This paper provides an introduction to the relationship between the commercial sector and global health governance. It begins by defining the commercial sector, differentiating among public, non-governmental and commercial organisations, and enumerating the range of commercial entities with an interest in global health. After briefly reviewing the concept of global governance, the paper goes on to describe the commercial sector’s involvement in global health governance. In particular, it differentiates between three prominent approaches: (1) establishing private systems of global health governance; (2) influencing public governance; and(3) coregulation with the public sector. Examples of each of these approaches are provided alongside a discussion of their strengths and limitations and the debate that they often provoke. The final section provides an approach to assessing the governance of these arrangements, as applied to public-private partnerships, and conclusions are offered for advancing public health aims in the context of private health governance.