Trade, foreign policy, diplomacy and health

5. Genomics Knowledge

Halla Thorsteinsdottir, Abdallah S Daar, Richard D Smith, Peter A Singer

GPG aspects of utilisation of genomics knowledge

Although genomics may display GPG characteristics, it has to be produced, disseminated and used before it is of any value and much will depend on the degree to which its applications are non-rival and non-excludable

The use of genomics for individual disease control, to diagnose, prevent or treat diseases in individuals, represent private goods.

pplications for population disease control have a range of characteristics from pure public to pure private goods. Eg preventive technologies for the eradication of disease are non-rival and non-excludable, across a global population. In contrast, tests and vaccines are typically excludable and rival: they can be withheld from individuals and not reused on different individual

Accessing genomics databases on the Internet, genomics regulation and education activities have more definite public goods characteristics. Regulations can be excludable or non-excludable depending on who they are aimed and the focus of regulation, but are non-rival and can as easily be applied to one or numerous individuals. The same applies to the application of genomics to avoid public 'bads', such as bio-terrorism. Transferring genomics knowledge to educate specific populations or the public at large also displays relatively strong public goods characteristics as it is typically non-excludable, depending on the target groups, and is generally non-rival in consumption.