A stunning new report reveals that top scientists who convinced the World Health Organization to declare H1N1 a global pandemic held close financial ties to the drug companies that profited from the sale of those vaccines. This report, published in the British Medical Journal, exposes the hidden ties that drove WHO to declare a pandemic, resulting in billions of dollars in profits for vaccine manufacturers.
“For WHO, its credibility has been badly damaged. WHO must act now to restore its credibility.” Fiona Godlee, Editor of British Medical Journal (BMJ)
“The idea that we declared a pandemic when there wasn’t a pandemic is both historically inaccurate and downright irresponsible,” said WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl in a telephone interview. “There is no doubt that this was a pandemic. To insinuate that this was not a pandemic is very disrespectful to the people who died from it.” WHO – Gregory Hartl
“Potential conflicts of interest are inherent in any relationship between a normative and health development agency,like WHO, and a profit-driven industry. Similar considerations apply when experts advising the Organization have professional links with pharmaceutical companies. Numerous safeguards are in place to manage possible conflicts of interest or their perception.” WHO spin
“The problem is not so much that communicating uncertainty is difficult, but that uncertainty was not communicated. There was no scientific basis for the WHO’s estimate of 2 billion for likely H1N1 cases, and we knew little about the benefits and harms of the vaccination. The WHO maintained this 2 billion estimate even after the winter season in Australia and New Zealand showed that only about one to two out of 1000 people were infected. Last but not least, it changed the very definition of a pandemic.” Gerd Gigerenzer, director of the Centre for Adaptive Behaviour and Cognition at the Max Planck Institute in Germany
Influenza Pandemic Plan: The Role of WHO and Guidelines for National and Regional Planning
Objectives of Influenza Pandemic Plan: To “take measures to encourage the pharmaceutical industry to plan its vaccine/antivirals production capacity in advance”, to “encourage and support research and development of pandemic vaccine” and to “develop a policy for antiviral stockpiling.” It also added that government representatives needed to know that “influenza vaccination and use of antivirals is beneficial and safe.” It said that the group provided “evidence based, palatable information”; and also “networking/exchange with other stakeholders (eg, with industry in order to establish pandemic vaccine and antivirals contracts).
WHO Guidelines on the Use of Vaccines and Antivirals during Influenza Pandemics 2004. The specific guidance on antivirals WHO Guidelines on the Use of Vaccines and Antivirals during Influenza Pandemics 2004. (Section of note: The specific guidance on antivirals, Considerations for the Use of Antivirals During an Influenza Pandemic)
Scientists on the double dipping payroll include:
1) Dr.René Snacken/Belgian Ministry of Public Health, WHO Division of Viral Diseases (1998), Co-author of ‘Influenza Pandemic Plan: The Role of WHO and Guidelines for National and Regional Planning’ (1999), also funded researcher for Roche (Tamiflu)
2) Dr Daniel Lavanchy/Co-author of ‘Influenza Pandemic Plan: The Role of WHO and Guidelines for National and Regional Planning’ (1999), appeared at a Roche sponsored symposium in 1998 while employed at WHO Division of Viral Diseases.
3) Professor Karl Nicholson/Leicester University, UK, Member of The European Scientific Working Group on Influenza (ESWI) which collaborated with WHO on ‘Influenza Pandemic Plan: The Role of WHO and Guidelines for National and Regional Planning’, co-author of ‘WHO Guidelines on the Use of Vaccines and Antivirals during Influenza Pandemics 2004’ (author of the third annex, Pandemic Influenza), also on Roche pharmaceutical Company Payroll, conducted a randomised controlled trial on oseltamivir (Tamiflu) supported by Roche and also received travel sponsorship and honorariums from GlaxoSmithKline and Roche for consultancy work and speaking at international respiratory and infectious diseases symposiums.
4) Professor Abe Osterhaus/Erasmus University, Netherlands, Member of The European Scientific Working Group on Influenza (ESWI) which collaborated with WHO on ‘Influenza Pandemic Plan: The Role of WHO and Guidelines for National and Regional Planning’, also conducted a randomised controlled trial on oseltamivir (Tamiflu) supported by Roche.
5) Professor Fred Hayden, University of Virginia, co-author of ‘WHO Guidelines on the Use of Vaccines and Antivirals during Influenza Pandemics 2004’ (Section titled ‘The specific guidance on antivirals, Considerations for the Use of Antivirals During an Influenza Pandemic’), was being paid by Roche for lectures and consultancy work for the company at the time the guidance was produced and published, also received payments from GlaxoSmithKline for consultancy and lecturing until 2002.
