In the introductory chapter I lay down the sociolegal foundations of the
book. By a sociolegal approach I understand a study centered on the right to
health "in action," in contrast with the right to health "in the books." I
also present the political economy approach of the book, which I define -
following David Kennedy - as a "terrain of contestation" where the attempts
of governments to provide health care to their citizens collide with the
profit-oriented agendas of non-state actors such as transnational
pharmaceutical companies. In this chapter I illustrate the conundrum faced
by Global South countries that try to guarantee the right to health of all
citizens amid an epidemiological turn towards chronic, noncommunicable
diseases, which require expensive medical treatments and state-of-the-art
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