Monday, March 15, 2010

Reconstruction of a Mass Hysteria: The Swine Flu Panic of 2009/ Spiegel

From the March 12, 2010 Spiegel (my thanks to Jane Bryant's "OneClick" website for posting the story and to Digital Journal for covering it)

What the Spiegel does is to confirm that it was WHO's decision to move to Pandemic Phase 6 that caused preexisting contracts between nations and large vaccine manufacturers to become active, guaranteeing huge sales and profits to the companies. How did Pharma help move WHO to declare a Phase 6? The Spiegel's investigative report is an excellent start to unravelling this unholy alliance between international public health policymakers and industry. Enjoy the full article (excerpts below):
According to the regulations, phase 6 becomes effective when a new virus is spreading uncontrollably in several regions of the world. The regulations say nothing about the severity of the disease.

In fact, the vast majority of experts on epidemics automatically associate the term "pandemic" with truly aggressive viruses. On the WHO Web site, the answer to the question "What is a pandemic?" included mention of "an enormous number of deaths and cases of the disease" -- until May 4, 2009. That was when a CNN reporter pointed out the discrepancy between this description and the generally mild course of the swine flu. The language was promptly removed.

Apparently German infectious disease experts also misunderstood the official WHO definition of phase 6. An influenza epidemic, according to Germany's national pandemic plan -- updated in 2007 -- is "a long-lasting, international situation involving substantial loss…and causing such lasting damage as to jeopardize or destroy the livelihood of large numbers of people."

The situation on June 11, 2009 did not correspond with these descriptions. Critics were already asking derisively whether the WHO had any plans to declare the latest outbreak of the common cold a pandemic. "Sometimes some of us think that WHO stands for World Hysteria Organization," says Richard Schabas, the former chief medical officer for Canada's Ontario Province...

Everything hung on this decision. At stake was nothing less than a move to supply large segments of the world's population with flu vaccine. Phase 6 acted as a switch that would allow bells on the industry's cash registers to ring, risk-free. That's because many pandemic vaccine contracts had already been signed. Germany, for example, signed an agreement with the British firm GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in 2007 to buy its pandemic vaccine -- as soon as phase 6 was declared. This agreement could explain why Professor Roy Anderson, one key scientific advisor to the British government, declared the swine flu a pandemic on May 1. What he neglected to say was that GSK was paying him an annual salary of more than €130,000 ($177,000).

In mid-June, 2009, the head of GSK's German division urged Health Minister Ulla Schmidt "to confirm the delivery stipulated under the contract as soon as possible." He also asked the health minister of the eastern state of Thuringia to "promptly provide us with binding confirmation of the contractually stipulated orders of the German states." Similar letters were sent to other German states...

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