Levelling the playing field? Sharing of influenza viruses and access to vaccines and other benefits

Australian Centre for Intellectual Property in Agriculture, Griffith Law School, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.
Journal of law and medicine 09/2012; 20(1):59-72.
Source: PubMed


With the adoption of the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework, including its annexes, by the 64th World Health Assembly, this article investigates the disproportionate burden of risk and benefits between resource-poor countries in the developing South and resource-rich industrialised developed nations of the North in the World Health Organisation's Standard Material Transfer Agreement (SMTA) for accessing and sharing influenza viruses. It concludes that the countries of the South have a unique opportunity to level the playing field through providing timely and affordable access to life-saving vaccine and meaningful benefit-sharing that will deliver technology and economic development. Importantly, the article also demonstrates that SMTAs are not merely a redirection of existing resources from North to South but offer a solution to the ongoing shortage of pandemic influenza vaccine by enabling the South to access technology necessary for sustainable vaccine production and thus increasing global vaccine capacity.

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    ABSTRACT: During the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, the global health community sought to make vaccine available "in developing nations in the same timeframe as developed nations." However, richer nations placed advance orders with manufacturers, leaving poorer nations dependent on the quantity and timing of vaccine donations by manufacturers and rich nations. Knowledge of public support for timely donations could be important to policy makers during the next pandemic. We explored what the United States (US) public believes about vaccine donation by its country to poorer countries. We surveyed 2079 US adults between January 22(nd) and February 1(st) 2010 about their beliefs regarding vaccine donation to poorer countries. Income (pā€Š=ā€Š0.014), objective priority status (pā€Š=ā€Š0.005), nativity, party affiliation, and political ideology (p<0.001) were significantly related to views on the amount of vaccine to be donated. Though party affiliation and political ideology were related to willingness to donate vaccine (p<0.001), there was bipartisan support for timely donations of 10% of the US vaccine supply so that those "at risk in poorer countries can get the vaccine at the same time" as those at risk in the US. We suggest that the US and other developed nations would do well to bolster support with education and public discussion on this issue prior to an emerging pandemic when emotional reactions could potentially influence support for donation. We conclude that given our evidence for bipartisan support for timely donations, it may be necessary to design multiple arguments, from utilitarian to moral, to strengthen public and policy makers' support for donations.
    PLoS ONE 03/2012; 7(3):e33025. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0033025 · 3.23 Impact Factor

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