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?

Alexa in Virginia writes:
I got swine flu last fall. It knocked me flat. I was completely incapacitated for about a month and still feeling it another month after that. I've never felt physically worse in my entire life. I find it completely believable that in someone with a weaker immune system it could have lead to hospitalizations and serious consequences. If the hype over swine flu lead to more immunizations in the people who needed it most- mothers with young children, kids, the elderly, people with compromised immune systems- then I don't care where that motivation came from, it helped to save people's lives.

Stephanie writes:
What about the media, Jack? The media had nonstop coverage both on the possible spread, the possible dangers and criticism that it was taking too long to supply sufficient vaccines across the nation! Talk about exaggeration and pumping up anxiety!

Mark in Chicago writes:
Good question, Jack, especially surprising from you! The reports don't argue that the data was wrong, only that some relationships weren't disclosed. Appearance is everything in ethics and the W.H.O. should have known better. A simple caveat by them revealing the ties would have sufficed, especially since the pedigree of the scientists and epidemiologists consulting for the W.H.O. are top notch.

Marja in Sweden writes:
That's exactly what happened. It was the same way with the bird flu. And the reporters both on TV and in the newspapers incited people to hysteria. I could guess it, so I never took any vaccinations, even though I would have gotten them for free here in Sweden.

Mari writes:
Is anyone surprised? Big Oil, Big Pharma, etc. own our nation.

Brandon in Anchorage, Alaska writes:
If the worst case scenario had played out, and there hadn't been enough vaccines produced, these guys would have been stoned to death. Better to use too much caution than not enough.

Joe in Delray Beach, Florida writes:
There's something not kosher about the swine flu anyway.

Filed under: Health • Health care
soundoff (227 Responses)
  1. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    The the lobbyist were doing their job. Just like the oil companies want to drill but have essentially a shield of immunity from costs or damages. It's sounds much like the "terrorist threats" we'd hear about, then raise the alert level. Just scare everyone until they buy our stuff.

    June 7, 2010 at 2:13 pm |
  2. Hugo Kijne, Hoboken NJ

    I would be as shocked as the police chief when he found out there was gambling going on at Rick's in Casablanca.

    June 7, 2010 at 2:16 pm |
  3. Steve - Chula Vista, CA

    What if? This would come as no surprise to anyone, sounds like business as usual and nothings going to change.

    June 7, 2010 at 2:18 pm |
  4. Gregory Tripp, Mechanicsburg, PA

    It would not surprise me in the least. Good Lord, Jack. Look at all the fuss they make over hay fever and ED. It seems as though every other commercial on television is about some minor discomfort. You wonder why the pharmaceuticals charge an arm and a leg for a bottle of pills? It's because they spend so much on advertising. If there is money to be made in selling a pill, you can bet that much of a to do will be made about it.

    June 7, 2010 at 2:24 pm |
  5. ben stockton, calif

    i dont know whether they put everbody in a panic mode or not.while the pharmacutical companies try to protect us from a range of diseases there are some booboes along the way, yet ,better safe than sorry. im sure there are some measure of safety standards to prevent them from getting sued . the public is at their mercy

    June 7, 2010 at 2:24 pm |
  6. Tom, Avon, Me, The Heart of Democracy

    That is no way near the pharmaceutical scandal of the Bush years. Making it illegal to buy our drugs in Canada, and making it illegal to negotiate reasonable prices, those were the scandals. Drug companies lobbying for maximum profit is business as usual.

    June 7, 2010 at 2:26 pm |
  7. Tom, Avon, Me, The Heart of Democracy

    Isn't the story of the day that the world has adopted Obama's approach of having banks fund their own bail out mechanism rather than go with Bush's taxpayer funded rescue?

    June 7, 2010 at 2:30 pm |
  8. Ed from Port Aransas, TX

    And their influence is growing Jack, after the recent Supreme Court decision which allows them to contribute to political campaigns. Not only do they have the money to buy media wide propaganda, I mean, of course, "get their story out," now they'll be able to buy their own Congressmen, too. The corporate take over of America is almost complete.

    June 7, 2010 at 2:34 pm |
  9. Barbara Leavitt

    What if.............I would be surprised if they didn't! That's the way things are being run in our country anymore.....big businesses calling the shots.
    Lobby Baby Lobby !!

    Henderson NV

    June 7, 2010 at 2:35 pm |
  10. Michael tampa fl

    Jack, its not the drug companies or even the politicans that over exaggerate this,,, its the media...just like they are currently killing tourism on beaches not tainted by oil by their orgasmic broadcasts implying all the beaches are a mess when the majority are not. The media is hurting the economy much more so that anyone else. People need to be very afraid because the 24 hour news cycle is creating a situation where the media is shaping our opinions.
    Take a look at every major issue and the media coverage is overwhelming to the point of being sickening. We no longer have the "real" news reporters, we have pundits vying for attention. who can use the most inflamed language to decribe situations, who can find the angriest people to put on camera etc...its getting bad and we had better wake up!

    June 7, 2010 at 2:43 pm |
  11. Peg from N.Y.

    Good luck handling the Lobbyists if this is true.

    June 7, 2010 at 2:43 pm |
  12. Stephanie

    What about the media , Jack? CNN had nonstop coverage both on the possible spread, the possible dangers and criticism that it was taking too long to supply sufficient vaccines across the nation! Talk about exaggeration and pumping up anxiety!!

    June 7, 2010 at 2:44 pm |
  13. Loren, Chicago

    Of course, pharmaceutical company influence led to exaggeration of the swine flu threat. Who pays for most medical research? The whole flu vaccine industry has been created through a constant reminder of previous pandemics that have never been as bad as threatened, this time they used the threat against the group most able to afford vaccines, the healthy working and child-bearing age groups to create a greater frenzy.

    I refuse to get a flu vaccine believing that there is more risk from the vaccine that the flu itself, being in fairly good health. While the claimed at-risk group for swine flu was those in normal good health, I know of no one who even came down with the flu, so that strongly suggests that there was a lot of hype invovled. And who could pay for that? Or manipulate both the media and the government? The Pharmaceutical Industry.

