Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Déjà vu all over again

More than half of the experts who advised the World Health Organisation (WHO) to declare swine flu a "pandemic" are linked to drug-makers that have reaped huge profits from untested vaccines and flu drugs.

This is from the Institute of Science in Society which tells us that eleven of the 20 members of the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) have profited from work done for the pharmaceutical industry or are linked to it through their universities. Many have declared interests in GlaxoSmithKline, the vaccine maker that stands to benefit the most from the pandemic.

At the height of the pandemic scare, UK's Chief Medical Officer warned of up to 65,000 deaths. The death toll now stands at 251; and the UK Government is now trying to offload up to £1 billion worth of unwanted swine flu vaccines.

Among the three UK experts with industrial links is Prof Sir Roy Anderson – of Foot and Mouth fame - rector of Imperial College, London, also non-executive director of GlaxoSmithKline. He received £87,000 for six board meetings in 2008 and £29,000-worth of shares. Since the swine flu outbreak the shares have risen in value by more than 10 percent.

Earlier, we are told, a Danish newspaper revealed, through the Danish Freedom of Information Act, that Prof Juhani Eskola of SAGE and director of the Finnish research vaccine programme THL received nearly €6.3 million in 2009 for his research centre from GlaxoSmithKline, which was not declared on the WHO website. Seven other WHO experts have ties to the pharmaceutical industry, most of them not declared on the WHO website.

One member of SAGE, Dr. Albert Osterhaus at Erasmus University Rotterdam in The Netherlands, heads the European Scientists Fighting Influenza, and is financed by Baxter, Crucell, Novartis, Hoffmann-La Roche, MedImmune, Nobilon, Sanofi Pasteur, MSD, Glaxo SmithKline and Solvay. He was under investigation for gross conflict of interest, which dates back to the earlier bird flu scare.

And there we have another classic example of the nexus between "science", government and international organisations – especially the UN. Anyone who thinks the climate change industry is any different is in the land of the fairies. With global warming, as with any other scare, follow the money.