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H1N1 Advisors received kickbacks from H1N1 vaccine manufacturers

Tigana
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"Scientists who advised the World Health Organization on its influenza policies and recommendations—including the decision to proclaim the so-called swine flu a "pandemic" had close ties to companies that manufacture vaccines and antiviral medicines like Tamiflu, a fact that WHO did not publicly disclose.

The links between the advisors and the companies that make money from vaccines and flu treatments were detailed in a report published online by the British medical journal BMJ, which investigated the advisors' role in WHO's policy.

The report by Deborah Cohen, features editor of BMJ, and Philip Carter, a journalist with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in London, acknowledged that flu experts do "need to work with industry to develop the best possible drugs for illnesses," but said that allowing industry experts to have a role in the formulation of public health policy was a slippery slope.

And worse, Cohen and Carter said, was the failure of WHO officials to disclose the conflicts of interest or even identify the members of its advisory committee."

 

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/SwineFlu/swine-flu-pandemic-world-health-organization-scientists-linked/story?id=10829940

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/04/AR2010060403034.html

 

 


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Tigana
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http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/340/jun03_4/c2947

Published 3 June 2010, doi:10.1136/bmj.c2947
Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c2947

Editorials Conflicts of interest and pandemic flu

WHO must act now to restore its credibility, and Europe should legislate

 

The world should of course be thankful that the 2009 influenza A/H1N1 pandemic proved such a damp squib. With so many fewer lives lost than had been predicted, it almost seems ungrateful to carp about the cost. But carp we must because the cost has been huge. Some countries—notably Poland—declined to join the panic buying of vaccines and antivirals triggered when the World Health Organization declared the pandemic a year ago this week. However, countries like France and the United Kingdom who have stockpiled drugs and vaccines are now busy unpicking vaccine contracts, selling unused vaccine to other countries, and sitting on huge piles of unused oseltamivir.Meanwhile drug companies have banked vast profits—$7bn (£4.8bn; {euro}5.7bn) to $10bn from vaccines alone according to investment bank JP Morgan.1Given the scale of public cost and private profit, it would seem important to know that WHO’s key decisions were free from commercial influence.

An investigation by the BMJ and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, published this week (doi:10.1136/bmj.c2912), finds that this was far from the case.2 As reported by Deborah Cohen and Philip Carter, some of the experts advising WHO on the pandemic had declarable financial ties with drug companies that were producing antivirals and influenza vaccines. As an example, WHO’s guidance on the use of antivirals in a pandemic was authored by an influenza expert who at the same time was receiving payments from Roche, the manufacturer of oseltamivir (Tamiflu), for consultancy work and lecturing. Although most of the experts consulted by WHO made no secret of their industry ties in other settings, WHO itself has so far declined to explain to what extent it knew about these conflicts of interest or how it managed them.

This lack of transparency is compounded by the existence of a secret "emergency committee," which advised the director general Margaret Chan on when to declare the pandemic—a decision that triggered costly pre-established vaccine contracts around the world. Curiously, the names of the 16 committee members are known only to people within WHO....


Tigana
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http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/340/jun03_4/c2912

(BMJ video at link)

Published 3 June 2010, doi:10.1136/bmj.c2912
Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c2912

Feature Conflicts of Interest WHO and the pandemic flu "conspiracies"

Deborah Cohenfeatures editor, BMJPhilip Carterjournalist, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, London

dcohen@bmj.com

Key scientists advising the World Health Organization on planning for an influenza pandemic had done paid work for pharmaceutical firms that stood to gain from the guidance they were preparing. These conflicts of interest have never been publicly disclosed by WHO, and WHO has dismissed inquiries into its handling of the A/H1N1 pandemic as "conspiracy theories." Deborah Cohenand Philip Carter investigate

 
Next week marks the first anniversary of the official declaration of the influenza A/H1N1 pandemic. On 11 June 2009 Dr Margaret Chan, the director general of the World Health Organization, announced to the world’s media: "I have conferred with leading influenza experts, virologists, and public health officials.In line with procedures set out in the International Health Regulations, I have sought guidance and advice from an Emergency Committee established for this purpose. On the basis of available evidence, and these expert assessments of the evidence, the scientific criteria for an influenza pandemic have been met...The world is now at the start of the 2009 influenza pandemic."

