WHO responds to claims it created a hoax to boost drug sales

The World Health Organisation denied allegations that it created a “fake” pandemic to bring economic benefit to the pharmaceutical industry.

Officials from the WHO claimed the allegations were “scientifically wrong”. “The WHO influenza pandemic policies and response have not been improperly influenced by the pharmaceutical industry,” it said in a statement.

Wolfgang Wodarg, Chairman of the Health Committee at the Council of Europe, said that the WHO had exaggerated the pandemic under pressure from pharmaceutical lobbies, according to reports.

The WHO said that although it accepts advice from the private sector it takes its independent advisor role seriously and “guards against the influence of any improper interests”.

“The world is going through a real pandemic. The description of it as a fake is wrong and irresponsible. We welcome any legitimate review process that can improve our work, continued the statement.

The WHO listed a number of reasons why it issued the pandemic warning, these are given in full below:

Lab analyses showed that this influenza virus was genetically and antigenically very different from other influenza viruses circulating among people.

Epidemiological information provided by Mexico, the US and Canada demonstrated person-to-person transmission.

Clinical information, especially from Mexico, indicated this virus also could cause severe disease and death. At the time, those reports did not indicate a pandemic situation, but taken together sent a very strong warning to WHO and other public health authorities to be ready for one.

As the pandemic evolved, clinicians identified a very severe form of primary viral pneumonia, which was rapidly progressive and frequently fatal, that is not part of the disease pattern seen during seasonal influenza. While these cases were relatively rare, they imposed a heavy burden on intensive care units.

Geographical spread was exceptionally rapid.
On 29 April 2009, WHO reported lab confirmed cases in 9 countries.

About 6 weeks later, on 11 June, WHO reported cases in 74 countries and territories in more than two WHO regions. It is this global spread which led WHO to call for increasing phases and finally, to announce that a pandemic was underway.
By 1 July, infections had been confirmed in 120 countries and territories.