Under fire WHO may review swine flu pandemic in 'several seasons'

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.

Under fire WHO may review swine flu pandemic in 'several seasons'

The World Health Organisation said Tuesday that it was ready to hold an "independent" review of its response to swine flu, amid growing criticism of official handling of the pandemic.

However, WHO officials said such a review might not be set up until the pandemic is regarded as over, a period which could take months or even years.

"We expect and indeed welcome criticism and a chance to discuss it," WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib told journalists.

"In the future we will also do an evaluation of our work with outside experts, in order to assess the work of WHO in the management of the pandemic influenza H1N1," she added.

"Evaluation is necessary and we are open to recommendations that can improve our work, when this is over WHO will undoubtedly work with outside experts."

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.

Some European countries have been trying to sell off stocks of unused vaccine in recent weeks, after many had geared up to deliver two doses instead of what eventually turned out to be the required single dose.

WHO flu spokeswoman Nyka Alexander said it could take "several seasons" to determine that a pandemic was over.

"We can't say a pandemic is over until we have seen that it hasn't come back," she explained.

The WHO declared a global pandemic last June, weeks after putting the world on an emergency footing over the sudden discovery and swift spread of the then unknown new swine flu virus in April 2009 in Mexico and the United States.

Governments will have an opportunity to question the WHO about H1N1 at a meeting of its 34-member board next week.

The WHO's top flu expert, Keiji Fukuda, will brief the board on Jan. 18 about the latest developments in the first influenza pandemic in more than 40 years.

GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis and Sanofi-Aventis are among H1N1 vaccine producers.



Agencies


Related news report:

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


Last Mod: 12 Ocak 2010, 15:49
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