It was the culmination of 10 years of pandemic preparedness planning for WHO—years of committee meetings with experts flown in from around the world and reams of draft documents offering guidance to governments. But one year on, governments that took advice from WHO are unwinding their vaccine contracts, and billions of dollars’ worth of stockpiled oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza)—bought from health budgets already under tight constraints—lie unused in warehouses around the world.

A joint investigation by the BMJ and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has uncovered evidence that raises troubling questions about how WHO managed conflicts of interest among the scientists who advised its pandemic planning, and about the transparency of the science underlying its advice to governments. Was it appropriate for WHO to take advice from experts who had declarable financial and research ties with pharmaceutical companies producing antivirals and influenza vaccines? Why was key WHO guidanceauthored by an influenza expert who had received payment for other work from Roche, manufacturers of oseltamivir, and GlaxoSmithKline, manufacturers of zanamivir? And why does the composition of the emergency committee from which Chan sought guidance remain a secret known only to those within WHO? We are left wondering whether major public health organisations are able to effectively manage the conflicts of interest that are inherent in medicalscience.

Already WHO’s handling of the pandemic has led to an unprecedented number of reviews and inquiries by organisations including the Council of Europe, European Parliament, and WHO itself, following allegations of industry influence. Dr Chan has dismissed these as "conspiracies," and earlier this year, during a speech at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, she said: "WHO anticipated close scrutiny of its decisions, but we did not anticipate that we would be accused, by some European politicians, of having declared a fake pandemic on the advice of experts with ties to the pharmaceutical industry and something personal to gain from increased industry profits."...


 


ennir
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Thanks for posting this Tigana.


RANGER
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What a shocker!


Tommy_Paine
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I wish stories like these were shocking.  They've become par for the course.

 

Remember back to the story that started the panic here in Canada, about the "perfectly healthy" young man who died suddenly?   And it turned out that he had an underlying medical condition (asthma, if I recall correctly).   This touched off the queue jumping by hospital administrators and others of that ilk, and made for long lines.

One wonders, given the way things work in the media, if this wasn't just bad reporting (which is bad enough) but some deliberate tweek from big pharma via a PR company.

 

Yes, I'm currently re-thinking my anti-capital punishment position.

 

 


RANGER
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This H1N1 thing was similar to SARS and Bird Flu and you know people got rich off of it, one six o'clock news story and people panic, how could "the news" get it wrong? right? I am so glad I didn't have that elixer put into my body or my families. Although my tax dollars said I was crazy! go figure! 


RANGER
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Forgot to add "capital punishment rocks" if it's done right.


pogge
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There have been complaints about the World Health Organization's lack of transparency for years*. And that's the issue at the centre of this story. There's nothing actually here about WHO officials receiving "kickbacks" which would be another way to say bribes. Instead the issue is that some of the experts with whom the WHO consults had relationships or business dealings with the pharmaceutical industry that weren't acknowledged, creating a possible conflict of interest. And if you dig, you'll find that at least some of those experts did disclose those relationships with Big Pharma to the WHO but the WHO chose to keep the members of their advisory committee anonymous which meant those potential conflicts went unreported as well. Meanwhile rebuttals to the BMJ story are surfacing.

Flu experts rebut conflict claims

Quote:
"A key question will be whether the pharmaceutical companies, which had invested around $4 bn (£2.8bn, €3.3bn) in developing the swine flu vaccine, had supporters inside the emergency committee, who then put pressure on WHO to declare a pandemic," says the article in the BMJ (D. Cohen and P. Carter Br. Med. J. 340, c2912; 2010). "It was the declaring of the pandemic that triggered the contracts."

This is false. Many countries - including the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Finland, Canada, the Netherlands and Switzerland - had already placed large orders for H1N1 vaccine weeks before the WHO declared H1N1 a pandemic on 11 June 2009. The United States, for example, ordered US$649 million of pandemic H1N1 influenza vaccine antigen and $283 million of adjuvant on 22 May 2009. So the Emergency Committee could not have influenced these in any way.

