nos-trum. pronunciation: \nos'-trum\. noun. Etymology: Latin, neuter of noster our, ours.
1. a medicine of secret composition recommended by its preparer but usually without scientific proof of its effectiveness.
2. a usually questionable remedy or scheme.
See here for more discussion.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Inevitable Charge Of H1N1 Scare-Mongering By WHO

Damned if you do and damned if you don't (prepare for a severe pandemic).

The Council of Europe (whatever that is) has condemned the World Health Organization (WHO) for using scare tactics, over-estimating the threat of H1N1, to benefit drug companies.

Last year I posted a prediction that, no matter what happened, public health organizations were going to take it in the shorts.  If they under-reacted and the virus turned out to be as deadly as the initial research suggested it might be, there would be outrage over a lack of preparation.   If it turned out to be not as bad, then massive efforts to protect the public would create similar outrage over scare-mongering and expense.


According to the Miami Herald Health Blog (June ), the Council charged that WHO engaged in a
"waste of large sums of public money and unjustified scares and fears about the health risks faced by the European public....The committee said decisions about the outbreak were poorly explained and not transparent enough. It warned that public trust in WHO recommendations is "plummeting," which could be dangerous in case of a more severe pandemic in the future."
Hindsight is better than foresight, right?

But there's a clue to the real "outrage" here:
"The committee also suggested that drug makers contribute to a public fund to support independent research."
OK, I got it now.  They want to shift the government's public health responsibility to the private sector.  Things are tough all over, so we use politics to point the "fiscal irresponsibility" finger elsewhere.

I'd rather spend too much than risk losing millions of lives.  Which choice would you make?

Doc D

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