Denying charges of being hand in glove with pharmaceutical companies to fuel the H1N1 scare, the WHO has said it has numerous safeguards in place to manage influence by the profit-driven pharmaceutical industry on its expert group of advisors.
The world body has said alerts regarding the spread of H1N1 virus were issued by an Experts Committee, the members of which are drawn from a roster of about 160 experts covering a range of public health areas.
“The experts sign a confidentiality agreement and provide a declaration that details professional or financial interests that could compromise the impartiality of their advice. Procedures are in place for identifying, investigating and assessing potential conflicts of interest, disclosing them, and taking appropriate action such as excluding an expert from participating in a meeting,” the world body said.
According to international media reports, the H1N1 scare was exaggerated to benefit pharma companies. The reports alleged that several members of the World Helath Organization vaccine board who pushed countries to buy the H1N1 vaccine had significant ties with the pharma companies.
The WHO in a statement said, “All members of the Emergency Committee sign a confidentiality agreement, provide a declaration of interests, and agree to give their consultative time freely, without compensation.”