    June 7, 2010 at 2:46 pm |
  14. Greg, Ontario

    What if they did? People died from that virus Jack and that's a fact. So if exaggerating the threat motivated people to get vacinated who cares? The bottom line is lives were probably saved.

    June 7, 2010 at 2:52 pm |
  15. Matt Toohey

    Oh Jack how cynical you have become. Corporate greed would never lead to misinformation, lies or other misdeeds for the purpose of profit.

    Rockford, IL

    June 7, 2010 at 2:54 pm |
  16. JENNA

    What if influence from pharmaceutical companies led the World Health Organization to exaggerate the swine flu threat?

    Who again from the Bush administration was big into the pharmaceuticals.. Donald Rumsfeld..

    Who knew?

    Roseville CA

    June 7, 2010 at 2:55 pm |
  17. Carl


    I'am sure they did, it's just all part of the corrupt money making scheme of things. I'am sure many people got richer over this, it's all about the stolen dollar.

    June 7, 2010 at 2:57 pm |
  18. Fran, Albuquerque, New Mexico

    What do you mean IF? There was no way I was going to put that poison into my body. I work for a medical answering service, the past twelve months. There have been way too many people, especially children, getting very sick from this vaccine that is supposed to protect us from the swine flu. No, thanks. I'll take my chances. The drug companies DO NOT have our best interests at heart. It's the dollar that they're thinking of.

    June 7, 2010 at 2:58 pm |
  19. Michael, Alexandria, VA

    I think it was more that people were dying in Mexico than any drug company pressure.

    June 7, 2010 at 3:00 pm |
  20. Jon Schultz, Vancouver, WA

    The swine flu threat cannot be exaggerated because a bad influenza pandemic could possibly kill up to half the population, according to Dr. Robert Webster, one of the world's foremost virologists. We are lucky, so far, that this swine flu has not learned to attack us more efficiently.

    June 7, 2010 at 3:01 pm |
  21. marja hartzell-oforji

    Hi, that`s exactly what happened. It was the same way with the bird flue. And the reporters both in tv and in the newspapers incited people to hysteria. I could guess it, so I never took any vaccinations, even thought I would have got them for free here in Sweden, for I`m 65 + and have both diabetes and asthma. The Healthcare Centre even sent a card to me both times, inviting me to vaccination. I never got any of those flues. Here we are again, seeing proof of that one should not believe all in the news, maybe not most of it according to illnesses. I wonder what else one should
    From Stockholm.

    June 7, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
  22. Bizz Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    Jack, if the drug companies exaggerated the swine flu epidemic it is done for the sole purpose of making a profit. And if they find substantial evidence that that is the case then they should be prosecuted. Today's companies will do anything to increase their profit. No matter whether it is lying to the public or putting safety of their workers at risk they don't care. That is why we have oil floating in the Gulf of Mexico.

    June 7, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
  23. Joanne

    What if ? We live in a different classless world now....what's "low" is acceptable.
    I said from day one it was exaggerated, as was SARS and other issues.

    June 7, 2010 at 3:05 pm |
  24. Bill in TX

    Are you surprised that those who profit make the decisions ?

    June 7, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
  25. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    Are you kidding? It would be par for the course. If anything it should prove that the organization is out of control creating widespread panic and overreaction across the world. Whole cities practically shutdown because the of the spreading Pandemic which was actually milder than the regular flu. Put swine flu in the same category as SARs, bird flu and all the other exaggerated emergencies they have manufactured. The US should withdraw from the WHO immediately and put hose we can in jail. Their should also be a class action lawsuit filed for anyone financially harmed by the egregious overreach of power.

    June 7, 2010 at 3:23 pm |
  26. Tina Tx

    And your point is? This is the way they work. Deal with it my friend.

    June 7, 2010 at 3:24 pm |
  27. Lori - PA


    What if the W.H.O. had decided to do nothing, and the Swine Flu outbreak became hard to contain? Everyone would be outraged and demanding people resign their position.

    June 7, 2010 at 3:26 pm |
  28. F Felix


    You wouldn't be talking about the same pharmaceutical company that stood side by side with the president pushing the Democrat healthcare? Why would they exaggerate any issue? I thought they were looking out for everyone and thier health.

    June 7, 2010 at 3:27 pm |
  29. Judie Wm's El Lago,TX

    Some months ago I wrote indicatig the swine flu was bordering on hysteria...."the sky is falling, the sky is falling".

    Somewhere along the way good common sense and prudent measures would eliminate many of the short duraton illnesses.

    Didn't our mothers tell us to flush, wash hands, cover our mouths & faces when sneezing, and many more. I recently was in a hospital restroom when a staff member also used the facility, and just walked out...no hand washing..period. At times deplorable conditions in restaurant areas.

    Would not surprise me in the least to become aware that the fat cats in the pharmacuetical field had a hand in this.
    How about decominate areas for all overseas flights arriving....

    With the "druggies" and other businesses there is a fine line between profit and greed.

    June 7, 2010 at 3:29 pm |
  30. Kathie

    money talks, Jack. the drug companies don't miss any opportunity to make a profit. ever looked at the price mark up on drugs (its thousands and thousands of percent mark up)

    June 7, 2010 at 3:44 pm |
  31. Ben in Maryland

    I'm shocked, shocked, I tell you, that anyone could possibly impugn the integrity of the pharmaceutical companies. Those peaens of community service!! Those benevolent souls that provide us with all the pills we need and more!! Never denying the indigent of necessary drugs to live. Never holding up a sick person of life-saving drugs. Shocked!!! Who do you think coined the phrase: Your money or your life?

    June 7, 2010 at 3:45 pm |
  32. Eric - Houston

    It would be a relief. I could stop being worried about conspiracies for one world government, since the UN works the same way as ours.

    June 7, 2010 at 3:48 pm |
  33. Dennis north Carolina

    Money buys all in this world including phony science reports and world scares. soon you will hear that it safe to drink water and eat fish from the gulf and this pill will cure all. Money buys all.

