ABOUT THE BOOK
The World Health Organisation (WHO), a specialised agency of the United Nations, is mandated to achieve the highest possible level of health for all peoples.
However, in 2007 world attention was focused on WHO when it emerged that WHO’s ‘Global Influenza Surveillance Network’ (GISN) was unfair to the interests and needs of developing countries. This scheme, focused on ensuring that countries shared influenza viruses, failed to deliver fair and equitable benefit sharing, a crucial element to ensure access to vaccines, anti-virals and other technologies at affordable prices to developing countries that were most affected during a severe influenza outbreak of pandemic potential. It also emerged that developed country governments and their entities were winners in the scheme as they profited from the virus sharing system, including by having timely access to vaccines and making intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) claims over the shared biological materials and products developed using such materials.
Meanwhile, developing countries could face astronomical bills for the purchase of vaccines and other medical supplies, as well as difficulties in accessing such supplies, due to their limited availability. Latest technologies as well as know-how used in vaccine development and production (largely based in developed countries) were also protected by IPRs, creating more obstacles for developing countries that might seek to build their own production capacity.
All these issues came to a head at the 60th World Health Assembly in 2007, leading to the adoption of Resolution WHA60.28 titled ‘Pandemic Influenza Preparedness: sharing of influenza viruses and access to vaccines and other benefits’. Negotiations to create a fair and equitable influenza virus and benefit sharing framework in the context of pandemic influenza preparedness are ongoing in WHO.
This book provides an in-depth understanding of the background to, and rationale for, the current WHO negotiations on influenza virus and benefit sharing as well as a front-line view of the negotiations.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
SHASHIKANT is a legal adviser of the
“Sharing” of avian flu virus to be a major issue at WHA (SUNS #6247 – 8 May 2007)
Winners and losers in the sharing of avian flu viruses (SUNS #6249 – 10 May 2007)
Developing countries look to WHA for solution to flu virus issue (SUNS #6251 – 14 May 2007)
WHO admits patents taken on avian flu virus (SUNS #6254 – 21 May 2007)
WHA avian flu decision links sharing of virus and benefits (SUNS #6258 – 25 May 2007)
Civil society calls for fair framework for sharing of virus samples as well as vaccines
No clear outcomes in WHO meeting on avian flu virus sharing
Rush is on for patents on avian flu viruses and vaccines (SUNS #6354 – 30 October 2007)
Meet discusses proposals to reform WHO’s influenza surveillance system (SUNS #6372 – 23 November 2007)
WHO meeting on avian flu virus ends with draft documents (SUNS #6374 – 27 November 2007)
WHO Executive Board discusses avian flu issues (SUNS #6398 - 23 January 2008)
WHO Board debates “global health security”, climate, IPRs (SUNS #6399 – 24 January 2008)
WHA discusses avian flu, smallpox virus stocks (SUNS #6479 – 22 May 2008)
WHO-linked centre lays patent claim on bird flu virus (SUNS #6539 – 15 August 2008)
Concerns over Chair’s text on sharing of avian flu viruses and benefits (SUNS #6539 –15 August 2008)
Massive patent claims on antibodies and genes of bird flu survivors (SUNS #6559 – 2 October 2008)
Key issues unresolved at WHO meeting on influenza virus sharing (SUNS #6613 – 18 December 2008)
North-South fight on IP, Benefit Sharing issues in influenza talks (SUNS #6614 – 19 December 2008)
Flu outbreak adds urgency for fair & equitable benefit and IP sharing mechanisms
Key elements of virus and benefit-sharing framework still unresolved (SUNS #6703 – 19 May 2009)
Negotiations to continue on influenza virus and benefit-sharing (SUNS #6706 – 26 May 2009)
Working Group set up, pandemic flu response to be reviewed (SUNS #6849 - 26 January 2010)
Appendix 1: World Health Assembly Resolution 60.28: “Pandemic Influenza Preparedness: sharing of influenza viruses and access to vaccines and other benefits”
Appendix 2: “Fundamental Principles And Elements for the Development of a New System for Virus Access And Fair and Equitable Benefit Sharing arising from the use of the virus for the pandemic influenza preparedness” (A/PIP/IGM/5): Proposal from Indonesia
Appendix 3: “Standard Terms
and Conditions (STCs) for the Transfer and Use of Influenza Biological
Materials and Fair and Equitable Benefits Sharing (Between
Appendix 4: “Standard Terms and Conditions for the Transfer and Use of Influenza Biological Materials and fair and equitable benefit sharing” (A/PIP/IGM/7): Proposal from the African Region
Appendix 5: Interim Statement of the Intergovernmental Meeting on Pandemic Influenza Preparedness: Sharing of influenza viruses and access to vaccine and other benefits
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