Is healthcare a market like any other?

Patents, portrayed as the driving force of innovation, guarantee pharmaceutical companies with commercial exclusivity. This monopoly is also coupled with a total lack of transparency: prices are set according to a market rationale, with no way of knowing the real costs of the research and development of medicines. In order to delay generic competition and secure profits, pharmaceutical companies tend to multiply patents on the same substance to extend the period of exclusivity. In both the North and the South, exorbitant prices restrict access to treatment. Retrovirals for HIV/AIDS and insulin are two emblematic cases of the struggle for access to affordable medicines. In the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, the lifting of patents on vaccines and certain treatments has been necessary to respond to the emergency. But many international actors remain firmly opposed to this, while pharmaceutical companies' sales figures are reaching record highs.

Economie & PolitiqueEnjeux sociauxSanté

Sunday 12 March


Espace Pitoëff - Théâtre

sold out - in case of cancellation, tickets will be put back on sale before the screening

Followed by the debate "Is healthcare a market like any other?"

In partnership with the Agenda 21 - Sustainable City Service


Gaëlle Krikorian Doctor of Sociology at EHESS, former policy director of the Access to Essential Medicines

Patrick Durisch Health Policy Expert at the NGO Public Eye

David Beran Researcher and Assistant Professor, University of Geneva, University Hospitals of Geneva

Thiru Balasubramaniam Geneva Representative of Knowledge Ecology International

Moderated by

Philippe Mottaz Founder of the Geneva Observer

This debat is preceded by the movie:

Hors Compétition - Documentaire

Time of Pandemics

By Rehad Desai & Tricia Hlongwa

In March 2020, on the eve of the Covid-19 crisis, filmmaker Rehad Desai follows the clinical trials of a vaccine that could finally put an end to the decades-long HIV pandemic. Based on an analysis of these two health crises, "Time of Pandemics" looks at the dysfunction of the global health system, which neglects issues such as malnutrition and lack of access to care and medication. A situation that favours the emergence of new dangerous pathogens.

  • Section Hors Compétition - Documentaire
  • Original language(s) English
  • Subtitle(s) French

Economie & PolitiqueSanté

Rehad Desai & Tricia Hlongwa

World sales

  • Deckert Distribution


  • Uhuru Productions


  • Nic Hofmeyer
  • Duncan Tilley


  • Philip Miller


  • Charlotte Buys


  • Geert Veuskens
  • Megan Gill
  • Premilla Murcott
Production country
South Africa