    June 7, 2010 at 3:49 pm |
  34. Solitude

    "Which pharmaceutical companies? And what part of the World?
    Pigs are one of the most easy live stock to take care of, all over the world. They eat anything, and live in so little a space. "

    June 7, 2010 at 3:51 pm |
  35. Gretchen, Chico, CA

    What IF? Pharmaceutical influence, in cahoots with the FDA, is why solutions to physical ailments is hard to find...only maintenance can be found. Why? There's little/no profit in solutions (ie cures) but there's HUGE profits in maintenance of problems, or threats of problems such as supposed epidemics. It used to be that only physicians had info on drugs, now big pharma shops them to the unsuspecting public, like candy, and they're buying big time. And also buying in to the lie that big pharma has a solution, when in reality they don't, it's just a tool to keep one sick...so big pharma has a big profit.
    And big pharma isn't helping with the legal drug addiction problem, why not? PROFIT.
    Big pharma is like a mafia boss...they run everything drug related.

    June 7, 2010 at 3:54 pm |
  36. Ken in New Baltimore

    It was more likely the Obama Administration so they could keep us from stopping the ObamaCare bill. He's good at creating distractions. Kind of like a magician. Watch my left hand so you don't see what my other left hand's doing.

    June 7, 2010 at 4:01 pm |
  37. ED IN RI

    This reality check between the Big Pharm industry and the politicians on the take , i.e. "conflict of interests" is becoming the same old story.
    Think: Wallstreet, Coal, Big Oil, FDA, Health Insurance, Wireless
    communications, Monsanto, Chemical, and on........
    Greed is the name of the game; and will be the last card drawn as
    these "people" (Supreme court decision) destroy the people and planet to make their profits!

    June 7, 2010 at 4:02 pm |
  38. JOE CE

    If there was improper influence, it certainly should be exposed. However, better to be over prepared than too little too late.

    June 7, 2010 at 4:04 pm |
  39. mithu sadarangani, Cromwell, CT

    I have always suspected the hand of vested interest(s) in creating such situations. As far as the pharmaceutical companies are concerned, they would call it marketing. What a shameful way to sqeeze out profits by terrifying public.

    June 7, 2010 at 4:17 pm |
  40. Jonathan Hart- Canada

    its a case of damned if you do, damned if you don't for the WHO... but honestly, these modern day snake oil campaigns have got to stop, everyday I hear about some other thing that's going to get me/kill me/threaten me/incapacitate me... its like the marketplace has a morbid obsession.. p.s. kudos to asking something that's not BP related.

    June 7, 2010 at 4:19 pm |
  41. Nurse Lisa in Shelton CT

    Big surprise – the drug companies want to make money. Big surprise – government agencies don't always properly investigate sources of information. Can we prove the extra innoculations lessened the outbreak this time – NOPE. Preventative medicine is only proven successful when trends are observed over time.

    June 7, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
  42. bud rupert

    If it can be proven – then nothing is sacred and all credibility from any sector – private or public is shot to hell.

    June 7, 2010 at 4:21 pm |

    No, do you think thats possible. W.H.O could do such a thing.
    Right now the pharmaceutical companies are neck in neck with BP oil, crooked politicians, lawyers, car salesmen, IRS, banks, and my mother in-law.

    June 7, 2010 at 4:24 pm |
  44. in Woodstock GA

    Naw, no way Jose!

    You KNOW that could never happen! Are you trying to fool us?

    June 7, 2010 at 4:29 pm |
  45. Eric R

    This would be scary, what if the so called "vaccine" was just an expermential drug pushed on us through fear. I guess we will see in 20 years who has a new form a cancer and who doesn't.

    Eric R.
    Washington D.C

    June 7, 2010 at 4:32 pm |
  46. Anon

    Typical action by drug companies. Make up a disease (or even create one), cause fear uncertainty and doubt so people are scared, then clean up by charging a fortune for the drugs they just happen to have that will treat the problem. Congress need to HEAVILY regulate the pharma industry, put caps on what can be charged for drugs and require that all drugs developed with gov't (the people's) funds be given away for free along with the research behind them.

    June 7, 2010 at 4:32 pm |
  47. Kevin in CA

    That could only mean one thing ... some pharmaceutical marketing exec got a promotion and bonus!

    June 7, 2010 at 4:36 pm |
  48. Lance, Ridgecrest, Ca

    Jack, is there really any doubt in your mind that the danger was overblown? There isn't in mine. The big pharma's have made a bizillion dollars from the scare, so what have you heard lately? NOTHING, right? It's OK though, because they'll figure out another way to panic everyone pretty soon, and make another bizillion bucks from the idiots that think the Government REALLY knows what is going on in this country!

    June 7, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
  49. Paulette in Dallas,PA

    It wouldn't surprise me one bit. Another example of greed. W.H.O. will simply lose their credibility and the next time they start a panic no one will listen. Shame on them.

    June 7, 2010 at 4:39 pm |
  50. pat in michigan

    I have a better question Jack.What if the whole swine flu epidemic was blown out of perportion to see just how fast the drug manufacturers could respond . This would give the Govt. a good idea how fast we will be able to respond to an upcoming biological attack . Not very well ,huh?

    June 7, 2010 at 4:42 pm |
  51. Richard, in Kansas

    A large corporation doing something seedy for money, I'm shocked. Seriously isnt this like the NRA always claiming that the governments after your guns so they can keep their membership up.

    June 7, 2010 at 4:43 pm |
  52. Mr D

    Looks like it appeared that it would be cheaper to pay for possibly unneeded vaccine than pay lawyers following all the lawsuits that would follow a pandemic. So what's new? Scare tactics drive a large percentage of advertising, especially when it comes to drugs.

    June 7, 2010 at 4:45 pm |
  53. Michael in Phoenix

    Free market doing its thing.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:04 pm |
  54. Conor in Chicago

    And if the epidemic would have come your question would be completely reversed. You can't win with you Jack.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:08 pm |
  55. Dan, Chantilly VA

    I would be shocked. No wait, what's the opposite of shocked? Not surprised in the least? Yeah, that's what I meant. Meanwhile every time one of these "epidemics" surfaces and I tell people about how it's all overblown hype with little actual threat I get brushed aside as a 'cynic'. Well maybe if the world started listening to us cynics, millions of dollars would be saved.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:08 pm |
  56. john

    Not much different than WMD.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:10 pm |
  57. Greg H - Minneapolis

    To answer your question Jack, it suggests that one or more WHO officials are on the take from the drug companies. The WHO is supposed to be an independent organization unaffiliated with any country. The drug companies profited heavily from the swine flu & H1N1 scares, and they could not have pulled that one off without the cooperation of the WHO. Skimming off the top of some of the profit to pay WHO officials is only "good business" in today's world.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:10 pm |
  58. Bernie of Lowell, MA

    Of course they did! It's the same reason we've got the 'donut hole' in MediCare, why so many websites advertise cheaper prices from Canada and so many people taking drugs they don't need because they're advertised on television.


