Swine flu 'false pandemic' for drugs firms to make billions: EU expert

A leading health expert has claimed the swine flu scare was a "false pandemic" led by drugs companies that stood to make billions from vaccines.

Swine flu 'false pandemic' for drugs firms to make billions: EU expert

A leading health expert has claimed the swine flu scare was a "false pandemic" led by drugs companies that stood to make billions from vaccines.

Wolfgang Wodarg, head of health at the Council of Europe, said, major firms organised a "campaign of panic" to put pressure on the World Health Organisation to declare a pandemic.

He has branded it "one of the greatest medicine scandals of the century", and has called for an inquiry.

An emergency debate on the issue will be held by the Council later this month.

Dr Wodarg said: "It's just a normal kind of flu. It does not cause a tenth of deaths caused by the classic seasonal flu.

"The great campaign of panic we have seen provided a golden opportunity for representatives from labs who knew they would hit the jackpot in the case of a pandemic being declared.

"We want to clarify everything that brought about this massive operation of disinformation. We want to know who made decisions, on the basis of what evidence, and precisely how the influence of the pharmaceutical industry came to bear on the decision-making."

"A group of people"

He added: "A group of people in the WHO is associated very closely with the pharmaceutical industry."

He said, that to further push their interests, leading drug companies placed "their people" in the "cogs" of the WHO and other influential organisations.

He added that their influence could have led the WHO to soften its definition of a pandemic - leading to the declaration of a worldwide outbreak last June.

Dr Wodarg said: "In order to promote their patented drugs and vaccines against flu, pharmaceutical companies have influenced scientists and official agencies, responsible for public health standards, to alarm governments worldwide.

"They have made them squander tight healthcare resources for inefficient vaccine strategies and needlessly exposed millions of healthy people to the risk of unknown side-effects of insufficiently tested vaccines."

"Dangerous allergic reactions"

The WHO has recently reaffirmed its stance that the pandemic is not over. However, the number of swine flu deaths is dramatically lower than expected.

Last year, Dr Wodarg raised concerns about swine flu vaccines, saying they could cause dangerous allergic reactions.

In an interview with France's L'Humanite, he said: "The vaccines were developed too quickly. Some ingredients (adjuvants) were insufficiently tested.

"But there is worse to come. The vaccine developed by Novartis was produced in a bioreactor from cancerous cells — a technique that had never been used until now.

"This was not necessary. It has also led to a considerable mismanagement of public money.

"The time has come at last for us to make demands on governments. The purpose of the inquiry is to prevent more false alarms of this type in the future.

"We must make sure people can rely on the analysis and the expertise of national and international public institutions. The latter are now discredited, because millions of people have been vaccinated with products with inherent possible health risks."

He added: "In Germany this has cost about 700 million Euros. But it is very difficult to know the exact figures because we are talking about vaccines resold to foreign countries, and most firms do not communicate due to the principles of 'trade secrets'."


Agencies


Last Mod: 11 Ocak 2010, 16:48
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