WHO: Avian Flu Vaccines Must Be Accessible to Poor Nations

29 de may de 2007

<body><div id="article"><tr><td height="28" valign="middle" width="184"></td><td valign="middle" width="185"></td></tr><h1>WHO: Avian Flu Vaccines Must Be Accessible to Poor Nations</h1><p>May 29, 2007 (LPAC) - In addition to the World Health Organization (WHO)at their annual conference last week in Geneva, the 193 member nations also voted to hold an international conference on the sharing of influenza viruses and vaccines. The conference will be held in Thailand, the nation which stood up to the pharmaceutical companies on compulsory licensing of HIV/AIDS drugs.</p><p>Faced with prohibitively high prices for vaccines against avian flu, Indonesia and other developing nations have refused to supply samples of the regional forms of H5N1 avian flu virus to the pharmaceutical companies, until they agree to provide vaccines at an affordable price. At the WHO meeting in Geneva, the US demanded that the samples be provided before discussing access or pricing of vaccines. But, as Edgar Allen Poe noted in "The Masque of the Red Death," global pandemics affect everyone, rich or poor, and can therefore not be subjected to profit motive decisions. The US gave in, and the WHO agreed to link access to virus samples with agreements on prices, with the details to be worked out at the Bangkok conference, to be held in July or August.</p></div></body>