    June 7, 2010 at 5:11 pm |
  59. Hilary Appel

    As far as I am concerned, I'd rather be safe than sorry. So if the pharma industry led to the W.H.O exaggerating the severity of the virus which in turn caused me to make sure my family was protected (however severe the threat), I am ok with that. All it cost me was a small co-pay.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:14 pm |
  60. Maria

    One more of many reasons to prove the UN is a worthless organization in its current form.

    Why wouldn't they exaggerate the danger? Pharmas will take every dollar,dime and penny (and leave us the plugged nickels) from every scenario...real or imagined, and of course, they'll give each a boost to make more money. In this country the FDA sleeps with the pharmas, why wouldn't the rest of the world?



    June 7, 2010 at 5:14 pm |
  61. Scott Stodden

    I think the swine flu was a serious threat to everyone not just here in the U.S. but around the world and the United States responded accordingly as they should have! If we didn't respond the way we did then everyone would be reporting that we did nothing or didn't respond in a timely manner! Sure, maybe it might have been exaggerated but its better to be safe than sorry and that's not only my opinion!

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,Illinois)

    June 7, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  62. jo an

    I always thought it exaggerated. I did not get vaccinated. I upped my vitamins, my walking, my sleep, my meditation and focused on my health. I think the pharmaceuticals control the vaccines. When I was a child I received one vaccine...small pox. Now little babies/children are receiving more than 30....something is wrong here.

    Every time I turn on the T V a pharmaceutical company is telling us to ask our doctor for one of their drugs.

    Who can you trust?

    June 7, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  63. Bill Christensen

    Better safe than sorry If it had been a serious incident we would have climbed all over WHO. WHO KNOWS what could have happened.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  64. Ed Campbell

    Jack, some days you really get it wrong. The factor that most dramatically influenced the way the threat was viewed was the mortality rate. You know, the number of dead people divided by the number of sick people. This led to some genuinely horrific projections if large numbers of people had become sick. Ultimately, those numbers were probably inflated due to the total number of sick people (the denominator in the mortality rate) being underestimated because the first areas affected were areas where most people that became sick did not have access to medical care and were therefore not reported. Those numbers, generated by public health statisticians drove the WHO thinking/panic.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  65. Matt Richardson

    Maybe so Jack, but the fact remains that tens of thousands have died from the swine flu. Perhaps it was best to err on the side of caution...

    June 7, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  66. Kevin

    If anything, the media pumped it up more than anybody. CNN had a swine flu headline every day for a while.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  67. Paul

    Tell that to the people that died Jack. Al very large amount of prevenative measures probably saved a large amount of lives.

    Rules that were made to allow employers to extend sick days kept sick people away from groups of people and contained the virus

    June 7, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
  68. wally in florida

    what does it matter jack.even if he is guilty of multiple felonies.he will plea to a misdimeanor,and keep pension,health care,etc.it's a joke up there in washington,thats why i'm voting against every incumbent who's term is up.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
  69. Linda in Arizona

    What IF they did?? Of course they did, and anybody with half a brain knew it at the time. It's just the way things are. No use getting all weewe'ed up about it.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:23 pm |
  70. Joy

    As someone who contracted the swine flu last summer (after traveling to Australia in their winter season), I definitely do NOT think the threat was exaggerated. Within 48 hours of returning to the U.S., I felt like I was being suffocated from the inside. I could hardly breathe, I was coughing up a storm, and running a fever. Doctors later suggested that I was one of the unlucky few who suffered from a secondary infection of pneumonia due to my asthma. I had to take a powerful regimen of antibiotics, steroids, and other medications. Sometimes I would cough and think that I wasn't going to be able to stop; my husband constantly worried that I was going to choke to death. It took two months before I was able to fully function again. Thankfully, my position as a doctoral student allowed me some leeway; I can't imagine how I would have been able to survive if I had a regular 9-5 job that required me to be on site. I realize that many people suffered only mild flu symptoms, but the dangers were very real for people like myself with weakened immune systems (i.e., asthma).

    Joy in Boston, MA

    June 7, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
  71. concerned citizen

    I had a feeling from the start that this "pandemic" was hogwash.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
  72. Jack

    Jack, these so called experts like to use the 1917-18 flu pandemic as an example of what could happen now. Back then, most people in the world didn't even have access to aspirin to bring down their fevers. This is why so many people died back then. Yes people die of the flu every year, and most likely always will. This is usually due to other complications. However, their never will be a 1917-18 flu epidemic again. Modern medicine will prevent this, but not in the form of a flu vaccine.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
  73. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    Wouldn't be anything new, the drug and health insurance companies are making all the members of congress very wealthy at the expense of the American taxpayers, and that is a crying shame.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
  74. Wilson James

    Nothing new here, Jack. Big business is in the business of shaping news and creating panic, much like broadcast news manufactures outrage and contraversy. You use each other for mutual benefit: MONEY.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
  75. Kelcy, Colorado

    If you got the H1N1 and were hospitalized for months or you had a loved one that was neither old nor sick but nevertheless died then I doubt you think the WHO exaggerated.

    I don`t think the threat was exaggerated. I think we were lucky. Leastways those in the developed nations where doctors were able to take extremely ill people and sustain them with lung by-pass machines they sometime kluged together from lab equipment. If the medical professionals had been unable to do that how many more of those hospitalized would have died? Would that number be sufficient for people to think the threat was valid.

    I have yet to see what the real estimates of the deaths in less develolped areas of the world. Has there even been a survey yet?

    June 7, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
  76. Damon

    I wouldn't be shocked, that's for sure. But like all the other corruption going on in high places, NOTHING will be done. Maybe those who were fear-mongered into getting these shots should file a class action lawsuit, and sue them out of existence. That would be a good start!