6) Dr. Arnold Monto, University of Michegan, co-author of ‘WHO Guidelines on the Use of Vaccines and Antivirals during Influenza Pandemics 2004’ (annexe dealing with vaccine usage in pandemics), while simultaneously receiving honorariums, consultancy fees, and research support from Roche, consultancy fees and research support from GlaxoSmithKline ($3000 speakers fees in 2009) and also research funding from ViroPharma.
British Medical Journal: Original Article
UPDATE: Under increasing pressure from recent investigations into their scandalous conduct the WHO have reluctantly released the complete ‘List of Members of, and Advisor to, the International Health Regulations (2005) Emergency Committee concerning Influenza Pandemic (H1N1) 2009’. It further strengthens the merits of the BMJ report. Scientists on the Committee with admitted financial ties to pharmaceutical companies include:
1) Arnold Monto, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, has declared current and past consultancies in the field of pandemic and/or seasonal influenza for GSK, Novartis, Roche, Baxter and Sanofi. The remuneration for each of these consultancies is below US$10 000. In addition, his research unit at the University of Michigan has received a grant from Sanofi Pasteur for a clinical trial conducted in 2007-2008 on the comparative efficacy of inactivated and live attenuated influenza vaccines.
2) John Wood, a principal scientist in the virology division of the UK’s National Institute for Biological Standards and Control, has performed contract research for Sanofi Pasteur, CSL, IFPMA, Novartis and Powdermed in the field of influenza vaccine research and development.
3) Maria Zambon, who heads the respiratory virus unit in the virus reference department at the Health Protection Agency, Centre for Infection in London, receives funding from vaccine manufacturers, including Sanofi, Novartis, CSL, Baxter and GSK, for contract work in her laboratory.
4) Neil Morris Ferguson, a chair in mathematical biology in the department of infectious disease epidemiology at the Imperial College Faculty of Medicine in London, has acted as a consultant for Roche and GSK Biologicals (ceasing in 2007), with total remuneration from all such work being under US$7 000 in 2007.
5) Nancy Cox, the director of the influenza division at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, disclosed that her public health and surveillance research unit at the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) receives financial support from IFPMA for activities of CDC as a WHO Collaborating Centre in the field of influenza vaccine research and virus isolation work.
The WHO have issued a measured statement in conjunction with this release; deflecting attention away from the obvious conflicts of interest while back-peddling away from any further investigation into suspicious corporate alliances: “The interests summarized above do not give rise to a conflict of interest such that the experts concerned should be partially or totally excluded from participation in the Emergency Committee. However, following WHO’s policy, they were disclosed within the Committee so that other members were aware of them. All other Members of the Emergency Committee declared no relevant interests.”
WATCH THE REVOLVING DOOR – Former head of the CDC, Julie Gerberding, is the current president of Merck vaccines. ‘Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE: MRK) today announced that Dr. Julie Gerberding has been named president of Merck Vaccines, effective January 25, 2010. Dr. Gerberding led the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as director from 2002 to 2009’.
For years the WHO had defined pandemics as outbreaks causing “enormous numbers of deaths and illness” but in early May 2009 it removed this phrase—describing a measure of severity—from the definition.
DEFINITION OF PANDEMIC (before May 2009) – “An influenza pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus appears against which the human population has no immunity, resulting in several, simultaneous epidemics worldwide with enormous numbers of deaths and illness. With the increase in global transport and communications, as well as urbanization and overcrowded conditions, epidemics due the new influenza virus are likely to quickly take hold around the world.”
DEFINITION OF A PANDEMIC (after May 2009) – “A disease epidemic occurs when there are more cases of that disease than normal. A pandemic is a worldwide epidemic of a disease. An influenza pandemic may occur when a new influenza virus appears against which the human population has no immunity. With the increase in global transport, as well as urbanization and overcrowded conditions in some areas, epidemics due to a new influenza virus are likely to take hold around the world, and become a pandemic faster than before. WHO has defined the phases of a pandemic to provide a global framework to aid countries in pandemic preparedness and response planning. Pandemics can be either mild or severe in the illness and death they cause, and the severity of a pandemic can change over the course of that pandemic.”
“A defining characteristic of a pandemic is the almost universal vulnerability of the world’s population to infection. Not all people become infected, but nearly all people are at risk.” Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General/WHO
PANDEMIC UPDATE (08/10/10) “The world is no longer in phase 6 of influenza pandemic alert. We are now moving into the post-pandemic period. The new H1N1 virus has largely run its course. Based on experience with past pandemics, we expect the H1N1 virus to take on the behaviour of a seasonal influenza virus and continue to circulate for some years to come.” Dr Margaret Chan/Director-General of WHO (08/10/10)
“The recommendation to put the pandemic virus in the upcoming vaccine really means that this has been a dominant virus, and it is expected that it will continue to be a very significant virus circulating around the world. At this point, we have to say that the pandemic is not over.” Keiji Fukuda, MD, MPH, special adviser to the WHO
SWINE FLU VIRUS TO REPLACE SEASONAL SHOT ‘Based on the analyses it is expected that A (H1N1) pandaemic 2009, A (H3N2) and B viruses will co-circulate in the northern hemisphere 2010-2011 with the likelihood that the pandemic A (H1N1) 2009 viruses will predominate. Based on recent epidemiological evidence it is anticipated that seasonal A (H1N1) viruses are not likely to circulate at significant levels during the 2010-2011 northern hemisphere season; hence it has not been recommended for inclusion in the 2010-2011 vaccine.’
