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 afford.
The government was also criticized for signing an agreement with US drug maker Baxter Healthcare Corp
to develop a human bird flu vaccine. Indonesia agreed to provide H5N1 virus samples in exchange for free expertise in vaccine production.