    June 7, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
  77. Rick Medina,OH


    The possibility of the swine flue scared the absolute hell out of me, since I spend my day around people (mostly strangers.) Now, I have a condition called neuropathy,which doctors trace to an auto immune reaction to the vaccine. I still face another 12 – 18 months of physical therapy. To hear that the vaccine may not have been necessary does not sit well at all.

    Medina, OH

    June 7, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
  78. Mike


    Who really exaggerated the swine flu threat? Try the media. Your network amongst all the others convinced a huge portion of Americans that catching the swine flu was inevitable, i.e. elderly and children... and for what? To cause a media induced panic that would lead to increased viewership? Why didn't your journalism duties catch the facts then?

    I think the media needs a reality check on their code of ethics before instigating another unnecessary panic for the sake of ratings.

    Mike – Texas

    June 7, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
  79. Common Sense

    I hate current day America.... it's ironic that current day America is un-American. We are apparently led by 2 year olds with no sense of responsibility or common sense. What a disgrace....our Four Fathers would be ashamed. Sad to say but true.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
  80. Allen in Hartwell GA

    Face it Jack, money makes the world go round. We all rant and rave about how we have rights and freedoms, but in fact we don't have anything that the people who control the money don't give to us. The only true right and freedom we have is to believe in our God and to end our lives by our own hand.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:29 pm |
  81. Steve

    It's deadliness seems far overstated, but I think that was more a media scare than WHO. I'm not so sure it's epidemic status was overstated, though. I got it, and many people I know got it. It was nasty, and I ended up with a week long stay in the hospital because I managed to get pneumonia along with it.

    They warned it was spreading and that it would be bad news. I got it, and it certainly did suck. So from my perspective, I can't really say anyone lied to me.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
  82. Don in Nevada

    It would just be another day of having an important thought hit the radar and then be forgotten the next. It doesn't matter now because like the rat that hits the button for food, they will come back with a worse H1N1 this season. It is good for business.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  83. DJ

    I am a very healthy adult male who recently contracted the H1N1. I have not gotten a flu vaccine for over 15 years and did not get the H1N1 vaccine. The virus hit me very hard and fast. According to my doctor, my good health and strong immune system allowed me to recover faster than most (still required medication but not hospitalization). However, I can see how the H1N1 could be life threatening to those who have health issues or compromised immune systems. I am not an advocate of vaccines, but in hindsight I would gladly have traded the flu for the vaccine.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
  84. Ralph Spyer

    Did the C.I.A invent aids? The pharmaceutical companies pay off doctors to use their products

    June 7, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  85. M Birch

    If this is the case, and I am cynical enough to think there are nuggets of truth here, my question back is who do we now trust? WHO is supposed to be neutral, operating for the best health needs of the public at large. Thousands of people got the vaccine, vaccinated their children and exposed their unborn to the vaccine all on this reccommendation; all mind you, without the knowledge of long term side effects of this drug. (sorry Big Pharma, I don't believe you when you say "of course it's safe". My own pediatrician didn't believe you, why should I?) Millions of people try to do their best to protect loved ones from illness and WHO and Big Pharma play on those fears to get us to buy more vaccines and take more drugs? It's irresponsible and unethical, not to mention immoral. It makes me sick to think they could have done this (although I'm sure Pharma has something I can take for that).

    M Birch
    Henderson, NV

    June 7, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  86. Kurt Mills

    Jack, I'm a pre-med student who lived in a dorm this past school year when H1N1 was spreading. About 80% of the kids on my floor got it, including my roomate. While all of them recovered, it was still very scary. I'm glad that the WHO was proactive because it's better to prepare for a deadly pandemic and it turn out not as bad than to be unprepared and have a scenario similar to the 1918 Spanish flu where millions of young people died.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  87. andrew rodenberg

    This article should have been printed months ago... like when CNN was joining in the business of scaring people. We all remember.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  88. Layne Alleman

    Jack, What If ???, come-on Jack, let's get real here. These are the same out-fits that are running commercials on your show telling Americans that if they can't afford their medicines, that the companies will cover it(try that one on for size). So let me get this straight, W.H.O. is going to launch TWO investigations of THEMSELVES !!!!!. Boy, kinda takes your breath away don't it. Next thing ya know, Congress will open-up sweeping investigations into legislative corruption on capital hill, people might have to answer questions truthfully, yada, yada, yada, and pigs will fly on their own. Layne A. Antioch,IL.S

    June 7, 2010 at 5:35 pm |
  89. Deborah C.

    I honestly believe this was a bunch of media hype. We've had worse flu outbreaks here. Impact on already struggling Mexico was devastating. I travelled all over Mexico at epidemic's peak, w/o incident, even in remote areas. Mom suffered kidney failure in '07 from a flu, died in '08, age 66.–Aiken, SC

    June 7, 2010 at 5:35 pm |
  90. Cheryl Cullihall, Vancouver, BC

    What if??? Are you kidding me? Of course the pharmaceutical companies had influence over this situation. Weather they had influence over the WHO telling governments to buy all that vaccine or they had influence over the government directly through lobbyists telling them to buy all that vaccine it is still just another example of money hungry corporations thinking only of themselves. Is anyone seriously surprised by this anymore?

    June 7, 2010 at 5:36 pm |
  91. Ryan

    I wouldn't be surprised. There's a stupid new disease scare every year. Watch out! You're going to die of: Bird flu, west nile, swine flu, SARS....

    June 7, 2010 at 5:36 pm |
  92. Wes

    You really need to ask, "What if"? Was there ever any doubt in your mind? This is one of the most common, powerful and lucrative techniques for moneymaking in this day and age..... It's the same technique that keeps people attending church... and the same technique that Bush used to frighten people into thinking invading Iraq was the proper response to 9/11.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:36 pm |
  93. Gigi Oregon

    When you say "influence" do you really mean lobbyists. If a candidate wants my vote in the future, he'd better run on how lobbyist are ruining the government/country and how he can get rid of them. And he/she has four years to accomplish the task. . Our government has influence from Churches to Pharmaceutical companies and the pay is great for them.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:36 pm |
  94. Jeremy D from Michigan

    Well, I'm not the person to backup pharm. companies, but "better safe than sorry" Jack. I didn't get vaccinated, but it was still good to know it was available.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:36 pm |
  95. dan

    No way! these guys just like the MMS have only our best interest in mind!!! how dare you question any one in authority!!!!!!

    hello what has the average american been saying all these years????

    strange bed fellows.. but i am sure a few of our elected officials profited from this some how???