"You are absolutely right," conceded the authors of the articles in the BMJ when challenged with this timeline.

There's more at the link, including this:

Quote:
Scientists interviewed by Nature early on in the pandemic noted that severity is impossible to pin down until many months after it starts. Also, pandemic viruses can mutate or reassort to become more severe, so initial estimates are in any case of limited use.

Had A/H1N1 mutated into something a lot more lethal, people would have been screaming that the actions taken by the WHO and by public health authorities were totally inadequate instead of complaining that they over-reacted.

* Edited to add: criticisms I agree with whether it involves disclosing the identities of those who influence public health decisions or releasing information on H5N1 sequences from infections in various parts of the world, which was a controversy a few years ago. They tend to be defensive and keep a firm grip on information. That only leads to criticism which leads to more defensiveness which leads to...

 


Noah_Scape
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Sorry I didn't see this threat first, before I posted a similar one. I was just so focused on the news that I didn't even look. Double sorry. Ignore the other one please.

This news is very troubling, even if not surprising. How should it be interpreted?

It could be that "the WHO took money from vaccine makers and made their declaration of a pandemic based on that payola" .

And, in light of such a crime, it could also reflect on the safety of the vaccine, and non-reporting of bad vaccine reactions. Very possibly, there were more people harmed by the vaccine than were harmed by the H1N1 virus.

 I suppose it is likely that there was an H1N1 virus in existence, as opposed to the possibility that they made it all up and any influenza cases were just normal seasonal flu. But we cannot discount that possibility either.

   Those of us who doubted the veracity of the pandemic, and who doubted the wisdom of taking a vaccine for it, now have more credibility than our own health authorities who followed the recommendations of the WHO, who are now completely discredited as "fake pandemic perveyors". What will we do when a REAL pandemic hits?

   As for our Doctors, the "local GPs", role in this debacle, it certainly reflects badly on them for following along too. They were in a pretty sticky corner though, with patients asking for the vaccine and Health Canada telling them what to do. They could hardly be expected to blow the whistle if they thought something was wrong with this picture... Or should they have? I did, as much as possible, shout about how people are being tricked into taking the vaccine for the fake H1N1 "non-pandemic", but I had little to lose.

So now we see how conspiracies work - people we depend on are trapped into staying silent. Once again- what will we do when a real pandemic hits, and we have NOBODY TO TRUST for information?

 

 

 


Jingles
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Remember when there was a huge, acrimonious debate about getting the vaccine, and those who refused were called stupid for not doing so? Eh? Remember?

When we said that the story didn't wash, and that the vaccine was unnecessary and possibly dangerous, we were derided as conspiracy theorists, anti-science quacks, etc, etc, etc. We were told that we needed to take the vaccine, even if it was a syringe full of maple syrup, just in case. By not doing so, we were jeopardizing the very survival of humanity.

Looks like the tinfoil hat pulled in the right signals after all.

 


contrarianna
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When you have an industry in which a single corporation can make billions of dollars a year, it should not be surprising that any, and all, means of product promotion is embraced--backed by many, many millions of dollars: bribes, massive lobbying in government, scientific and professional bodies and media; extensive paid-for-results in refereed academic journals.
Far from "conspiracy theory" this documented reality could hardly play out any other way.

Needless to say, actual concern for public health is far from the concerns of company boards and quarterly projected profits .
Not only are ineffectual or harmful products promoted, when a true epidemic looms there will be a lot fewer people willing to believe it.


Timebandit
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Jingles wrote:

Remember when there was a huge, acrimonious debate about getting the vaccine, and those who refused were called stupid for not doing so? Eh? Remember?

When we said that the story didn't wash, and that the vaccine was unnecessary and possibly dangerous, we were derided as conspiracy theorists, anti-science quacks, etc, etc, etc. We were told that we needed to take the vaccine, even if it was a syringe full of maple syrup, just in case. By not doing so, we were jeopardizing the very survival of humanity.

Looks like the tinfoil hat pulled in the right signals after all.

