Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

The AKP between populism and neoliberalism: lessons from pharmaceutical policy

  • Tim Dorlach (a1)
Abstract
Abstract

In September 2009, Turkey experienced a major reform of its pharmaceutical expenditure and price policy. By introducing a global budget, Turkey saved some 20 billion TL in public pharmaceutical expenditure in the 2010–2012 period. The lion’s share of this was achieved by introducing stricter price controls that reduced the profit margins of pharmaceutical producers and distributors (the populist policy solution), rather than by privatizing the cost of medicines through, for example, raising out-of-pocket payments (the neoliberal policy solution). This is a puzzle, given the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP) government’s usual preference for lenient and business-friendly regulation. This article explains the policy reform with reference to (i) the pronounced electoral interests of the AKP’s political leadership in not substantially reducing access to public health services, (ii) the absence of powerful business interests in high medicine prices, and (iii) the absence of a developmentalist commitment to an industrial policy strategy for the pharmaceutical sector. This case study holds important lessons for scholars of Turkish politics. It suggests that externally the AKP’s economic and social policies are driven by the interests of its two major constituencies (namely, lower-class voters and “Anatolian capital”), while internally they are shaped by two camps of policy makers (namely, neoliberal-minded technocrats and election-focused party leaders).

Copyright
Footnotes
Hide All

Author’s Note: I thank Ayşe Buğra, İpek Eren Vural, Bünyamin Esen, Çağlar Keyder, Tracy Lord, Ziya Öniş, Yalçın Özkan, Osman Savaşkan, Umut Türem, Alper Yağcı, conference participants at the London School of Economics, Middle East Technical University, and the University of Sheffield, as well as three anonymous referees and the editors of this journal for comments that helped improve this paper.

Footnotes
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

AyşeBuğra and OsmanSavaşkan .New Capitalism in Turkey: The Relationship between Politics, Religion and Business. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2014.

SebastianEdwards . Left Behind: Latin America and the False Promise of Populism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010.

İpekEren Vural Neoliberalism, Intellectual Property Rights and the Turkish Pharmaceutical Industry in the 2000s.” In The New Political Economy of Pharmaceuticals Production, Innovation and TRIPs in the Global South. Edited by Hans Löfgren and Owain David Williams. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. 221245.

ZiyaÖniş . “The Political Economy of Turkey in the 1980s: The Anatomy of Unorthodox Liberalism.” In Strong State and Economic Interest Groups: The Post-1980 Turkish Experience. Edited by Metin Heper. New York and London: Walter de Gruyter, 1991. 2740.

PaulPierson . “Big, Slow-Moving, and … Invisible: Macrosocial Processes in the Study of Comparative Politics.” In Comparative Historical Analysis in the Social Sciences. Edited by James Mahoney and Dietrich Rueschemeyer. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003. 177207.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

New Perspectives on Turkey
  • ISSN: 0896-6346
  • EISSN: 1305-3299
  • URL: /core/journals/new-perspectives-on-turkey
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords: