WHO scaremongering for Big Pharma
Developing countries fear UN body is only interested in padding pharmaceutical pocketbooks
August 23, 2007
As an article from BBC News makes clear, the report comes whilst the WHO is attempting to pressure Indonesia into providing H5N1 samples from its recent bird flu outbreak. According to the BBC report, "Jakarta has refused to share its samples with the WHO amid fears that pharmaceutical companies will use them to make vaccines that are too expensive for Indonesia." The issue is not a trivial one; the WHO went out of its way yesterday to reaffirm that Tamiflu is the only antiviral strongly recommended for treatment of H5N1 infected patients by the WHO. Tamiflu is a brand name drug which is commonly thought to belong to Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche, but the intellectual property rights for the drug actually go back to an American company, Gilead Sciences Inc., whose former chairman just happens to be Donald Rumsfeld, the ex-Secretary of Defense in the Bush administration. Jakarta, meanwhile, has just announced plans to jointly develop its own bird flu vaccine with the assistance of the Japanese government.
Indonesia's concerns over the WHO's intentions are certainly not misplaced. Aside from the WHO's fronting for Rumsfeld's Tamiflu, their negligence in a recent African drug study led to women being given an experimental anti-Aids gel which actually made them more vulnerable to Aids. What's more, the WHO report's scaremongering over the H5N1 bird flu is put into perspective by a report in the Journal of Virology just two days ago that found the current H5N1 strain is still numerous mutations away from anything resembling an epidemic threat. The WHO fails to mention this study in its report.