Indonesia fights vaccines only rich countries can afford
Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari said Indonesia
will not resume sharing bird flu samples with the World Health Organization
(WHO) until a formal agreement is reached assuring its specimens would not be
used for commercial purposes.
Jakarta's move sparked international criticism and concern from health
officials. Indonesia, which has the world's highest human death toll from the
H5N1 virus with 64, countered by saying other poor nations also did not want
their strains made into patented vaccines that only rich countries could
The government was also criticized for signing an agreement with US drug
maker Baxter Healthcare
to develop a human bird flu vaccine. Indonesia agreed to provide H5N1
virus samples in exchange for free expertise in vaccine production.
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