Total of British Soldiers killed in Afghanistan = 302
2 experts resign from WHO swine flu review panel
Very surprising news from the World Health Organisation (WHO). Two members have resigned from an expert panel reviewing the global body's response to the swine flu outbreak.
My report on Swine Flu and possible undue influence from Big Pharma will be considered by the Council of Europe on Thursday. The declaration of Swine Flu as the most severe possible caused great alarm, waste and disruption. The only winners were the pharmaceutical companies. I have pressed for transparency and the naming of the Committee who declared a Phase Six pandemic. WHO have refused to publish the names or the interests of the Emergency Committee.
This afternoon, the WHO said that John MacKenzie and Tony Evans stepped down over concerns that their close association with the UN health organisation during the outbreak could be seen as a conflict of interest.
The review panel is meant to provide an independent assessment of WHO's handling of the outbreak. Both MacKenzie and Evans were on the emergency committee that advised WHO's Director-General Margaret Chan before she declared swine flu a pandemic.
Mackenzie is a professor of tropical infectious diseases at Curtin University in Australia. Evans is the medical chief of the Montreal-based International Civil Aviation Organisation.
I have put out a statement: "This is a welcome development that does not not imply any wrongdoing by the two individuals. I hope this is a sign that the WHO now acknowledges the strength of the Council of Europe's' call for transparency in order to safeguard the reputation of WHO and to ensure that future decisions are purely science-based un-influenced by commercial imperatives."
There should be an impervious firewall separating commercial interests and public health concerns. This wall may have become porous recently .