Medindia

X

Medical Journal Condemns WHO Advisors' Ties to Roche, Glaxo

by VR Sreeraman on  June 4, 2010 at 6:27 PM General Health News   - G J E 4
The World Health Organisation's handling of the swine flu pandemic was deeply marred by secrecy and conflict of interest with drug companies, a top medical journal said on Friday.
  • The BMJ says guidelines on the use of antiviral drugs were prepared by experts who took fees from makers of the drugs
  • The BMJ says the WHO’s handling of the swine flu pandemic was deeply marred by secrecy and conflict of interest
Ss
Advertisement

The British Medical Journal (BMJ) found that WHO guidelines on the use of antiviral drugs were prepared by experts who had received consulting fees from the top two manufacturers of these drugs, Roche and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

Advertisement
In apparent violation of its own rules, the WHO did not publicly disclose these conflicts when the guidelines were drawn up in 2004, according to the report, jointly authored by the London-based non-profit Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

The WHO's advice led governments worldwide to stockpile vast quantities of antivirals, and its decision to declare a pandemic in June 2009 triggered the purchase of billion of dollars worth of hastily manufactured vaccines.

Much of these stocks have gone unused because the pandemic turned out to be far less lethal than some experts feared, fueling suspicion that Big Pharma exerted undue influence on WHO decisions.

The report also reveals that at least one expert on the secret, 16-member "emergency committee" formed last year to advise the WHO on whether and when to declare a pandemic received payment during 2009 from GSK.

Announcing that swine flu had become a global pandemic automatically triggered latent contracts for vaccine manufacture with half-a-dozen major pharmaceutical companies, including GSK.

The WHO has refused to identify committee members, arguing that they must be shielded from industry pressure.

"The WHO's credibility has been badly damaged," BMJ editor Fiona Godlee said in an editorial.

To repair that damage, the global health body must reveal the membership and any conflicts of interest of its emergency committee, and develop "stricter rules of engagement with industry that keep commercial influence away from its decision making," she said.

Source: AFP
Advertisement

Post your Comments

Comments should be on the topic and should not be abusive. The editorial team reserves the right to review and moderate the comments posted on the site.
User Avatar
* Your comment can be maximum of 2500 characters
Notify me when reply is posted I agree to the terms and conditions

You May Also Like

Advertisement
View All