Justice in Global Pandemic Influenza Preparedness: An Analysis Based on the Values of Contribution, Ownership and Reciprocity

Public Health Ethics (3):pht027 (2013)


In December 2006, Indonesia decided to stop sending influenza virus specimens to the World Health Organization’s Global Influenza Surveillance Network (GISN). Indonesia justified its actions by claiming that they were in protest of the injustice of GISN. Its actions stimulated negotiations to improve the workings of GISN by developing and implementing a more just framework for ‘sharing influenza viruses and other benefits’. These negotiations eventually led to the adoption of a new framework for virus and benefit sharing in May 2011, at the World Health Assembly meeting. In this article, we critically evaluate Indonesia’s claims about the unjustness of GISN. We show that arguments based on the values of ownership, contribution and reciprocity work together to support Indonesia’s claim that it was owed an equal share in the benefits of GISN and, in turn, that GISN was unjust because of its failure to ensure this. We also use these values to evaluate the newly agreed upon framework for virus and benefit sharing. We suggest the new framework fails to give proper consideration to the values of ownership, contribution and reciprocity and, as a result, that it is fundamentally unjust

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Citations of this work

Global Health Solidarity.Peter G. N. West-Oram & Alena Buyx - 2017 - Public Health Ethics 10 (2).

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