Thursday, January 7, 2010

Can The World Trust WHO?

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WHO Advisor Secretly Pads Pockets with Big Pharma Money
In Finland, sits a state employee researcher with a problem.

It did begin well. This year Professor Juhani Eskolas vaccine research program got 47 million dollars for research into pneumococcal vaccine from the danish medical manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline. The largest single contribution the professor's institution has received in 2009.

But then came the press, and then came the Finnish Minister of Health with wagging fingers, and now sits Finnish professor suddenly in a national conflict of interest.

Juhani Eskola is also an advisor to WHO's so-called SAGE group.
And it means something when you get 47 million dollars of industry. And he do not disclose it.

Since November, the danish newspaper Information described seven WHO experts who have either secondary job as consultants for the pharmaceutical industry or get their research funded by the pharmaceutical industry. The same experts who counseled the WHO General Margaret Chan as she 11th June this year declared that the world stood in the middle of an H1N1 pandemic. Immediately a long series of dormant contracts between member countries and pharmaceutical companies went into force. Production of vaccines to 55 billion kroner (around 1 billion dollar) started.

But when the person shouting "alarm", also has economic interests in emergency preparedness, the public should know.

No human is immune. Nor are scientists who say they are.

On the contrary, numerous studies show that scientists, doctors and healthcare professionals are affected by pharmaceutical companies' influence. According to Glasgow University's Robertson Center for Biostatistics uses pharmaceutical industry average of 800,000 dollars a year on direct marketing per doctor. Therefore appeal the international NGO, NoFreeLunch, all in the health service to submit a credible promise to withstand extensive pharmaceutical industry marketing. When the marketing goes from being a cup with a logo or a golf tour to be 47 million dollars to the Foundation, you work for , may require a man to resist the messages that come with the amount from danish GlaxoSmithKline. Since danish GlaxoSmithKline today is a supplier of the vaccine Pandemrix in the Finnish population, the story of the secret million payment created furor in Finland. There is no proven link between GlaxoSmithKline's research and the choice of the same company as the supplier of H1N1 vaccine.

But the point is that we can not know.

Then arises the next problem in the wake of the Finnish researcher conflicts of interest, namely the lack of transparency in the WHO. Today danish newspaper Information brings the story of WHO's secret advisory committee, called the Emergency Committee, where 18 members names, background and work is completely hidden.

This secret committee reports directly to Secretary-General Margaret Chan, and therefore they were like SAGE group to decide when pandemic preparedness to enter into force.

According to WHO, the Committee is secret because experts could then come under pressure.

It creates two new problems.

Firstly, we do not recognize who actually advises world health most powerful person.

Second is the logical consequence of the argument that the rest of the WHO teams need experience to be under pressure when they make decisions.

Openness is the basis for democratic governance.

The public should know how the political decisions develop. We know from studies that lack of transparency is proportional to a high level of corruption. And it is logical that public confidence in governments and public institutions is falling in line with revelations of corruption and concealment of information.

On 7 April 1948 WHO was created to ensure international public health. WHO was created to prevent illness and save lives, and all knowledge of the international community that can contribute to the aim must be desirable. But WHO's work is dependent on governments and people trust their recommendations. And confidence to the people who are employed by WHO, acting in the public health, and only the interest of public health.

Informations relating to the worlds citizens, life and health should be freely available, like the names of all the stakeholders that affect WHO's decisions should be published. To assure the highest integrity, and hence public confidence, in its activities, WHO policies require that all experts serving in an advisory role agree to disclose any circumstances which could give rise to a potential conflict of interest (i.e., any interest which may affect, or may reasonably be perceived to affect, the expert's objectivity and independence).

A Finnish professors problem becomes our problem until governments require that WHO fully reveals the experts they hired, the decisions that are taken and the arguments behind those decisions.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Above text was published Dec. 10 2009
[is translated] and originally released
in a Danish newspaper.
Several other WHO experts also have
financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry!

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