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European Parliament Censures World Health Organisation Over the Swine Flu Fiasco but Continues to Swallow False Figures on Seasonal Flu

Cormant2BNPS_800x611 By John Stone

The Environment Committee of the European Parliament has questioned the influence pharmaceutical industry in the light of the swine flu fiasco. A press release from the parliament reports:

“Michèle Rivasi (Greens/EFA, FR), who drafted the report and resolution for the Environment Committee, commented  "This report is an important attempt to highlight the concerns that have been raised about the disproportionate response to swine flu in Europe, as well as the potential influence of pharmaceutical companies in response processes."”

And goes on to  state:

“Assessments of and communication about flu outbreaks must be more independent, says the resolution.  Safeguards are needed to prevent conflicts of interest. For example, declarations of interest by experts who advise European health authorities should be published. And under EU legislation, full liability for vaccines must lie with the manufacturer, not with Member States.”

The committee is to ask the World Health Organisation:

“to review its definition of a "pandemic", to take into account the severity of the illness, not only the spread of a virus. To buttress the EU's own risk assessment capacity, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control should be equipped to assess risks independently as well as perform its other tasks, say MEPs.”

While the new spirit of political scepticism in relation to WHO and health officials is to be welcomed the committee continues to fall into the trap of believing in false estimates of seasonal flu deaths.  The press release states:

“H1N1 had caused 2,900 deaths in Europe by April 2010, which compares with 40,000 for seasonal flu in a moderate year.”

However, a post on BMJ late Christmas Eve 2009 by the UK’s Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson revealed that there had only been 131 deaths from flu in the UK over the previous 4 years – in fact there have been more deaths from H1N1, although still not a statistically high risk. The UK Health Protection Agency have made spurious claims about flu deaths calculated on the basis of above average excess winter mortality (i.e. in years – presumably about half – in which excess winter mortality is above average the additional deaths are attributed to flu) (HERE ). The truth is that the 40,000 annual deaths from flu in the EU is probably an over-estimate of approximately 100 times. Of course, leading British officials who advised the WHO over swine flu and sit on its Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) include the Department of Health’s own Prof David Salisbury (HERE) and Prof Elizabeth Miller from the HPA (HERE ). It will not be a surprise that British Government officials advise the WHO and the WHO advise the British Government officials. It will also not be a surprise that an “independent report” commissioned by the WHO into its handling of the swine flu episode is now reported by Reuters to have exonerated it over industry influence (HERE). A report in the Daily Mail in January 2010 mentioned that 11 of the 20 member SAGE group were affiliated to the industry. It is not clear whether this included Prof Miller whose laboratory has traditionally been heavily funded by vaccine makers (HERE ).

John Stone is UK Editor for Age of Autism.

Comments

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Sarah

Pandemics, of course, drive demand for vaccine. It's all about $$$ under the guise of protecting public health. The bad news for pharma is that in the US at least, people are onto this game. Expect more flu "pandemics" to be announced by the WHO in the years to come, pharma according to market reports are expecting huge profits over the next decade.

One needs only to follow the vaccine industry market reports to see the trends to see that pandemics and the demand for vaccine are investor driven not as an actual health threat.


read:

Influenza Vaccine Market Set for Stupendous Growth by 2012

http://www.free-press-release.com/news-influenza-vaccine-market-set-for-stupendous-growth-by-2012-1268200101.html

Influenza Vaccine Market Outlook 2010-2020

"The influenza vaccines market is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the global pharmaceutical industry, generating multi-billion dollar revenues currently. The re-emergence of influenza as a pandemic threat this decade has stimulated this market area greatly, with vaccines coming back to the fore in healthcare worldwide. Our new pharma report - Influenza Vaccine Market Outlook 2010-2020 - explains how that market area will develop and where the main commercial opportunities will lie."

http://www.visiongain.com/Report/433/Influenza-Vaccine-Market-Outlook-2010-2020

Jack Hep

The WHO ought also to have to account for the fact that the very policy of vaccinating against flu may be corrupt. It is now widely suspected that annual flu jabs INCREASE the danger of contracting a novel strain of flu, as was seen in several countries where seasonal flu vaccination INCREASED susceptibility to developing swine flu whereas a natural flu infection (most of which are relatively mild and without sequellae) PROTECTED against swine flu.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/rethink-flu-vaccine-policy-says-health-expert/story-e6frg6nf-1226015538824

JenB

Thank you for another smoke clearing synopsis. The early hyping of H1N1 did seem to be pretty effective in frightening people around me, but I'm not sure what happened when the vaccine was brought out. It's kind of like they violently shook the "pandemic" bush, proclaiming a wolf, and the creature that ran out looked more like a squirrel or a badger or something. But few have thought to question whether a wolf lurks inside the bush marked "seasonal flu."

This news story is straying off topic perhaps (perhaps not), but interesting especially since the U.S. reportedly spends more on "healthcare" than European countries.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-20041802-10391704.html?tag=cbsnewsSectionContent.9

Compared with Brits, Americans have higher rates of many chronic medical problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and asthma, a new study shows. What's more, obesity and high cholesterol are less common in England than in the U.S., according to the study of nearly 40,000 Americans and 70,000 Brits, published in the March issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Among young men, heart attacks are more common in the U.S. than in England, the study showed. And American women of all ages have higher blood pressure and more heart attacks and strokes than their counterparts in England.

How did British docs react to the news? The study's lead author relayed their blunt assessment.

"They were saying, 'The U.S. must be doing really bad because they're worse than us, and we're worse than the rest of the European countries,'"Dr. Melissa Martinson, a research associate at Princeton University, told HealthDay.

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