Scientists who drew up the key World Health Organisation guidelines advising governments to stockpile drugs in the event of a flu pandemic had previously been paid by drug companies which stood to profit, according to a report out today.
An investigation by the British Medical Journal and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the not-for-profit reporting unit, shows that WHO guidance issued in 2004 was authored by three scientists who had previously received payment for other work from Roche, which makes Tamiflu, and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), manufacturer of Relenza.
City analysts say that pharmaceutical companies banked more than $7bn (£4.8bn) as governments stockpiled drugs. The issue of transparency has risen to the forefront of public health debate after dramatic predictions last year about a swine flu pandemic did not come true...And from the AP:
PARIS — A report released by the Council of Europe on Friday accuses the World Health Organization and European governments of vastly exaggerating the public health risks of swine flu and making secretive decisions that benefited pharmaceutical companies.
WHO, the U.N. health agency, has said those who claim swine flu was a fake pandemic created for the benefit of drug companies are irresponsible...