Posted: December 07, 20099:53 pm Eastern
By Chelsea Schilling Â© 2009 WorldNetDaily
World Health Organization scientists are suspected of accepting secret bribes from vaccine manufacturers to influence the U.N. organization's H1N1 pandemic declaration, according to Danish and Swedish newspapers.
Meanwhile, pharmaceutical profits from swine-flu related drugs have soared â€“ with earnings between $10 billion and $15 billion in 2009, investment bank JP Morgan estimates.
As WND reported, the WHO Director General Margaret Chan initially raised the influenza pandemic alert to its second highest level in May â€“ but evidence reveals the agency may have made it easier to classify the flu outbreak as a pandemic by changing its definition to omit "enormous numbers of deaths and illness" just prior to making its declaration.
The world was gripped with fears of swine flu as the alert increased from Phase 5 to Phase 6, the highest level. Immediately, pharmaceutical companies began working to develop vaccines, and countries tailored their responses to address the situation.
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Danish newspaper Information reported that when Chan raised the level of pandemic alert on June 11, the declaration meant substantial economic benefits for the pharmaceutical industry â€“ especially since many countries have contracts with major drug companies and are required to purchase vaccines in the event of a pandemic. Swedish newspaper SvD echoed Information's report.
"Many of the apparently impartial researchers the WHO uses, however, are paid by the companies that produce vaccines," states a translated version of the Information article, "Strong lobbying behind WHO resolution on mass vaccination."
One expert in a WHO H1N1 advisory group, Dr. Albert Osterhaus, has been subject to a Dutch government investigation. The government convened a crisis meeting after an article in Science magazine indicated that Osterhaus has financial interests in several pharmaceutical companies.
Osterhaus, known as "Dr. Flu," is the head of the department of virology at the Erasmus MC, University of Rotterdam. According to a European Commission Research website, Osterhaus is co-founder of two biotech companies and promotes vaccines as solutions for pandemics.
Another expert who advises WHO on vaccines, Dr. Frederick Hayden, is described as a flu-research coordinator from the Wellcome Trust in London.
However, according to the report, Hayden also serves as a "paid adviser" for pharmaceutical companies Roche, RW Johnson, SmithKline Beecham and Glaxo Wellcome.
WHO expert Dr. Arnold Monto is also purportedly a paid consultant for MedImmune (a company that produces nasal flu vaccine), Glaxo Wellcome and ViroPharma. However, WHO's Strategize Advisory Group of Experts, or SAGE, never divulged those ties, according to the report.
The newspaper also states that numerous pharmaceutical companies maintain an active presence during WHO advisory group meetings, with representatives listed as "observers."
Professor Tom Jefferson, epidemiologist at the Cochrane Center in Rome, told Information he believes the researchers' dual roles are problematic, and he noted the WHO's emphasis on drugs rather than proper hygiene habits.
"The WHO's latest recommendation on the control of pandemic influenza has frequent washing of hands mentioned twice," he said. "Vaccines and antivirals are, however, mentioned 24 and 18 times. Why would an international public health agency focus on much more expensive interventions, such as vaccines and medication, when it is not proven that they work?"
Jefferson said washing ones hands is the only proven method of flu prevention.
Wolf Dieter Ludwig, head of drug commission of the German Medical Association, told Der Spiegel he has no doubt pharmaceutical companies have been seeking to capitalize off what he called a "non-existent threat."