Area of Research
Jillian Clare Kohler's research focuses on global access to essential medicines. More specifically, she focuses her research on issues that are linked to anti-corruption, transparency and accountability in the pharmaceutical sector, as well as those related to trade issues and intellectual property rights.
In addition to her role as professor and cross-appointments at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, she is the Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Governance, Transparency and Accountability in the Pharmaceutical Sector.
Corruption as defined by Transparency International is “the misuse of entrusted power for private gain.” Corruption is complex, nuanced and multifaceted, and it undercuts equity because it typically benefits those who hold some degree of power at the expense of the public good. Corruption is found throughout the health system; from petty corruption at the health facility level to corruption that takes place at the highest level of the state. It can create barriers to access to medicines and to health services, particularly for the most vulnerable and marginalized populations.
Unless corruption in health and pharmaceutical systems is addressed, comprehensively and practically, there is very little chance for the achievement of, not only lofty global health goals, such as Sustainable Development Goal #3: Good Health and Well-Being (Sustainable Development Goals Knowledge Platform) but those expressed in national public health policies. Research is needed in order to identify the how, why and what of corruption in the health and pharmaceutical systems in an effort to stop exploitation of the poor and vulnerable from the powerful. And while research may not illuminate the full story of how corruption is taking place and detail the granularity of its impact, even exploratory research is absolutely fundamental to grasping what anti-corruption, transparency and accountability strategies and tactics can best reduce the risk of corruption in health and pharmaceutical systems.
Impact To Date
Kohler is a recognized global expert on anti-corruption, transparency and accountability in the pharmaceutical system. She has worked with the WHO, the UNDP and the Global Fund in their efforts to advance more research, policy and practice on anti-corruption in the health and pharmaceutical systems. She pioneered the methodology on good governance in the pharmaceutical system for the World Bank, which was subsequently adopted by the WHO and has been applied in over 38 countries globally. Kohler is a technical advisor for the Access to Medicines Index and was an advisor to the now-concluded WHO Good Governance for Medicines Programme.