Actually, it was the reasons given for not taking the vaccine that were based in pseudoscience and based in conspiracy theory that were derided, and rightly so.

I don't recall saying that anyone was jeopardizing "the very survival of humanity", but if your aim is exaggeration and obfuscation, the argument continues true to form.


Noah_Scape
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There are no "pro vaccine" rabble posters on this thread - mercury poisening got your tongue?

About those "postive tests for H1N1" that kept coming out, and eventually were declared unnessessary - I think that was a special test that the vaccine makers came up with for easy identification of H1N1 cases.

Could that test for H1N1 have been BOGUS too? As in, a test designed to show "positive for H1N1", but really just detected any virus?

I am sure you see that such a test would really help them sell vaccines. I hope they investigate that too, to see if the H1N1 test was fake.

How will we ever trust medical authorities again? Even if they were not in on the conspiracy, they were at least FOOLED by it...

The only ones with credibility now are us "whacky conspiracy theory people", as Jingles pointed out [good one!]


Tommy_Paine
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This is false. Many countries - including the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Finland, Canada, the Netherlands and Switzerland - had already placed large orders for H1N1 vaccine weeks before the WHO declared H1N1 a pandemic on 11 June 2009. The United States, for example, ordered US$649 million of pandemic H1N1 influenza vaccine antigen and $283 million of adjuvant on 22 May 2009. So the Emergency Committee could not have influenced these in any way.

 

WHO tellegraphed their intentions do declare a pandemic well ahead of the actual declaration.  And, even if stuff was bought well before that, all the information about H1N1  was coming from WHO.  So to say "The Emergency Committee could not have influenced these in any way." is completely false.  It may be true that the WHO did not influence nations who bought the vaccine the way their critics laid it out specifically.

But that hardly puts them outside the woods on this issue yet.

 

I think the media role in all this might have been tweeked by a PR company, but even failing that, the media's attachment to using fear to sell add space is really bad enough.

 

I remember wrestling with whether to get the vaccine or not, and following the debate here and using the media for information.   Not only was the media incompetent in divulging information responsibly, our varous levels of government were abysmal in organizing a vaccine campaign.

All of which is bad, but could be rendered into something good if lessons were drawn and procedures adjusted. 

 

But they haven't been.

 

 

 

 


jas
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Timebandit wrote:

Actually, it was the reasons given for not taking the vaccine that were based in pseudoscience and based in conspiracy theory that were derided, and rightly so.

Not entirely. I do remember comments from the pro-vaxers/anti-choicers that vaccinations should become mandatory. I do remember jokes from the same about they're all in with "Big Pharma". I do remember the bulk of the debate being about the inappropriate and alarmist use of the term pandemic to describe what were essentially only small, localized outbreaks. So I think your characterization of the debate is largely inaccurate.

And it's interesting you use the term conspiracy theory, because what is it, in fact, right now that we are discussing? Is collusion not conspiracy?


Timebandit
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jas, it's not my fault you're reality-challenged.  But apparently we're to put up with you regardless.


Tigana
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Thanks, contrarianna and all.

Jas wrote,

"I do remember comments from the pro-vaxers/anti-choicers that vaccinations should become mandatory. I do remember jokes from the same about they're all in with "Big Pharma". I do remember the bulk of the debate being about the inappropriate and alarmist use of the term pandemic to describe what were essentially only small, localized outbreaks. So I think your characterization of the debate is largely inaccurate."

Yes, I remember those threads. 

 

The writing was on the wall when bankers - PriceWaterhouseCoopers - chided Pharma for bungling the public's faith in antidepressants and suggested that vaccines were to be the next golden goose. 2007:

http://www.pwc.com/gx/en/pharma-life-sciences/pharma-2020/pharma-2020-vi...

Download without registration here

http://www.choruspharma.com/pharma2020final.pdf

The MSM is carrying this news in Charlotte, NC -  close to a big Eli Lilly base. There will be some unhappy drug marketers at Research Triangle clubs tonight.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Research_Triangle 

 


ennir
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Timebandit wrote:

jas, it's not my fault you're reality-challenged.  But apparently we're to put up with you regardless.

