Wednesday, January 20, 2010

WHO examines claims over exaggerating swine flu danger / Deutsche World

Snippets from Deutsche World online:
Amid criticism that it exaggerated the dangers of swine flu, the World Health Organization (WHO) has begun a week long meeting in Geneva. Critics accuse the organization of having been too quick to proclaim a pandemic.

British member of parliament Paul Flynn wants an investigation into exactly how the pandemic was handled. "We want to know who decided the level of risk," he said. "Was it decided on medical and health grounds or was it decided to meet the priorities of making profits of the pharmaceutical organizations. The great danger is that having cried 'wolf' on avian flu and on swine flu, nobody is going to trust the World Health Organisation if they come out with another threat, with another scare story in the future."

In Norway the ministry of health announced a deal with GSK identical to one the pharmaceutical giant signed with Germany and Belgium, allowing the country to save around 24.6 million euros ($35.4 million).

The Greek government cancelled 12.3 million of its flu vaccine orders, from a total of 16 million originally destined for the 11 million Greek population, while Norway had ordered 9.4 million vaccinations from GSK, foreseeing two doses for each of its 4.8 million citizens, in accordance with the recommendations at the time from health authorities.

A total of 97 people have died in Greece for reasons linked to swine flu and in Norway 29 people have died from the virus.

But this is a debate that won't go away – next week in Strasbourg, the council of Europe is set to hold an emergency debate on the swine flu pandemic – WHO officials and executives from the vaccine producers will be required to attend.

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