- Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health
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.
- Wong, A., Clarke, B., Kohler, J.C. TRIPS Flexibilities and Access to Medicines: An Evaluation of Barriers to Employing Compulsory Licenses for Patented Pharmaceuticals at the WTO. South Centre (2022). https://www.southcentre.int/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/RP168_TRIPS-Flexibilities-and-Access-to-Medicines_EN.pdf
- Gorodensky, A., Kohler, J.C. State capture through indemnification demands? Effects on equity in the global distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. J of Pharm Policy and Pract 15, 50 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40545-022-00442-y
- Andrea Bowra, Gul Saeed, Ariel Gorodensky, Jillian Clare Kohler. An exploration of anti-corruption and health in international organizations. PLOS ONE. August 2022. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0269203
- Saeed, G., Kohler, J. C., Cuomo, R. E., & Mackey, T. K. A systematic review of digital technology and innovation and its potential to address anti-corruption, transparency, and accountability in the pharmaceutical supply chain. Expert Opinion on Drug Safety (2022). https://doi.org/10.1080/14740338.2022.2091543
- Wong, A.S.Y., Cole, C.B. & Kohler, J.C. Intellectual property and access to medicines: mapping public attitudes toward pharmaceuticals during the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) negotiation process. Global Health 17, 92 (2021).
- Kohler, J.C. 2021a. Why Global Cooperation in Public Health Needs a Leader. Healthcare Papers 19(4): 9–18. doi:10.12927/hcpap.2021.26487.
- Kohler, J.C. 2021b. Deployment of COVID-19 Vaccines: Are We All In This Together? Healthcare Papers 19(4): 48–52. doi:10.12927/hcpap.2021.26481.
- Natalie Rhodes, Tom Wright, Violet Rusu Hela Bakhtari, Jonathan Cushing, Jillian Kohler. For Whose Benefit? Transparency in the development and procurement of COVID-19 vaccines. Transparency International. May 2021. https://ti-health.org/content/for-whose-benefit-transparency-in-the-development-and-procurement-of-covid-19-vaccines/
- Jillian Clare Kohler. The Urgency of Mutual Collective Accountability in Global Health Governance. Global Health Governance (Special Symposium Issue 2021: Global Health Justice and Governance). Volume XVI, No. 1. https://blogs.shu.edu/ghg/files/2021/05/Spring-2021-Issue.pdf#page=39
- Lisa Forman & Jillian Clare Kohler (2020). Global health and human rights in the time of COVID-19: Response, restrictions, and legitimacy, Journal of Human Rights, 19:5, 547-556. https://doi.org/10.1080/14754835.2020.1818556
Awards & recognition
- Connaught Global Challenge Award 2020
- Canadian Women in Global Health 2018
- Inaugural founder and Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Governance, Transparency and Accountability in the Pharmaceutical Sector
- Technical advisor to the Access to Medicines Index and the former WHO Good Governance for Medicines Programme
- Peter and Patricia Gruber Fellowship in Global Justice at Yale University in 2013