Chan Denies Pharma Influence As WHO Review ProceedsPublished on 28 September 2010 @ 7:46 pm
Intellectual Property Watch
“Never did I see a shred of evidence that financial profits for industry, as opposed to epidemiological and virological data, influenced WHO decisions” on a recent H1N1, or “swine flu” pandemic, World Health Organization Director General Margaret Chan said in opening remarks to the International Health Regulations Review Committee.
She promised to make available all the WHO’s records of its work during the pandemic.
“To some, response measures now look excessive compared with the moderate impact of the pandemic,” but had the “virus turned more lethal, we would be under scrutiny for having failed to protect large numbers of people,” Chan said. She added that vaccine supplies had come “too little, too late” and that much of the developing world had been left “almost entirely unprotected.”
“I personally do not believe that WHO exaggerated the threat,” she said.
The IHR Review Committee is meeting from 27-29 September to continue a review process begun in March to evaluate its efforts during the recent pandemic. The last meeting of the IHR was in July (IPW, WHO, 7 July 2010). Since then, the pandemic has been declared over and for the first time the names of the members of the WHO emergency committee which declared the pandemic have been released (IPW, WHO, 10 August 2010), showing some of the members had ties to industry.
Those most critical of the WHO’s behaviour during the pandemic had decried the WHO’s hiding of these names, saying it could have concealed conflicts of interest in its decision-making process. WHO argued that keeping the experts secret protected them from outside influence.
The full text of Chan’s prepared remarks is available here.