Reports accuse WHO of exaggerating H1N1 threat, possible ties to drug makers
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Washington Post
Posted: June 9th, 2010
European criticism of the World Health Organization's handling of the H1N1 pandemic intensified ... with the release of two reports that accused the agency of exaggerating the threat posed by the virus and failing to disclose possible influence by the pharmaceutical industry on its recommendations for how countries should respond. The WHO's response caused widespread, unnecessary fear and prompted countries around the world to waste millions of dollars. At the same time, the Geneva-based arm of the United Nations relied on advice from experts with ties to drug makers in developing the guidelines it used to encourage countries to stockpile millions of doses of antiviral medications. The first report ... came from the Social, Health and Family Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, which launched an investigation in response to allegations that the WHO's response to the pandemic was influenced by drug companies that make antiviral drugs and vaccines. The second report, a joint investigation by the [British Medical Journal] and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism ... criticized 2004 guidelines the WHO developed based in part on the advice of three experts who received consulting fees from the two leading manufacturers of antiviral drugs used against the virus, Roche and GlaxoSmithKline.
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