Lessons from SARS and H1N1/A: Employing a WHO–WTO forum to promote optimal economic-public health pandemic response
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- Mackey, T. & Liang, B. J Public Health Pol (2012) 33: 119. doi:10.1057/jphp.2011.51
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No formal system exists to review trade restrictions imposed during international public health emergencies rapidly. Failure to put one in place creates disincentives for surveillance and reporting, thereby undermining protection efforts. The 2003 SARS outbreak exposed weaknesses in global governance that caused uncoordinated public health and economic responses. New International Health Regulations (IHR), applied first during the 2009 H1N1 influenza outbreak, demonstrated improvement. Yet they failed to allow for management of public health emergencies in a way that balanced threats to health and those to economies and trade. Establishment of a joint WHO–WTO committee to adjudicate these conflicts might better achieve that balance.