World Health Organization embroiled in swine flu kickback scandal

The World Health Organization (WHO) is again in the spotlight and being accused of accepting kickbacks from the pharmaceutical industry. In return for monetary compensation, the WHO had to issue an H1N1 or “swine flu” pandemic worldwide.

The Health Advisory Board of the WHO made the decision to issue a worldwide statement, declaring the H1N1 threat a pandemic and encouraging countries to stockpile vaccines to protect the population from contact or aerosol contamination.

The vaccine, available since 2009, is made by CSL, Ltd, Melbourne, Sanofi-Aventis, Paris, Astra-Zeneca, London and Novartis, Basel. All companies promised financial kickbacks after a pandemic was officially declared by the WHO resulting in multi billion dollar gains for the pharmaceutical companies.

The scheme was first reported by the British Medical Journal in 2009 and later confirmed by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism but did not receive a lot of exposure until yesterday when the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) endorsed the conclusions of its Health Committee.

The conclusions from the committee stated that “the handling by the WHO of the H1N1 pandemic led to a waste of large sums of public money and unjustified scares and fears about health risks faced by the European public”.

The scheme, as set up by the WHO’s Health Advisory Board was a five step process. First they exaggerated the risk, they urged countries to stockpile, vaccine producers collected the cash, the board members cashed in the kickbacks and the WHO kept everybody afraid.

Secretary General of the WHO, Dr. Margaret Chan, was asked to release the names of all the members of her advisory board but insisted that the secrecy was crucial to protect the integrity and independence of the work the board members perform.

The pharmaceutical industry has a very big influence on the World Health Organization, an independent UN agency, whose reputation has been tarnished in light of the scandal.

Written by Nick Doms © 2010, all rights reserved