Le Parisien 探究藥廠和世衛及法國政府的聯繫
Le Parisien explores pharma links to WHO and French govenrment
Thursday, 28 January 2010 15:40
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Swine Flu Experts under the influence of laboratories
Several researchers and doctors within WHO are paid by pharmaceutical companies. The number two of the organization has to explain this on Tuesday before the Council of Europe.
MARC PAYET 26.01.2010, 07h00

Le Parisien

This morning, WHO’s number two, Dr. Keiji Fukuda, will be heard in Strasbourg by the Health Committee of the Council of Europe. European MEPs want to know if the UN agency has been under pressure from the pharmaceutical industry in managing the Swine Flu crisis so as to exaggerate the danger.

They also will interview a spokesperson of European manufacturers of vaccines, again to see if they have sought to influence the WHO experts.

These hearings are conducted at the request of the medical expert, Wolfgang Wodarg, the German Socialist deputy, who, with fourteen other parliamentarians from across the political spectrum, will then write a parliamentary report on this subject, asking "On what scientific basis did WHO declare a pandemic? The organization will have to explain the bonds of money between some of its experts and laboratories."

According to our investigation, links of interest between six experts from WHO and the pharmaceutical industry are proven. They were part of policy committees who advised the Director Margaret Chan. Even if they declare their independence, their relationship with the laboratories upholds suspicions about the impartiality of their decisions within the WHO. In France, the same questions exist. A majority of the experts on the committee for fighting flu, appointed by the Health Minister, Roselyne Bachelot, has links of interest with the companies manufacturing the vaccine and antivirals against Swine Flu.

Le Parisien

Swine Flu: In Geneva and Paris, experts justifcations

We contacted various experts, French or foreign, serving on committees in France or for the WHO in Geneva, who reported links of interest with pharmaceutical companies. Without denying their relationships with certain laboratories, they assert their intellectual independence.

The Professor of Medicine from Finland, Juhani Eskola, says he "clearly indicated his contract with Novartis in his full declaration of interests for WHO. He said he performed this procedure when he was appointed to serve on the Sage Committee, the first group of advisors for Swine Flu. He adds: “My statements were viewed, evaluated and validated by WHO, which said there were no problems.” It was the same for his contract with GSK, which funds his research institute in Finland up to 6 million euros.

The Jamaican researcher, Peter Figueroa, under contract with pharmaceutical giant Merck, whose drugs are used against influenza, responds for its part that "the funds thus obtained were dedicated to research on specific topics. In no case did this influence my choice "in debates within the World Health Organisation.

In France, among the experts who advised Roselyne Bachelot, the answers are no different. Sylvie Van der Werf, one of the most often cited researchers of the Pasteur Institute for her research on pandemic influenza, admits to collaboration with GSK on treatment research. "But I do not feel that my scientific independence is at all affected when I give an opinion in a public committee, she said. Anyway, most senior experts also work with the pharmaceutical industry ". Her colleague from the Pasteur Institute, Jean Claude Manuguerra, director of the committee against flu, also mentions collaboration with Roche. When contacted, he did not respond to our requests.

"The Ministry of Health was aware and should have told us if it was a concern


Finally, the GP Jean-Louis Bensoussan, director of regional groups for flu observation, is also a member of the committee against influenza. He justified his personal remuneration by the Roche Group, a group that also manufactures Tamiflu, a drug used against swine flu, by saying "I do not see where the problem is. The Ministry of Health was fully aware and should have told us if it was a concern. "

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Swine Flu: Doubts about Roselyne Bachelot’s committee

The Minister of Health established a group of experts to advise her on Swine Flu. Several of them are now in the heart of the controversy.

The committee for fighting influenza. Created by decree on July 25, 2008 "to bring the Minister of Health expertise on all the measures to be implemented in order to control and reduce the impact of an influenza epidemic or pandemic”.

It was this committee that called for mass vaccination in September 2009, with priorities: hospital staff, pregnant women, and those who were most vulnerable, and then the rest of the population. The seventeen experts on this committee were all appointed by decision of the Minister of Health. In 2009, only two of them had no link with the interests of firms. More significantly, six have received personal remuneration this year from laboratories.

Analysis of the epidemic. Many scientists question the fact that medical authorities did not see, in August, that the virus was much more benign than the Mexican crisis of April led to expect.

Yves Charpak, infectious disease specialist, asks: "We never had the final record of the inquiry made in Mexico on the mortality of the H1N1 virus, carried out by the official representative of France and chairman of the committee, Dr. Manuguerra. If, as assumed, the figures showed that it was far less serious than initially evoked by Mexicans, this committee should have made this information public. Instead, it continued to evoke the risk of major pandemic to come for the winter. "

Project for a parliamentary inquiry. The position of some of the experts on the committee has become delicate. "Imagine for two minutes that several experts were against the principle of mass vaccination during closed proceedings. This would have meant they were going against the interests of their employer, which was not an easy decision to take, "says Senator Francis Autain from the socialist party, a doctor, who wants to launch a committee for a parliamentary inquiry on this subject.



French chairman of the committee for fighting influenza, a researcher at the Pasteur Institute and also paid by Roche.


French member of the committee against influenza, Director of Grog (regional groups of observation of influenza) and paid by Roche.


French member of the committee against influenza, a researcher at the Pasteur Institute in Paris and also paid by GSK.


French member of the committee against influenza, a professor of medicine at the Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital, and also paid by Sanofi-Pasteur.


French member of the committee against influenza, paediatrician and also paid by Sanofi GSK and Roche.


French member of the committee against influenza, a professor of medicine at Clermont-Ferrand and also paid by Novartis.

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Swine Flu: Margaret Chan and her very special advisers

Different groups of experts advise the Director General of WHO, Margaret Chan, in decisions relating to swine flu. However, many of these scientists have financial ties with pharmaceutical companies.