Recommended viruses to be used for 2010-2011:
1) A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)-like virus
2) A/Perth/16/2009 (H3N2)-like virus
3) B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus
CRIMINAL SYNDICATE ATTEMPTS TO COVER ITS TRACKS “No critic of WHO has produced any direct evidence of commercial influence on decision-making…no evidence of attempted or actual influence by commercial interests on advice given to or decisions made by WHO.” Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization on WHO 2009 Pandemic Response – 03/28/11
WHO REFUTES COUNCIL OF EUROPE INVESTIGATION INTO WHO CORRUPTION & MISHANDLING OF 2009 PANDEMIC VACCINE ROLL-OUT : ‘The World Health Organisation had problems handling the swine flu epidemic, but there was no evidence it tried to boost vaccine makers, the UN body’s member countries agreed on Friday. The WHO’s 193 member states, gathered for their 64th annual assembly, adopted an experts’ report into the management of the 2009-2010 pandemic that killed more than 18,000 people and affected some 214 countries and territories. “The resolutions (of the report) were adopted this morning in the plenary session,” WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib said.
Among others, the Council of Europe had called for a probe into the WHO’s handling of the outbreak, which it said caused an unjustified scare and waste of public money as countries stocked up on 78 million doses of vaccines, many of which were left unused and later destroyed.
Some commentators had accused the WHO of rushing to announce a pandemic and “suggested the reason was to enrich vaccine manufacturers”, the report of the WHO-appointed experts panel said. But they found “no evidence of attempted or actual influence by commercial interests on advice given to or decisions made by WHO.”
While there were some shortcomings, including “the absence of a consistent, measurable and understandable depiction of severity of the pandemic”, the experts said there was “no evidence of malfeasance. No critic of WHO has produced any direct evidence of commercial influence on decision-making.”
Warning that the world is ill-prepared to handle a severe pandemic, the report makes 15 recommendations for technical, logistic and policy improvements and the creation of a contingency fund of at least $100 million (71 million euros) for similar public-health emergencies. “Some recommendations will require resources to implement, but none is more expensive than the cost of doing nothing,” states the report.’
“We are faced with a failure of the great national institutions charged with alerting us to the risks and responding to them should a pandemic arise. In April, when the first alarm came from Mexico, I was very surprised by the figures the World Health Organization (WHO) was advancing to justify the proclamation of a pandemic. I had suspicions immediately: the figures were quite weak and the level of alarm very elevated. There weren’t even a thousand sick people before there was already talk of the pandemic of the century. And the extreme alert decreed was based on the fact that the virus was new. But the characteristic of flu-type illnesses is to develop very fast with viruses that take on new forms each time by moving in on new hosts – animals, people etc. There’s nothing new in that. A new “flu” virus of that kind appears every year.
In reality, nothing justified sounding the alarm at that level. That was only possible because the WHO changed its definition of pandemic at the beginning of May. Before that date, it was not only necessary that the illness break out in several countries at once, but also that it have very serious consequences, with a number of mortalities in excess of the usual averages. That aspect was erased from the new definition, while the only criterion retained was that of the rate of the illness’s diffusion. And it was alleged that the virus was dangerous because populations had not been able to develop immune defenses against it. Which was false for this virus, since we had been able to observe that people over 60 already had antibodies, which is to say that they had already been in contact with analogous viruses. That’s why there were practically no people over 60 who developed the illness. Yet, they were the people it was recommended to have be rapidly vaccinated.
Among the things that aroused my suspicions then, there was on the one hand, that desire to sound the alarm – and on the other, very curious facts. Such as, for example, the WHO’s recommendation to perform two injections for the vaccinations. That had never been the case before. There was no scientific justification for it. There was also this recommendation to use only specific patented vaccines. Yet, no reason existed for not adding – as is done every year – specific anti-viral particles of this new H1N1 virus, thus “completing” seasonal flu vaccines. That wasn’t done because it was preferred to use patented vaccine material that the big laboratories had elaborated and manufactured to hold in readiness should a pandemic develop. And by proceeding in this fashion, they did not hesitate to put vaccinated persons in danger.” Dr. Wolfgang Wodarg, in charge of Council of Europe investigation into World Health Organization mishandling of 2009 Pandemic
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