    June 7, 2010 at 5:37 pm |
  96. Mary Schilhavy

    I hope that the drug companies did not engineer a panic. From the government's perspective, a new flu virus could be disastrous to our population and they cannot take that chance. My grandmother perished in the 1916 flu epidemic and my great-grandparents died in the 1918 flu epidemic. The government did the best thing for Americans.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:37 pm |
  97. Richard McKinney, Texas

    Well Jack what other agency do we have? I am not sticking up for the drug companies but come on. Getting a flu shot is a personal choice. I don't care how much hype you hear about it. In the world of 24 hour a day news and the internet if a person is under informed over informed or saturated with rumors lies and deceit we each get a choice in everything we do. Just ask Wolfe. We get Phoned, Tweeted, Dinged, Buzzed, Pinged, Spammed, Slammed, Emailed, Snail mailed, Texted, Hexed and Paged and many other forms of information and misinformation so blaming pharmaceutical companies for peoples gullibility or stupidity is like blaming people that vote for getting a moron elected. It is their right to choose regardless of how they came to that decision. Quite frankly I never take the Flu shot and take vitamin D each and every day wash my hands often and it works for me.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:37 pm |
  98. Thomas

    My favorite part of this story is that there are 70 million unused doses of the vaccine. I have 2 children and was scared to death about getting them sick. I tried for 3 months here in PA to get the vaccine. I was told by 4 different offices that they had them but that they could not give me the vaccine because they were saving them for people who really needed it.
    Sounds like they could have let go of a few here and there.
    This entire country is run by morons.........it does not matter who is in charge anymore.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:37 pm |
  99. Mike

    The idea that corporate lobbyists have influenced politicians for the gain of their employers shouldn't surprise anyone. The banks did it during the financial crisis to take trillions from the tax payers. The expression, "never let a crisis go to waste" clearly isn't limited to government. The hysteria created from this was egregious. Employees in the health industry were in some cases being forced to take these dangerous vaccines. And why doesn't anyone talk about the swine flu outbreak of 1976, when govt. vaccinated 40 million americans. One person died from the swine flu and 25 died from the vaccine and hundreds more contracted Guillain-Barre syndrome from it. This is just another example of the government using scare tactics to erode our liberties, enrich its corporate masters and increase its power over our lives.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:37 pm |
  100. Patrick

    Strategies of exageration and fear? You think? Big Pharma not only sells WHO on the "Pandemic", but also gets the participating governments to not only buy the vaccines, but also the fund the R&D as well. Kicker...this is the best...as their strategy paid off and vaccines were rushed to market without proper testing...the Pharma Conglomerates are protected from liability for adverse effects of the vaccines themselves.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:38 pm |
  101. Scott

    Really? You mean the pharmaceutical companies influenced W.H.O. to exaggerated the H1N1? I think this happens every time there is a supposed pandemic. Haven't we figured it out yet? The pandemic is not the illness, but the wide spread fear caused by the entire process of announcing it!

    June 7, 2010 at 5:38 pm |
  102. dru payne

    why would the government over exaxagerate they were trying to help us so it can not infect us and spread from us. P.S. I love the situation room.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:38 pm |
  103. Cory, Nashville

    Why is it every time the government (or anyone) takes the correct necessary actions to prevent some pending disaster and is successful at preventing it then everyone goes back and says there would have been no disaster? The fact is the response was fast and responsible. They did the right thing and give them credit for it! What did you want them to do? Wait around until we found out its SARS and kills everyone? Then we will complain how they weren't fast enough...Stop complaining and give credit where its deserved.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
  104. Steve Giles

    Canada and the US should unhitch their pandemic assessment and response planning from the WHO. While we should continue to support the WHO for the sake of poorer countries and to collaborate on the spread of diseases, we need to have the freedom to act on our own. My goodness, we should do the same for the global warming mis-information compaign.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
  105. ryan

    swine flu, bird flu, sars, and killer bees...

    i think we're due for another "killer ____" scare after three fake disease scares, how about killer possums?

    June 7, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
  106. Tom, Santa Barbara CA

    If that's the case, then it's just like the endless parade of drug ads already polluting the airwaves. And people wonder why health care costs so much.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
  107. Micheal

    This shouldn't be too much of a surprise. Pharmaceutical companies have been influencing health decisions for years. Why do you think that, when you go to the doctor, he/she ends up putting you on a prescription for a pill that he/she happens to have samples of on hand?

    June 7, 2010 at 5:41 pm |
  108. Ryan

    Jack, It's so obvious it's not even funny... the world gets duped once AGAIN by the corporate demons pushing fear/problem to sell the solution/crap. (crap that's given many people horrible adverse reactions BTW)

    Selling terror is the name of the game these days.

    Just look at the Global Warming fraud!!! That's a whole other story.

    God help us.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
  109. Smith in Oregon

    Big Pharma Inc. makes BILLIONS per year on each of the popular Rx's they sell. And Big Pharma corporations routinely have 6-12 popular Rx's that fall into that windfall category.

    Like any big drug dealer, Big Pharma spends a great deal of money lobbying medical community's, hospitals and of course dining the medical doctors, plying them with expensive gifts, favors, dinners and victoria secret's models.

    It should come as no surprise that Big Pharma is lobbying and bribing W.H.O as well. Halliburton gave Dick Cheney 34 Million dollars when it was found he would run as Bush's Vice President. Halliburton was routinely awarded no bid contracts in the Billions of Dollars in what appears to be a returning favoritism from the White House. And how much is the W.H.O getting from Big Pharma? Likely a handsome sum of money, favors, gifts and call girls, go figure!

