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WHO swine flu experts 'linked' with drug companies- BBC Health

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by julius, Jun 4, 2010.

  1. julius

    julius Watchoo lookin' at?


    Key scientists behind World Health Organization advice on stockpiling of pandemic flu drugs had financial ties with companies which stood to profit, an investigation has found.

    The British Medical Journal says the scientists had openly declared these interests in other publications yet WHO made no mention of the links.

    It comes as a report from the Council of Europe criticised the lack of transparency around the handling of the swine flu pandemic.

    A spokesman for WHO said the drug industry did not influence its decisions on swine flu.

    Guidelines recommending governments stockpile antiviral drugs were issued by WHO in 2004.

    The advice prompted many countries around the world into buying up large stocks of Tamiflu, made by Roche, and Relenza manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline.

    A year after the swine flu pandemic was declared, stocks are left unused in warehouses and governments are attempting to unpick contracts.

    Conflict of interest
    The BMJ, in a joint investigation with The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, found that three scientists involved in putting together the 2004 guidance had previously been paid by Roche or GSK for lecturing and consultancy work as well as being involved in research for the companies.

    Although the scientists involved had freely declared the links in other places and said WHO asked for conflicts of interest forms prior to expert meetings, the ties were not publically declared by WHO.

    It is not clear whether these conflicts were notified privately by WHO to governments around the world, the BMJ said, and a request to see conflict of interest declarations was turned down.

    In addition, membership of the "emergency committee" which advised WHO's director general Margaret Chan on declaring an influenza pandemic has been kept secret.

    It means the names of the 16 committee members are known only to people within WHO, and as such their possible conflicts of interest with drug companies are unknown.

    On its website, WHO says: "Potential conflicts of interest are inherent in any relationship between a normative and health development agency, like WHO, and a profit-driven industry.

    "Similar considerations apply when experts advising the Organization have professional links with pharmaceutical companies.

    "Numerous safeguards are in place to manage possible conflicts of interest or their perception."


    Fergus Walsh
    Medical correspondent, BBC News

    Be open. Be transparent. That seems to be the key learning point for the WHO from this joint investigation.

    It is common practice for academic experts to work closely with the pharmaceutical industry, such as getting funding for drug trials, or to be paid for attending meetings.

    On all clinical papers authors must publicly declare any competing interests.

    So it is surely advisable that the WHO follows the same policy with its advisors.

    And there is surely no logic in refusing to name the members of the emergency committee which advised the WHO about the pandemic.

    To fail to do so presents an own goal to critics and conspiracy theorists.
  2. worshiper

    worshiper Guest

    Yes I have also heard about this news.Swine flu vaccine is made of mass without penalizing some big pharmaceutical companies, which are used the world's population, a potentially devastating consequences.
  3. muffin

    muffin Senior Member

    ((taken from another post on the loss of credibility of the CDC and Swine Flu hype)))

    The pandemic that never was: Drug firms 'encouraged world health body to exaggerate swine flu threat'

    By Fiona Macrae http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...lu-threat.html

    Last updated at 11:49 PM on 4th June 2010

    Widespread warnings were issued about the swine flu 'pandemic'
    Declaring a swine flu pandemic was a 'monumental error', driven by profit-hungry drug companies spreading fear, an influential report has concluded.

    It led to huge amounts of taxpayers' money being wasted in stockpiling vaccines, it added.
    Paul Flynn, the Labour MP charged with investigating the handling of the swine flu outbreak for the Council of Europe, described it as 'a pandemic that never really was'.

    The report accuses the World Health Organisation of grave shortcomings in the transparency of the process that led to its warning last year.

    The MP said that the world relied on the WHO, but after 'crying wolf', its reputation was in jeopardy.
    The report questions whether the pandemic was driven by drug companies seeking a profit. Mr Flynn said predictions of a 'plague' that would wipe out up to 7.5million people proved to be 'an exaggeration', with fewer than 20,000 deaths worldwide.
    Britain braced itself for up to 65,000 deaths and signed vaccine contracts worth 540million.

    The actual number of deaths was fewer than 500 and the country is now desperately trying to unpick the contracts and unload millions of unused jabs.
    The focus on swine flu also led to other health services suffering and widespread public fear.
    Pharmaceutical companies, however, profited to the tune of 4.6billion from the sale of vaccines alone.
    Mr Flynn said: 'There is not much doubt that this was an exaggeration on stilts. They vastly over-stated the danger on bad science and the national governments were in a position where they had to take action.
    'In Britain, we have spent at least 1billion on preparations, to the detriment of other parts of the health system. This is a monumental failure on the WHO's part.'

    The Council of Europe inquiry heard allegations that the WHO had downgraded its definition for declaring a pandemic last spring - just weeks before announcing there was a worldwide outbreak.
    Critics said the decision to remove any need to consider the deadliness of the disease was driven by drug companies desperate to recoup the billions of pounds they had invested in developing pandemic vaccines after the bird flu scares.

    But the WHO said its basic definition of a pandemic never changed.
    Mr Flynn said: 'It doesn't make any sense as to why they should have changed the definition a month before declaring an outbreak.

    'In this case, it might not just be a conspiracy theory, it might be a very profitable conspiracy.'
    A Daily Mail investigation earlier this year revealed more than half of the swine flu taskforce advising the Government on its strategy had ties to drug companies.
    Eleven of the 20 members of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies had done work for the pharmaceutical industry or are linked to it through their universities.
    Concerns about drug companies' influence are also highlighted by a separate investigation by the British Medical Journal and the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

    It found that key scientists behind the WHO's advice on stockpiling pandemic flu pills such as Tamiflu had financial ties with the drug companies that stood to profit. The WHO last night firmly rejected all the criticism. Spokesman Gregory Hartl said: 'There is no question of this being a fake pandemic. If fits the criteria for a pandemic, which is a new virus to which human beings have little or no immunity and which has spread around the world.

    'It spread from zero to 74 countries in the space of 9 weeks - that's a pandemic.'
    He said that not all ties to drug companies were necessarily conflicts of interest.
  4. Stone

    Stone Senior Member

    Incredibly horrible.
  5. Rosemary

    Rosemary Senior Member

    Millions of vaccine doses to be burned


    ATLANTA About a quarter of the swine flu vaccine produced for the U.S. public has expired meaning that a whopping 40 million doses worth about $260 million are being written off as trash.

    "It's a lot, by historical standards," said Jerry Weir, who oversees vaccine research and review for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

    The outdated vaccine, some of which expired Wednesday, will be incinerated. The amount, as much as four times the usual leftover seasonal flu vaccine, likely sets a record. And that's not even all of it.

    About 30 million more doses will expire later and may go unused, according to one government estimate. If all that vaccine expires, more than 43 percent of the supply for the U.S. public will have gone to waste.

    Federal officials defended the huge purchase as a necessary risk in the face of a never-before-seen virus. Many health experts had feared the new flu could be the deadly global epidemic they had long warned about, but it ended up killing fewer people than seasonal flu.
  6. *GG*

    *GG* senior member

    Concord, NH

    The best use it could be put to! See sometimes inaction, so to speak, is our greatest weapon! Garbage in = Garbage out!

    Wake up America and the World, get educated and try more natural things, including Vitamin D!


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