WHO Exaggerated H1N1 Flu Problems, After Consulting With Consultants Working For Pharmaceutical Firms

from the regulatory-capture dept

The deeper you look at the pharmaceutical industry, the more and more ridiculous it seems. Pharma has abused patent laws greatly for many years (even though many of the roots of the industry come from areas that refused to allow patents on drugs... until some companies got too big and wanted to limit competition). The latest news is that the World Health Organization apparently has been dinged for exaggerating the H1N1 flu threat... in part because they relied on pharmaceutical industry insiders for information. Guess what they suggested? Stockpiling a limited supply of super expensive pharmaceuticals, which were so super expensive thanks to patents limiting competition. Part of the issue is that the goals of the pharma industry are not at all aligned with basic public policy on health care. The incentive structure is entirely screwed up. Pharma has no interest in making sure people are healthy, but because sometimes its drugs happen to do that, as a side effect of making money for the industry, officials falsely believe that pharma execs should have some sort of say in public health policy.

Filed Under: h1n1, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, who
Companies: who

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  1. identicon
    VX, 10 Jun 2010 @ 9:15am

    Swine Flu is not Y2K

    Y2K could have been a huge disaster, anyone who thinks Y2K was fake is comepletely clueless. There were millions of programmers dedicated to just fixing Y2K noncompliant code well before Y2K was even in the news. If this work had not been Jan 1, 2000 would have probably seen a very large economic downturn as utilities would have shut down, billing systems would crash, and any number of other horrible problems causing people to cash out their stocks.

    Conversely, I know a lot of people who got the swine flu, including me, and it was a lot like the normal flu. For what it's worth, none of them died. Many more people died from the normal flu than swine flu. Many more people died from car accidents, heart disease, and cancer than swine flu. The swine flu certainly had the potential to kill, but the danger was mostly to babies and the elderly (who are always in danger of dying from the regular flu as well as many other things that are not normally life threatening. Those people were vaccinated and everything went ok.

    If anything this reminded me of the SARS issue a few years ago. I think most people hit the nail on the head when they say that it turned out to be no big deal. They say this because they know people who had SARS/H1N1 and it wasn't a huge problem, not just because the epidemic was avoided. Instead of instigating a nationwide panic the WHO should have got the word out to vaccinate small children, the elderly, and people with immune system issues. Then, if there was vaccine left use it for people who work in the medical industry, and then the rest of us.

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