Indonesia's Refusal to Share Influenza Virus Specimens with the World: Reviving the Arguments for Justice in Influenza Pandemic Preparedness

Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



Indonesia's December 2006 decision to stop sending influenza virus specimens to the World Health Organization's Global Influenza Surveillance Network GISN captured international attention At the time the H5N1 subtype of influenza A virus was predicted to be the basis for the next pandemic While many accused Indonesia the country most afflicted by the virus of putting the rest of the world in peril by withholding virus samples Indonesia maintained that GISN was unjust for failing to ensure equitable access to vaccines developed using those samples The H5N1 pandemic threat eventually waned yet international negotiations to create a just framework for "sharing influenza viruses and other benefits" are ongoingIn this paper we critically evaluate Indonesia's claims about the unjustness of GISN We argue in favour of Indonesia's position and conclude that GISN must be significantly altered so that it properly recognizes the values of ownership contribution reciprocity and human rights


Research Papers, Working Papers, Conference Papers.