Markets in everything

Or should this post be titled "Department of Uh-Oh"?

Indonesia, which has had more human cases of avian flu than any other country, has stopped sending samples of the virus to the World Health Organization, apparently because it is negotiating a contract to sell the samples to an American vaccine company, a W.H.O. official said yesterday.  The strains of the H5N1 virus circulating in Indonesia are considered crucial to developing up-to-date vaccines and following mutations in the virus.

Here is the story.  At the very least, is it not better to release the information but require a payment of royalties from any company using it profitably?  Or since the virus has a 60-70 percent fatality rate in Indonesia, maybe they might go back to simply giving the information away…?

Here is further commentary, perhaps the Indonesians are resentful that they would not be able to afford any resulting vaccine.  If this entire episode does not convince you that IP law is out of control, I don’t know what would.


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