Health body blasted for lack of transparency
THE STRAITS TIMES SATURDAY,JUNE 5 2010 PAGE C26
PARIS:The World Health Organisation's handling of the Influenza A (H1N1) pandemic was deeply marred by secrecy and conflict of interest with drug companies, a top medical journal said yesterday.
The British Medical Journal (BMJ) said that WHO guidelines on the use of antiviral drugs were prepared by experts who had received consulting fees from the top two manufacturers of these drugs, Roche and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).
In apparent violation of its own rules, the WHO did not publicly disclose these conflicts when the guidelines o how to respond to a pandemic were drawn up in 2004, according to the report, jointly authored by the non profit Bureau of Investigative Journalism, based in London.
A draft assessment prepared for the Council of Europe, also released yesterday, likewise lambasts the WHO for lack of transparency, wasting huge sums of public money and provoking "unjustified fears". It also points to potential health risks stemming from the "fast track" manufacture of vaccines.
Decisions by the global health organisation led governments to stockpile vast quantities of antivirals, and its decision to declare a pandemic in June last year(2009) triggered the purchase of billion of dollars worth of hastily manufactured (purported) vaccines. ( Respected readers can read previous posts regarding the H1N1 vaccines scandalous syndicate in this blog, just type H1N1 and search)
The BMJ report reveals that at least one expert on the secret, 16-member "emergency committee" formed last year(2009) to advise the WHO on whether and when to declare a pandemic had received payment last year(2009) from GlaxoSmithKline.
A World Health Organisation spokesman responded to the BMJ report in general terms, but did not comment on the committee that was set up last year(2009). "Declarations of interest are submitted by all experts who attend WHO expert committee meetings, " said Mt Gregory Haertl.
He added that the recommendations on how to respond to a pandemic were drafted by 20 people and that the WHO released them on the Web for six months to seek public comment before revising them and publishing them in 2004.
Mr David Reddy, who heads Roche's influenza task force, said :"In disease areas like this, there is only a limited number of people who have got direct clinical investigational experience and virology experience, so it is not surprising that we are going to be seeking advice from the same groups of people."
On Thursday, WHO head Margaret Chan announced that the pandemic-level alert would be kept in place despite mounting expectations of a downgrade. While outbreaks have largely disappeared in the northern hemisphere, new cases of Influenza A (H1N1) were expected in the coming weeks south of the equator, she said.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, BLOOMBERG
We are very fortunate to be given access to these vital facts before we have unknowingly exposed our children and adults relatives and ourselves to further vaccines dangers.
Thanks to James for these comment and links below:
Has the Ministry read these reports? It is a leap of faith to believe that the H1N1 vaccine can effectively protect Singaporeans, when potential financial conflicts of interest are kept secret at the WHO.