    June 7, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
  110. Philip

    Common sense says "better safe than sorry." Sure they had an incentive to sell vaccines, but it was hard to judge the correct level of response. We would be much angrier with them if they didn't push for vaccine production, and it turned out we needed it. WHO shouldn't have to wonder if the threat is "serious enough" to respond to. We trade the efficiency of how money is spent for the safety net we will need at some point.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
  111. Kathy

    You ask what influence may have lead to an exaggerations of the H1N1 flu virus-simple-–MONEY-–
    Money influences everything- plain and simple-from politics to everyday living, – so sad the times we live in

    June 7, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
  112. Josh

    Or it was just the media that blew the entire thing out of proportion and WHO did exactly what they were supposed to...

    June 7, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  113. Don Sharp

    What if? Really? You're asking the wrong question... You should be asking, "What now?"... "How will people react now that it's obvious?"

    June 7, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  114. Nicole Friedl

    The WHO is in violation of its own rules, which would lead one to question why someone from the WHO doesn't have to answer for this. For some time now, the WHO has referred to this concept as a conspiracy theory, yet it has been proven that experts who advised WHO had ties to the pharmaceutical industry. Even the newly annointed "emergency committee," which claims the H1N1 pandemic is not over, has ties to a drug company. Until they admit their potential mistakes, take responsibility, and practice transparency, can they really be trusted?

    June 7, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  115. Mark

    Jack, the Spanish Flu in 1918 killed over 50 million people worldwide and that was a strain that literally killed people overnight. In today's world of air travel and overcrowded venues of all kinds, I don't think we can ever be "over prepared" for another Killer Flu that could bring mankind to it's knees in a matter of months.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  116. Geoffrey in Lowell, MA

    People did get the Swine flu. I didn't, I got a shot which my insurance company paid for. 15 minutes at my doctors office seemed a reasonable precaution even for a small possibility of getting it. Also, those of you who didn't get the shot, didn't get the flu because I got that shot. So, thank those of us who cared enough about our health and that of the public to get the shot. Inoculation decreases the number of infected people you are exposed to and decreases your risk.

    It would be sad if there was influence involved but that would not have changed my mind.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
  117. Jean

    What if? The UN and all its inter-organizations are owned by gobal big business and the NEW World Order, so why should we be surprised at the pharmaceutical companies influencing the greedy, bought-and-paid-for UN employees, specifically WHO? This is another reason exactly why the majority of Americans want the UN kicked out of the US – the UN has absolutely NO credibility – not with their "troops" in foreign countries "keeping the peace" (what a joke) or in the instance of WHO padding their pockets at the expense of the world population. I say kick them all out of the US and make them pay their own way and we keep our tax money that they are now bleeding off of us.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
  118. Brian, Grambling, LA

    Why is it when a politician takes money from a company or industry, he claims it has no effect on his decisions and that he votes his conscience without regard to who contributed to him, but when a scientist or doctor takes money from a company or industry, he's on the take and will make decisions to help that company or industry to pay back his benefactors?

    Either both activities are corrupt, or both activities have no effect on decision-making.

    And I think we all know the answer to this one.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
  119. Scott Grayban

    The so-called swine flu was just a hoax by the pharmaceutical companies that conspired with W.H.O. to make money.

    The facts are clear that the normal flu kills more people then the swine flu ever did. And the normal flu affects more people world-wide then the swine flu.

    If the swine flu was a epidemic then the normal flu should be a plague if they are going to follow statistics.


    June 7, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
  120. dave in nash

    The only real threat these drug companies were NOT involved in was the AID's epidemic. It was and still is real, but it tends to cleanse the parts of the population they don't intend to alarm. Shame on them, they were late on Hitler too.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
  121. NDG

    Seems to me, the media had as much to do with the hysteria as WHO, maybe even moreso.

    Even when there were doctors who were saying that the flu didn't look that bad and that the recovery rate was better than most, the daily TV and Web 'reports' were screaming about one death or the other for weeks following.

    Consdering there are 1000's of deaths each year in a normal flu season, it is difficult to understand how the handful of H1N1 related deaths got so much coverage.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
  122. ster

    Drug companies? Ha!

    It was CNN and other media outlets that pumped up this story... for WEEKS.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:51 pm |
  123. Alexa from VA

    I got swine flu last fall. It knocked me flat. I was completely incapacitated for about a month and still feeling it another month after that. I've never felt physically worse in my entire life. I find it completely believable that in someone with a weaker immune system it could have lead to hospitalizations and serious consequences. If the hype over swine flu lead to more immunizations in the people who needed it most- mothers with young children, kids, the elderly, people with compromised immune systems- then I don't care where that motivation came from, it helped to save people's lives.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:51 pm |
  124. Ryan

    We should ask the WHO if their relationship with PHARMA is profitable or not.


    From Alabama

    June 7, 2010 at 5:52 pm |
  125. pam

    Hey, yes, of course we believe big Pharma didn't push this along for their profit. That would be – like believing big military contractors always stick a fair price on the always near perfect supplies they sell to the military. Hey, I never heard any follow up on those bogus helmets they couldn't trace!

    June 7, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
  126. JR

    LOL, of course it was exaggerated!!! All viruses like that are suddenly called pandemics, epidemics, etc. Think about it....all of a sudden this H1N1 pops up, not enough vaccines available, the virus starts to die down, and all of a sudden, tons of vaccine!

    It's a friggin' joke! And of course, all the sheeple run out to get the vaccine, not knowing if it's real or not. Morons. Maybe it was a test to see how many of the sheeple in this world would follow?

    June 7, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
  127. Mark G

    Good question, Jack, especially surprising from you! The reports don't argue that the data was wrong, only that some relationships weren't disclosed. Appearance is everything in ethics and the WHO should have known better. A simple caveat by them revealing the ties would have sufficed, especially since the pedigree of the scientists and epidemiologists consulting for WHO are top notch.

    Pete Townsend really should have been on top of this... oh wait, wrong WHO.

    Mark G

    June 7, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
  128. Randy

    What if a so-called ally controlled our gov't, wall street, media, and any other lever of power and influence related to the well being of this country? What are we prepared to do about it?

    June 7, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
  129. T. Anderson - Virginia

    Question for your question, most countries have the equivalent of the USA's CDC, why didn't they watchdog or verify the W.H.O's claims?

