The outbreak of H1N1 was falsely exaggerated by pharmaceutical industries to create a huge market for vaccines, says a leading Australian expert has said.
According to The Sun, Wolfgang Wodarg, head of health at the Council of Europe, insists that major firms organised a "campaign of panic" to put pressure on the World Health Organisation (WHO) to declare a pandemic.
AdvertisementWodarg has also called for an inquiry into what he calls a "medical scandal".
In an interview with France's L'Humanite, Dr Wodarg also raised concerns about the swift release of swine flu vaccines.
"The vaccines were developed too quickly. Some ingredients were insufficiently tested," News.com.au quoted Wodarg as saying.
However Australia's Chief Medical Officer, Professor Jim Bishop, has strongly discarded the accusations.
"The recognition and declaration of a pandemic by the World Health Organization occurred in response to cases and deaths in Mexico and the USA not because of drug companies input or influence," said Bishop.
He also refuted Wodarg's claims that swine flu: "Was a normal kind of flu. It does not cause a tenth of deaths caused by the classic seasonal flu."
"Swine flu is similar to ordinary flu but with some dangerous differences," said Bishop.
"Swine flu affected a much younger age group."
Bishop also says that the development of a swine flu vaccine was not rushed.
"In Australia the vaccine has gone through a rigorous safety assessment by the Therapeutic Goods Administration," he said.
"The safety profile of the Australian CSL vaccine is very well established from clinical trials and world wide use with millions of doses being safely administered," he added.
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