Was the H1N1 pandemic exaggerated? European officials are putting heat on the WHO over its handling of the pandemic, alleging the organization caused unnecessary panic and wasted millions of dollars. Reports released by an EU watchdog and the British Medical Journal go even further: they accuse the WHO of being influenced by drugmakers who stood to profit from unnecessary influenza preparation, the Washington Post reports.
The BMJ report raises serious doubts as to "whether major public health organizations are able to effectively manage the conflicts of interest that are inherent in medical science." WHO officials vigorously defended their actions: "To insinuate that this was not a pandemic is very disrespectful to the people who died from it," a rep said. Other experts cautioned against revisionism: "I fear that public health officials will draw the lesson that they should wait for greater scientific certainty before responding in the future," said one, "and we could pay for that overcaution with many lives lost."