This page is older archived content from an older version of the Emerald Publishing website.

As such, it may not display exactly as originally intended.

Healthcare for the Bottom of the Pyramid

Special issue call for papers from International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing

Introduction and Theme

About a decade ago, Prahalad and Hammond (2002) brought our focus on Bottom of Pyramid (BOP) as a ‘missing market’ that was lying almost dormant. BOP is defined  as consisting of those consumers that have spending power of $2 or less per day. This missing market is waiting for an exponential increase in its economic and social prosperity, based on providing the ‘poor’ in developing and emergent economies with access to markets (Brugmann and Prahalad, 2007). According to few experts, BOP markets consist of around 3 billion people with less than $2 income per day. However, the lessons from BOP markets can be sometime amazingly overwhelming. One of the world’s poorest nations, Rwanda has 92% of the nation covered under health insurance for last 11 years, and premiums cost only about $2 a year. On the contrary, one of the world’s richest nations,  the United States of America has in comparison the most expensive healthcare system in the world, and a large percent of its  population is either uninsured or under-insured.

Healthcare delivery in developing and BOP markets are not very well developed. For example, a W.H.O. survey in 2006 pointed out that while there should be one doctor per 250 patients, there were 1598 patients attended to by one doctor in India. This leads to deterioration in healthcare service quality and levels of professionalism in the healthcare field. India also has 75% of healthcare specialists, and 85% of healthcare-related technology services being offered by the private sector. Despite Indian government spending 4.1% of GDP on healthcare, 70% of this spending is private, which effectively reduces the government spending to about 1% of GDP. The impact of such low government spending on BOP consumers is that they spend a very high proportion of their low incomes on healthcare, since most of them are not insured. According to India’s Economic Survey 2013, health expenditure forces 39 million people (more than one-third of the total population of India) each year into poverty.
This special issue aims to fulfill this aim to motivate theories that are international in scope, and which can be usefully applied in different regions, to explain and predict the inter-linkages between healthcare expenditures and poverty at more broad level, as well as household level challenges to meet healthcare-related needs of the 4 billion poor consumers in the world. Although emerging markets such as India, China, South Africa, Brazil, Russia, and east-European economies have large proportions of their populations which can be labeled as BOP, yet poor consumers are present in almost all developed markets too. This special issue also aims to publish several studies coming from developed as well as developing markets to bring out the diversity and richness in our understating of the phenomenon.

Research Methods

This special issue strongly welcomes rigorously developed conceptual articles that extend the frontiers of knowledge in the healthcare for BOP domain. Also welcome are articles that are based on an international context (cross-cultural or cross-national studies), and empirical research adopting any research methodology within the broad ambit of qualitative or quantitative methods in this domain. The special issue aims to be less partisan with respect to methodological, ideological, or geographical issues in this area of research.

Topics for the Special Issue

There are no limitations on the preferred areas of interests, however the following areas may provide some directions:

 Healthcare models for BOP markets
 Making BOP healthcare more accessible and affordable
 Are hospitals the best way to provide healthcare to BOP?
 Health-related education and communication for BOP consumers
 Effect of increasing private healthcare spending on healthcare at BOP
 Role of consumer literacy, health knowledge and health awareness in BOP healthcare
 Role of government policy, laws, and regulations on healthcare for BOP
 Role of non-profit organizations in healthcare for BOP
 Role of health insurance providers in providing healthcare at BOP
 Microfinance and healthcare marketing for BOP
 Role of frugal innovations in BOP healthcare services
 Role of technology in healthcare delivery to BOP
 Public-private partnership in healthcare to BOP markets
 Patient behavior and adherence in BOP markets
 Social marketing issues in healthcare for BOP consumers
 International comparisons in healthcare for BOP


Submissions will be handled through the journal’s online manuscript submission system, Manuscript Central ( Details of how to set up your own account on Manuscript Central are provided at the journal web site. Please make sure that you adhere to the author guidelines available at the journal website:                         

Papers submitted must not have been published, accepted for publication, or presently be under consideration for publication with any other journal. Suitable articles will be subjected to a double-blind review. Hence authors should not identify themselves in the body of the paper. When submitting your manuscript you will be asked to specify whether the manuscript is for a normal issue of International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing or for this special issue; please make sure that you select the ‘‘Healthcare for the Bottom of the Pyramid” special issue option. Initial submissions will be reviewed by the guest editor and if judged suitable then placed for double-blind review. Articles should be no more than 8,000 words in length including references. A separate title page must be uploaded containing the title, author/s, and contact information for the author(s). One author should be clearly identified on jointly authored articles as the main contact point for the submission.


Papers should be submitted to Manuscript Central by June 30, 2014. The special issue will be published in 2014. Any questions about the special issue can be directed to the guest editors.

Special Issue Guest Editors:

Dr Avinandan Mukherjee (Montclair State University, USA)
Email: [email protected]

Dr. Ramendra Singh (IIM Calcutta; Kolkata India)
Email: [email protected]


Brugmann, J., and Prahalad, C. K. (2007) ‘Cocreating Business’s New Social Contract’, Harvard Business Review 85(2): 80–90.

Prahalad, C.K. and Hammond, A. (2002) ‘Serving the World’s Poor, Profitably’, Harvard Business Review 80(9): 48–57.