddin Hussain, Tsuyoshi Tanimoto, Yoko Nakanishi, et al. 2012. Public health concerns for anti-obesity medicines imported for personal use through the internet: a cross sectional study. BMJ Open. 2, e000854. Accessed 1 Sept 2018.
  9. Levenson, T. 2009. Newton and the counterfeiter. New York through: Thomas c/o The Park Literacy Groug, LLC.Google Scholar
  10. MHLW. 2018. Jenerikku Iyakuhin no Shiyo Sokushin ni tsuite [Promotion in Use of Generic Medicines]. Accessed 12 Aug 2018. (In Japanese).
  11. Nayyar, G.M., J.G. Breman, P.N Newton, et al. MRCP. 2012, Poor-quality antimalarial drugs in Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. The Lancet Infectious Diseases 12 (6): 488–496. Accessed 1 Sept 2018.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Nihon Yakkyokuho Kofu Hyakunen Kinen Jigyo Jikko Iinkai. 1987. Nihon Yakkyokuho Hyakunenshi [The Hundred Years History of Japanese Pharmacopeia]. Tokyo: Nihon Kohteisho Kyokai. (In Japanese).Google Scholar
  13. Stephens, Trent and Rock Brynner. 2001. Dark remedy the impact of thalidomide and its revival as a vital medicine: Trans. New York: Perseus Publishing.Google Scholar
  14. Stoneman, A., S. Simon, and J. Trahan. 2011. Counterfeit medicines: impurities in the American drug supply. Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health 56 (6): 636–638. Accessed 1 Sept 2018.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Umetani, Noboru. 2007. Oyatoi Gaikokujin –Meiji Nihon no Wakiyakutachi [The Foreigners Hired by The Japanese Government -Supporting Players in Meiji Era -]: Tokyo: Kodansya Gakujutsu Bunko. (In Japanese).Google Scholar
  16. Uzawa, Hirofumi. 2000. Shakaiteki Kyotsu Shihon [Social Common Capital]. Tokyo: Iwanami Shinsyo. (In Japanese).Google Scholar
  17. WHO. 1975. WHA28.66. Handbook of resolutions and decisions of the World Health Assembly and the Executive Board Volume II 1973–1984. Accessed 3 July 2018.
  18. WHO. 1988. WHA41.18. Handbook of resolutions and decisions of the World Health Assembly and the Executive Board Volume III 1985–1992. Accessed 3 July 2018.
  19. WHO. 1992. WHA45.29. Handbook of resolutions and decisions of the World Health Assembly and the Executive Board Volume III 1985–1992. Accessed 3 July 2018.

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Satoru Kimura
    • 1
  • Yasuhide Nakamura
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Reference StandardsPharmaceutical and Device Regulatory Science Society of JapanOsakaJapan
  2. 2.School of Nursing and RehabilitationKonan Women’s UniversityKobeJapan

Personalised recommendations