June 7th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

What if pharmaceutical companies' influence led W.H.O. to exaggerate swine flu threat?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Remember the swine flu?

Fears of a global pandemic, millions of deaths, shortages of vaccines... and on and on? What we wound up with - fortunately - didn't even come close. There were far fewer deaths than expected and more than 70 million unused doses of the newly created H1N1 vaccine - in the U.S. alone.

And now there's this: Two reports in Europe say the World Health Organization vastly exaggerated the swine flu threat. They say decisions were poorly explained and not transparent enough; and that's why public trust in the W.H.O. is "plummeting."

These reports suggest the UN's health agency didn't disclose possible ties to the pharmaceutical industry when recommending how countries should respond.

They say the W.H.O. caused widespread and unnecessary fear - and caused countries to waste millions of dollars. All the while - and here is the kicker - the agency was getting advice from experts who were on the payroll of the pharmaceutical companies that manufactured the swine flu vaccine.

The W.H.O. says claims that this was a fake pandemic are "irresponsible" and they insist that the organization was never improperly influenced by the pharmaceutical industry.


Other experts are defending the health organization, too... saying they made the best decisions they could under the circumstances.

Nevertheless, in light of the charges... the W.H.O. has launched two investigations.

Here’s my question to you: What if influence from pharmaceutical companies led the World Health Organization to exaggerate the swine flu threat?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Health • Health care
June 7th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Past time for ethics committee to release findings on Rangel?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

What are they waiting for? It's been almost two years since the house ethics committee started investigating Congressman Charlie Rangel... and so far - nothing.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/06/07/art.rangel.jpg caption="Congressman Charlie Rangel"]
Meanwhile the 79-year-old New York lawmaker has filed for re-election. Rangel wants to run for his 21st term in the house; but first he has to win the Democratic party primary on September 14.

So will the ethics committee release its report before then? If they do... and if the report is damaging... Rangel could be toast. But, if they hold the report until after the election - chances are Rangel will win again. This could also raise political questions about the timing of the report.

As one Democrat tells Politico: "It would let everyone say that this is a cover up, that it's just the same old ethics system." And that's right on the money. Remember when the Democrats took control of the house in 2006? Nancy Pelosi promised they would "drain the swamp" after a decade of Republican rule. Sure.

The leaders of the ethics committee aren't commenting on the Rangel case. For his part, Rangel insists he's innocent - that no wrongdoing has been found. He says he gave up his powerful chairmanship of the ways and means committee so he wouldn't be a target for Republicans.

Nonetheless, Rangel is being investigated for a wide range of allegations - from using his chairmanship to raise money for a public service center that carries his name... to failing to pay taxes on income from a home in the Dominican Republic... to hiding hundreds of thousands of dollars in assets and income on a financial disclosure form.

Here’s my question to you: Isn't it past time for the House Ethics Committee to release its findings on Congressman Charlie Rangel?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Congress • House of Representatives