LMAO

You might want to look at that, you took a vaccine that has now been shown to exist only for the profit of big pharma.

I am so glad I did not take the vaccine, I am just ever so grateful for my "paranoid conspiracy based thinking", oh wait there was a conspiracy to defraud us with a vaccine that was useless or was it?  Perhaps it was loaded with some kind of fucked up shit that is going to make everyone who took it sick, of course that is just my paranoid.... lol

 


Maysie
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Hey!

If everyone could dial down the rhetoric and borderline and over-the-borderline personal attacks that would be simply great.

Timebandit, your post at #16 was over the line. Cut it out.

Ennir, your post at #18 was also over the line. Ditto.


Tigana
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From Sept.  2008


Tigana
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http://vaccineresistancemovement.org/?p=4610http%3A%2F%2Fvaccineresistan... World Health Organization & Vaccine Manufacturers Implicated In Massive H1N1 Financial Scam Involving Kickbacks & Cover-ups VRM: World Health Organization & Vaccine Manufacturers Implicated In Massive H1N1 Financial Scam Involving Kickbacks & Cover-ups 6th June 2010 - By Joel Lord A stunning new report reveals that top scientists who convinced the World Health Organization to declare H1N1 a global pandemic held close financial ties to the drug companies that profited from the sale of those vaccines. This report, published in the British Medical Journal, exposes the hidden ties that drove WHO to declare a pandemic, resulting in billions of dollars in profits for vaccine manufacturers. “For WHO, its credibility has been badly damaged. WHO must act now to restore its credibility.” Fiona Godlee, Editor of British Medical Journal (BMJ) “The idea that we declared a pandemic when there wasn’t a pandemic is both historically inaccurate and downright irresponsible,” said WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl in a telephone interview. “There is no doubt that this was a pandemic. To insinuate that this was not a pandemic is very disrespectful to the people who died from it.” WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl http://www.naturalnews.com/028936_WHO_vaccines.htm “Potential conflicts of interest are inherent in any relationship between a normative and health development agency, like WHO, and a profit-driven industry. Similar considerations apply when experts advising the Organization have professional links with pharmaceutical companies. Numerous safeguards are in place to manage possible conflicts of interest or their perception.” WHO SPIN “The problem is not so much that communicating uncertainty is difficult, but that uncertainty was not communicated. There was no scientific basis for the WHO’s estimate of 2 billion for likely H1N1 cases, and we knew little about the benefits and harms of the vaccination. The WHO maintained this 2 billion estimate even after the winter season in Australia and New Zealand showed that only about one to two out of 1000 people were infected. Last but not least, it changed the very definition of a pandemic.” Gerd Gigerenzer, director of the Centre for Adaptive Behaviour and Cognition at the Max Planck Institute in Germany Influenza Pandemic Plan: The Role of WHO and Guidelines for National and Regional Planning http://www.wpro.who.int/NR/rdonlyres/A7C42115-DF0F-48CF-82AF-DDE0D734994... Objectives of Influenza Pandemic Plan: To “take measures to encourage the pharmaceutical industry to plan its vaccine/antivirals production capacity in advance”, to “encourage and support research and development of pandemic vaccine” and to “develop a policy for antiviral stockpiling.” It also added that government representatives needed to know that “influenza vaccination and use of antivirals is beneficial and safe.” It said that the group provided “evidence based, palatable information”; and also “networking/exchange with other stakeholders (eg, with industry in order to establish pandemic vaccine and antivirals contracts). WHO Guidelines on the Use of Vaccines and Antivirals during Influenza Pandemics 2004. The specific guidance on antivirals WHO Guidelines on the Use of Vaccines and Antivirals during Influenza Pandemics 2004. (Section of note: The specific guidance on antivirals, Considerations for the Use of Antivirals During an Influenza Pandemic) http://www.who.int/csr/resources/publications/influenza/11_29_01_A.pdf Scientists on the double dipping payroll include: 1) Dr.René Snacken/Belgian Ministry of Public Health, WHO Division of Viral Diseases (1998), Co-author of ‘Influenza Pandemic Plan: The Role of WHO and Guidelines for National and Regional Planning’ (1999), also funded researcher for Roche (Tamiflu) 2) Dr Daniel Lavanchy/Co-author of ‘Influenza Pandemic Plan: The Role of WHO and Guidelines for National and Regional Planning’ (1999), appeared at a Roche sponsored symposium in 1998 while employed at WHO Division of Viral Diseases. 3) Professor Karl Nicholson/Leicester University, UK, Member of The European Scientific Working Group on Influenza (ESWI) which collaborated with WHO on ‘Influenza Pandemic Plan: The Role of WHO and Guidelines for National and Regional Planning’, co-author of ‘WHO Guidelines on the Use of Vaccines and Antivirals during Influenza Pandemics 2004′ (author of the third annex, Pandemic Influenza), also on Roche pharmaceutical Company Payroll, conducted a randomised controlled trial on oseltamivir (Tamiflu) supported by Roche and also received travel sponsorship and honorariums from GlaxoSmithKline and Roche for consultancy work and speaking at international respiratory and infectious diseases symposiums. 4) Professor Abe Osterhaus/Erasmus University, Netherlands, Member of The European Scientific Working Group on Influenza (ESWI) which collaborated with WHO on ‘Influenza Pandemic Plan: The Role of WHO and Guidelines for National and Regional Planning’, also conducted a randomised controlled trial on oseltamivir (Tamiflu) supported by Roche. 5) Professor Fred Hayden, University of Virginia, co-author of ‘WHO Guidelines on the Use of Vaccines and Antivirals during Influenza Pandemics 2004′ (Section titled ‘The specific guidance on antivirals, Considerations for the Use of Antivirals During an Influenza Pandemic’), was being paid by Roche for lectures and consultancy work for the company at the time the guidance was produced and published, also received payments from GlaxoSmithKline for consultancy and lecturing until 2002. 6) Dr. Arnold Monto, University of Michegan, co-author of ‘WHO Guidelines on the Use of Vaccines and Antivirals during Influenza Pandemics 2004′ (annexe dealing with vaccine usage in pandemics), while simultaneously receiving honorariums, consultancy fees, and research support from Roche, consultancy fees and research support from GlaxoSmithKline ($3000 speakers fees in 2009) and also research funding from ViroPharma. British Medical Journal: Original Article http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/340/jun03_4/c291