The Sage Committee*. This is the main consultative group of WHO for vaccination.

It is composed of fifteen international scientists, who only report to Margaret Chan. It was following the recommendations of the Sage committee that she announced, on June 1, the transition to phase 6 of the pandemic. A decision which prompted governments to buy massive amounts of vaccines for prevention.

Three committee members are paid by pharmaceutical companies, in addition to their work as a researcher: the Finn Juhani Eskola, Jamaican Peter Figueroa and Chinese Malik Peiris. "In such a strategic committee, one might expect the WHO to take more precautions to avoid conflicts of interest," said French researcher Yves Charpak, formerly of the Geneva institution.

The committee for swine flu vaccination. It was established in April 2009, when the flu epidemic began in Mexico. It is responsible for providing recommendations to the Director General of WHO. In addition to three members of the Sage, it includes ten experts who are supposed to be independent. Two of them have proven links of interest with manufacturers of vaccines: the Englishman Neil Ferguson and Dutchman Albert Osterhaus. "During discussions with them, I was surprised by their entrenched positions. I had doubts when I heard they were paid by laboratories, "says a WHO expert who works on swine flu.

A Frenchman in a technical committee. There are other committees within WHO, one of which is responsible for giving advice to Margaret Chan on the evolution of the pandemic. The Frenchman Bruno Lina directs the committee. This virologist is paid for various programs by laboratories producing vaccine (Baxter, Sanofi, Novartis, GSK).



French, the head of a technical committee of the WHO, a virologist at the CNRS in France, also paid by Roche, Novartis, GSK and Sanofi-Pasteur. Also member of the French committee for fighting flu.


Finnish, a Sage Committee member at WHO, Director of the Health Institute in Helsinki and also paid by Novartis and GSK.


Jamaican, a member of Sage Committee, a professor at the Faculty of Science in Kingston and also paid by Merck.


Dutch, an expert on Swine Flu Immunization Committee at WHO, a shareholder of Viroclinics, which develops treatments against swine flu.


Chinese, a Sage Committee member, a professor at the Faculty of Medicine of Hong Kong and also paid by Baxter, Sanofi Pasteur and GSK.


English, an expert on the Swine Flu Immunization Committee at WHO, a professor of medicine at Imperial College and also paid by Baxter, GSK and Roche.

* Sage: Strategic Advisory Group of Experts, i.e. group of strategic expertise

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The creation of the “Committee to fight against influenza”.

Decree No. 2008-733 of July 25, 2008 creating a committee to fight against the flu has been published in the Official Gazette No. 0174 of July 27, 2008?

A Committee to fight against influenza is established for a period of up to five years, placed under the Minister for Health. The Committee against influenza brings the Minister for Health expertise on all the measures to be implemented to control and reduce the impact of an influenza epidemic or pandemic.

In inter-or pre-pandemic period, the Committee against influenza is responsible for:

a) making recommendations, based on evolving scientific evidence on the diagnosis of influenza, the therapeutic care of patients and what to do for those around them, preventive measures at individual and collective level, the role of antivirals in curative and preventive treatment;

b) providing a scientific watch on developments and prospects for vaccine against influenza ( inter-, pre-pandemic and pandemic) and developing recommendations for vaccination strategy based on changing data;

c) playing, for the flu, a role in monitoring and analyzing medical and scientific aspects that may impact on public health;

d) participating in developing and updating the national plan for prevention and fighting against a pandemic influenza risk in light of changing scientific evidence.

In case of a pandemic alert, the Committee against influenza is responsible for continuing the missions listed in the preceding paragraph, including any activation of the interministerial crisis cell under the national plan for prevention and control against the risk of pandemic influenza.

The Committee against influenza includes, in addition to its Chairman:

1° Official members:

a) The General Director of Health

b) The General Director of the “Institut de Veille Sanitaire” (Health Watch Institute)

c) The General Director of the French Agency for the Safety of Health Products;

d) President of the specialist committee for "health safety" of the High Council for Public Health;

e) The Chairman of the Technical Committee of vaccinations, the Standing Committee of the High Council for Public Health

f) The Central Director of Health Service for armies;

g) Director of the National Reference Centre in charge of influenza in North of France

h) The director of the National Reference Centre in charge of influenza South of France

2° members appointed by order of the Minister of Health:

a) Two representatives of the network of regional observation of influenza (GROG)

b) A representative of Sentinel’s Network,

c) Eight qualified persons:

three infectious disease doctors ;

an internal doctor;

a paediatrician;

a public health doctor;

an immunologist;

an emergency physician.

The Chairman of the Committee to fight against influenza is appointed by the Minister for Health.

The members of the Committee against influenza are mandated for five years.

If one member appointed by decree fails to attend meetings for six months, the Minister for Health provides for his replacement under the same conditions as his appointment.

The Committee against influenza meets at least six times a year, convened by its chairman, who sets the agenda.

If circumstances warrant, the General Director of Health or the chairman may convene members in case of emergency.

The secretariat is provided by the service of the general direction of health care in charge of expertise on influenza.

The Committee against influenza adopts rules of procedure specifying the operating rules of this body, including procedures for appointing a vice-president in case of unavailability of the President.

For the exercise of its functions, the Committee against influenza is, as necessary, and for a limited time, composed of working groups, particularly in the context of scientific surveillance and monitoring of inter - , pre-pandemic and pandemic influenza vaccine development. It may, as appropriate, seek experts from other disciplines, administrations or agencies involved in the work group context or if the agenda warrants.

The Chairman of the Committee against influenza prepares each year for the General Director of Health a report on the work of the committee.

The functions of chairman and member of the Committee against influenza are exercised free of charge. This provision does not preclude support for travel expenses.