Transnational corporations and health: a research agenda

Int J Health Serv. 2015;45(2):353-62. doi: 10.1177/0020731414568513. Epub 2015 Feb 10.


Transnational corporations (TNCs) are part of an economic system of global capitalism that operates under a neoliberal regime underpinned by strong support from international organisations such as the World Trade Organization, World Bank, and most nation states. Although TNCs have grown in power and influence and have had a significant impact on population health over the past three decades, public health has not developed an integrated research agenda to study them. This article outlines the shape of such an agenda and argues that it is vital that research into the public health impact of TNCs be pursued and funded as a matter of priority. The four areas of the agenda are: assessing the health and equity impacts of TNCs; evaluating the effectiveness of government regulation to mitigate health and equity impacts of TNCs; studying the work of activist groups and networks that highlight adverse impacts of TNCs; and considering how regulation of capitalism could better promote a healthier and more equitable corporate sector.

Keywords: capitalism; health; neoliberalism; transnational corporations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Capitalism*
  • Global Health
  • Government Regulation
  • Health Impact Assessment*
  • Humans
  • Internationality*
  • Politics*
  • Public Health