Big pharma backs flu data-sharing deal for developing countries

Related articles

Diplomats from the World Health Organization (WHO) announced Saturday that the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) has officially committed to providing sufficient and affordable supplies of flu vaccine to developing countries in exchange for the global sharing of virus samples with WHO’s laboratories in order to make the most effective, targeted vaccine possible. The deal is an effort to improve future flu pandemic preparedness. During the 2009/2010 H1N1 “swine flu” outbreak, 78 million vaccine doses were donated to WHO for distribution to 77 developing countries, but regulatory hurdles slowed the process.

“This is a win-win for everyone,” says ACSH’s Dr. Josh Bloom. “We will get more rapid information about important flu strains, and the countries in need will get the vaccines to treat them.”

ACSH’s Dr. Elizabeth Whelan applauds the good news. “There has been so little coverage of the most recent influenza mortality rate, even though more than 80 children have died of the disease so far this year. Unlike traces of chemicals in our water, flu presents a real health threat, and this new agreement will help ensure that cost will not be a deterrent for residents of the poorest nations to get immunized while facilitating the manufacture of effective vaccines.”