THE recent incidents have raised doubts over credibility of some of the global organisations. It has also strengthened the fears that some of these organisations have ties and serving the interests of certain industry or groups. They have been raising scare to cash in on billions of dollars of profits.
For a long time it was being alleged that AIDS has emerged as the biggest business and systematically promoted by world organisations. This is yet to be proved. But swine flu-H1N-pandemic scare has unraveled the role of World Health Organisation and close links of its experts and pharmaceutical companies.
It was also being alleged that global warming emerged as one of the biggest business. Not many believed. Now it has been proved. It has also shamed India as one of the proponents of receding or vanishing glaciers is a Nobel winning Indian, RK Pachauri, president of Geneva-based International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It has raised doubts about the international NGO, Greenpeace as well.
The UN and its related organisations are funded by donations from the world population. Theoretically it is termed as the biggest non-governmental organisation (NGO). It was set up to bring peace and welfare to the poor people. It has emerged as the biggest money spinner to NGOs. It was involved in a food for petrol scam in Iraq. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) filed reports about mass destruction weapons in Iraq, which were not found to be correct, paving way for a war that has bolstered profits of powerful arms companies and their dealers. Now more is coming out of its closet. It has made the world sceptical about many NGOs.
Evidence has surfaced that several members of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) vaccine board—which pushed countries to buy the H1N1 vaccine—have had significant ties with pharmaceutical companies. It has come from head of health at the Council of Europe, Dr Wolfgang Wodarg. The council represents 47 European countries. He accused the makers of flu drugs and vaccines of influencing WHO decision to declare a pandemic. Wodarg has branded the H1N1as one of the greatest medical scandals of the century.
The evidence he has cited has raised questions about the WHO selection process of “experts”. Many experts and other decision makers in WHO were reportedly drug company people and were promoting their interests. Producers of vaccines secure orders from governments, on the certification of the “trusted” WHO and made enormous gains.
Documents acquired through the Danish Freedom of Information Act revealed that Professor Juhani Eskola—a Finnish member of the WHO board on vaccines called the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE)— received almost 6.3 million Euros in 2009 for his vaccine research programme from the vaccine manufacturers GlaxoSmithKline.
Six other members of SAGE had financial ties with various pharmaceutical companies which include Novartis, Solvay, Baxter, MedImmune and Sanofi Aventis.
This has given rise to speculation that the swine flu was a false pandemic, orchestrated by drug companies looking for large profits from the vaccines. Experts now say that the classic flu causes more deaths than swine flu. The WHO has to explain how it declared the disease as pandemic 5, overlooking its basic stipulation.
The “scare” has impacted government decision in many poor countries, including India. The Government in New Delhi spent Rs 120 crore for hastily stocking up Tamiflu – Oseitamavir Phosphate, one of the two drugs said to be effective in treating the infection. It requires a probe as to who forced Government of India to buy 40 million doses of Tamiflu as also who provided the intelligence to decide on the quantum.
Currently companies like Cipla, Hetero, NATCO, Ranbaxy and Strides are manufacturing the drug in India. They are also exporting it. Do these companies also have moles in the government? This needs a detailed investigation. Their relationship with international drug cartel and WHO experts also needs to be established.
(The writer is senior economic and political affairs journalist and ex-Sr Editor, The Financial Express)