First World Medical Practices as Tools for Dominance:

A Study of le Carre’s The Constant Gardener and & Shah’s The Body Hunters: Testing New Drugs on the Poorest Patients

  • Aakifa Shireen
  • Nayab Sajid


This paper examines how the introduction of novel medical practices in third-world countries is complicit with the pharmaceutical politics of the First World, as projects of medical welfare have been used by the First World to generate capital by establishing pharmaceutical companies in the Third World. This study draws on Deepika Bahri’s concept of ‘postcolonial biology’ and Frantz Fanon’s critique of the nexus of capitalism, colonialism and the ruthless medical practices carried out by the First World in the Third World. This paper presents an analysis of John le Carre’s The Constant Gardener and Sonia Shah’s The Body Hunters: Testing New Drugs on the Poorest Patients to uncover the patterns through which Western pharmaceutical companies dehumanise native Africans by testing lethal vaccines on them without their consent. Through the analysis of these texts, we propose that the First World is guilty of ‘biological neo-colonialism’ as these countries experiment lethal drugs on the people of the Third World, which cause permanent deformities in these individuals. At the same time, the bureaucrats and governments of these third-world countries do not hesitate to assist such ventures, and they lure the needy by offering them medication at low cost that have direct horrible health consequences. Such medical practices create suspicion among the natives regarding Western medicine, and when they reject using it, they are labelled as backward people.
Keywords: Biological colonisation, biological neo-colonialism, exploitative capitalism, pharmaceutical politics, Third World exploitation.