Tigana
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ennir
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The link above to the BMJ didn't work for me but the link to the Al Jazeera program worked and thanks, excellent coverage of an issue that needs to be understood as one of the greatest threats to our health and well being that we are facing.

 


remind
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You know this truly sickening, that governments spent billions of tax payer dollars enriching others, and it was quite evident, even to the regular person's eye, that no pandemic was occuring.

Moreover, playing the indignant card is a kick in the face after the slap to the face they gave while enriching themselves.

 


jas
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Joined: Jun 6 2005

Oh, but hey! I heard the pandemic was over now!

Quote:
The World Health Organization has declared that the H1N1 pandemic, which killed more than 0.000003% of the world's population and sparked mass vaccination programs, is over.

Phew! That was a close one!


oldgoat
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Well you can't sell the same pandemic twice, andf it's time to gear up for the new season.  We've had swine flu, avian flu, I woder which species will get the nod for the next one.

 

Golden Retriever flu, now that would sell some vaccine!


ennir
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I think we can forget species, it sounds to me like we have hit colours with blue flu being the first new flu to hit the market.  If you haven't heard of it yet it is named for the colour we turn when we are deprived of oxygen and it is what people in the gulf are calling the sickness that is overtaking them.  Please excuse what is obviously a thread drift as it is not the flu and there is no way to vaccinate someone against poison. 


Tigana
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Vaccine Zombie - tune and animation

http://www.naturalnews.com/vaccine_zombie.html

People are getting wise to Pharma and natural good health is catching on!

 


jrootham
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Joined: Jun 14 2001

The doctor in my last mummer's play could cure the bird flu, the swine flu, and the chimney flu.

 


Tigana
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Joined: Oct 23 2008

jrootham, that's droll :)

But... who can cure such a doctor?

 


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