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World Health Organization Scientists Linked to Swine Flu Vaccine Makers

Scientists who advised the World Health Organization on its influenza policies and recommendations—including the decision to proclaim the so-called swine flu a "pandemic" had close ties to companies that manufacture vaccines and antiviral medicines like Tamiflu, a fact that WHO did not publicly disclose.

The links between the advisors and the companies that make money from vaccines and flu treatments were detailed in a report published online by the British medical journal BMJ, which investigated the advisors' role in WHO's policy.

The report by Deborah Cohen, features editor of BMJ, and Philip Carter, a journalist with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in London, acknowledged that flu experts do "need to work with industry to develop the best possible drugs for illnesses," but said that allowing industry experts to have a role in the formulation of public health policy was a slippery slope.

And worse, Cohen and Carter said, was the failure of WHO officials to disclose the conflicts of interest or even identify the members of its advisory committee.

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