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John Abraham is Professor of Sociology. Initially trained as a mathematician, he worked with the Radical Statistics arm of the British Society for Social Responsibility in Science and then earned three postgraduate degrees: MSc in Science Policy Studies, MA in Sociology and DPhil in Politics. 

John has led numerous ESRC- and Wellcome Trust-funded research projects on various aspects of pharmaceuticals and health policy, whose findings have been widely published including books he has written such as: Science, Politics and the Pharmaceutical Industry; The Therapeutic Nightmare: the battle over the world’s most controversial sleeping pill; Regulating Medicines in Europe: competition expertise and public health; Regulation of the Pharmaceutical Industry; and most recently Unhealthy Pharmaceutical Regulation: innovation, politics and promissory science published by Palgrave in November 2013. Later in 2015, his sixth book on this field, namely, Controlling Pharmaceutical Risks: science, cancer and the geneticisation of drug testing will be published by Routledge. He is currently working on a major new research monograph on ‘The Politics of Drug Safety’.

As Specialist Expert Adviser to the UK House of Commons Parliamentary Health Select Committee, he was centrally involved in its 8-month ‘Inquiry into the Influence of the Pharmaceutical Industry’ (2005) - the most comprehensive and wide-ranging Parliamentary investigation of the pharmaceutical sector since 1914. He has chaired many ESRC Research Grants Assessment Panels, as well as serving on the ESRC's Grants Delivery Group, and as Vice-Chair of the ESRC Research Seminars Competition Panel. Recent plenary lectures have been delivered to the World Health Organization, Social Science & Health Research Councils of Canada (GIERSO), International Society of Pharmacovigiliance, Royal College of Psychiatrists, European Congress of Toxicology, European Science Foundation, British Medical Association, INFARMED, the International Society of Social Pharmacy, Basel Institute on Governance, European Commission MEDUSE programme at University of Liege, and the All-Party UK Parliamentary Group on Corporate Responsibility. 


John has published widely in sociology and politics, including four books on sociology of education (e.g. Divide and School: Gender and Class Dynamics in Comprehensive Education) and the politics of food (e.g. Food and Development: The Political Economy of Hunger and the Modern Diet). However, most recently his research has focused entirely on the sociology and politics of pharmaceuticals innovation, safety, efficacy, regulation and cost-effectiveness, especially in the UK, EU and US from the late nineteenth century to the present day.



For a full list of publications, please see John's research profile.




Further details

Please see John's Research Staff Profile for further details.