Role of the industry
Pandemic outbreaks of influenza have caused a huge burden of disease in 1918, 1957 and in 1968 with estimated numbers of fatal cases of about 40, 2 and 1 million people worldwide respectively. There is no reason to believe that future pandemics would not have a similar impact. Furthermore there is no way to predict the severity of an influenza outbreak at its onset. So the only option we have today is to stockpile antiviral drugs and to start making the vaccine against the newly emerged virus. However, in the industrialized world, antiviral medicine and vaccines are currently only produced by the private sector with little or no involvement of the public sector: the public sector no longer produces vaccines or other medicines. Consequently industry will have to make profit by producing these crucial elements of intervention strategies against pandemic influenza. It is however too simple to blame industry for stressing the need for live saving pandemic awareness among policy makers and the general public. Public-private partnerships have ensured the establishment of adequate and well-balanced pandemic awareness and preparedness plans.