Swine flu: poor countries will not be able to afford vaccines

The production of vaccines against the A(H1N1) influenza, known as ‘swine flu’, is not sufficient to meet global needs, the Missionary News Service reported last night. Quoting the World Health Organisation  (WHO) they add that it is the rich nations,  that are least at risk from the flu, that have major access to the limited supplies.

WHO chief Margaret Chan said: “The lion’s share of these limited supplies will go to wealthy countries. Again we see the advantage of affluence. Again we see access denied by an inability to pay”.

The WHO last month lifted the alert level to six over the A(H1N1) influenza pandemic, but stressed that the classification does not imply a more critical situation but a wider spread globally.

Last night MISNA also reported Argentina’s food and drug administration (ANMAT) has fined the GlaxoSmithKline multinational for testing an experimental drug on 1,400 children in Santiago del Estero, Mendoza and San Juan.

The one-million pesos (around $250,000) fine was the highest ever applied in the nation against a multinational.

The London-based GlaxoSmithKline conducted the drug trial with two Argentinean researchers. According to ANMAT, the sanction, which the accused can appeal.

The vaccine – designed to fight pneumonia, ear infections and several other pneumococcal diseases is already in an advanced phase. ANMAT objected to the researchers decision to test it on children of poor families, who did not comprehend the potential risks. ANMAT stressed that the experimental drug was administered to “under aged vulnerable people, from poor families with low education levels”.

Source: MISNA