Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010
With one scientist alleging a World Health Organization ‘conspiracy’ that was a bonanza for drug firms, Mark Honigsbaum asks if H1N1 could have been handled differently.
It’s been a good week for drug companies and an even better one for conspiracy theorists. Last Tuesday, angered by the bumper rise in profits being reported by vaccine manufacturers as the incidence of swine flu plummets, the former head of health at the Council for Europe accused the World Health Organization of “faking” the pandemic.
“It looks like the WHO is under the influence of industry,” Dr Wolfgang Wodarg told a hearing in Strasbourg. “It was stated in panic-stricken terms that this was a flu that could threaten humanity. This is why billions of medications were bought.”
Exhibit number one, says Dr Wodarg, is the WHO’s decision to soften its definition of a pandemic last April, shortly before the emergence of the H1N1 virus. By eliminating the requirement that influenza pandemics should cause “enormous morbidity and death”, the WHO provoked an unnecessary “scare” that conveniently triggered the activation of “sleeping” contracts with vaccine manufacturers. Yet since the WHO’s declaration of a pandemic in June, swine flu has caused just 14,000 deaths worldwide â€“ a fraction of the number who die from seasonal flu every year. This month, the Department of Health reported that cases had fallen to such a low rate that it was cancelling its weekly press briefings.
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This article was posted: Tuesday, February 2, 2010 at 11:04 am