    June 7, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
  130. Steve851

    Let's not forget the H1N1 hysteria that outlets like CNN promoted

    June 7, 2010 at 5:57 pm |
  131. Gary Worth

    Jack...PULLEESE.!!! Why should this issue be such a revelation? The influence of Big Pharma is insidious and pervasive throughout our society & culture. Millions upon millions spent by them annually to advertise pills to cure diseases that don't exist. The FDA has been corrupted and the American Medical Community is reliant on funding from drug makers, why not the WHO? Many illnesses can be treated and /or controlled with less expensive & more readily available medications, a proper diet and reasonable exercise. The research and proof is available if you wish to look.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:57 pm |
  132. Ryan

    All these so called 'flu threats' are constantly blown out of proportion. Remember when the 'bird flu' was supposed to kill thousands? The media always has a field day, people get scared, and the threat blows over. The only entity that benefits happens to be the pharmaceutical companies.

    Los Angeles

    June 7, 2010 at 5:58 pm |
  133. Jon

    Can this country do ANYTHING right??

    June 7, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
  134. Annie, Atlanta

    You mean they didn’t? Heck, we're now a country by the corporations, for the corporations, thanks to their wholly owned subsidiaries in congress. Scare the living hell out of us to increase profits and we’ll fall right in line, like lemmings. Our founding fathers wouldn’t recognize what we’ve done with the place.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
  135. Glenn H - Dallas

    "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. "

    Yeah, right.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
  136. Richard Hendricks

    Wait, we spend millions of dollars to avert a tragedy, and the tragedy got averted? Oh no, someone must have lied!

    Tell the families of the tens of thousands that did die this epidemic was overblown. This didn't hit the old or infirm, it struck down people in the prime of their lives, in the 20's and 30's, as well as children.

    What a crock. Get off your journalistic fat-ass and go ask a flu epidemiologist if H1N1 was a "scare" or "overblown." They'll tell you the truth, that we know less about flu than everyone thinks, and that we dodged a bullet here. It could have very easily gone the other way, with hundreds of thousands of deaths, or more.

    And now, because of incompetent reporting such as this, the next time is more likely to be "the big one".

    June 7, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
  137. Joseph Leff

    There's something not kosher about the swine flu anyway.

    Joe in Delray Beach, Florida

    June 7, 2010 at 6:02 pm |
  138. Brandon

    If this worst-case scenario had played out, and there hadn't been enough vaccines produced, these guys would have been stoned to death. Better to use too much caution than not enough... These clowns are going to spend more trying to convict the pharmaceutical companies than was wasted manufacturing all the vaccines...

    Brandon in Anchorage

    June 7, 2010 at 6:02 pm |
  139. Ricardo

    Now, that is a thought!!!!! What if the media led everyone to exaggerate swine flu threat? I will bet the media is more powerful than the farma companies and the WHO altogether.

    The media these days has perfected "fear as a sales tool" and it did with the H1N1 that same thing it does with anything that is perceived as calling people's attentiont to their headlines! That really includes yourself and the organization you work for (and I like you and like CNN!).

    Should you have asked the question you are asking then?

    June 7, 2010 at 6:02 pm |
  140. Phil-Eastern WA

    That's exactly what it was. Obviously the pharmaceutical companies and the WHO sleep in the same bed, resulting in ripping off the public for millions to further line their pockets. It'd be interesting to see how much these pharmaceutical companies make in profits annually. I think I want to sell drugs when I grow up.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
  141. keegs

    Wouldn't you know we could cure a lot of diseases too, but the drug company's would be broke and therefor the politicians won't be seeing lobbyist line there pockets anymore either.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
  142. Bri Guy

    I was an invited presenter at last years Gordon Research Conference on Microbial Population Biology and Evolution, which is THE most prestigious conference for this field. A field the directly studies how a virus like H1N1 evolves. In fact, one of the invited speakers was an expert on Influenza evolution. This was during the height of the hype before the flu season hit in the fall when H1N1 was all over the news. Let me tell you, every researcher I talked to was incredibly skeptical about the way our government was handling the situation. And academic researchers tend to be very liberal as our funding comes from tax payers. It is very uncharacteristic for these people to be outspoken about the government. A true shame that they were too cowardice to speak out in public.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:05 pm |
  143. Paul, Canada

    I would say the pharmaceutical companies wasted their time and effort because so many in American society panics so easily all you need to do is inject a few key words like 'pandemic' into the media discourse and you have an instant crisis on your hands. I never got immunized and didn't worry about it for one second, when you looked at the numbers involved, it was much to do about nothing.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:06 pm |

    Nothing these swine... I mean the drug companies do... surprises me.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:06 pm |
  145. John Compton

    To the families of people who died from swine flu, they probably felt that the threat wasn't emphasized enough. The reason this was a huge threat was because a far higher proportion of young, healthy people were dying, unlike what you normally see with flu, where the elderly were prone to complications.
    Just because there wasn't a pandemic doesn't mean that the WHO exaggerated the threat; it could mean that people were taking the necessary precautions. I know locally in North Carolina there were record visits to the doctor's office at the peak of the swine flu outbreak, meaning that when people got sick, they got treated quickly before the flu symptons became too serious.
    There are lessons to be learn from this. We still need improvements on getting vaccinations out early, and also making sure there's an continuous abundant supply when dealing with future threats. We still need to improve on containing outbreaks, because the swine flu was able to spread quickly throughout the country. However, I rather the WHO take threats seriously, and people be overly cautious than to realize too late that the virus was more deadly and contagious than we prepared for.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:06 pm |
  146. Linda Richards

    I was amazed to learn I could not find one independent study comparing test groups that did and did not get the vaccine. In fact, almost all of the news I read about H1N1 studies, including the one in the New England Journal of Medicine, were all repeating the same results of the same study; one done by a manufacturer of the vaccine. Until someone can give me better information, I'll just assume that the annual flu vaccine is a gift to Pharma from the taxpayers. I might add that we paid quite a premium as a result of all the hype.
    Linda in Woodbury, NJ

    June 7, 2010 at 6:07 pm |
  147. Teresa

    Both of our daughters (17 & 14 years old) caught H1N1 the same week. One had a mild case but she was still extremely weak for several days. The other, the youngest had a stronger case and had a lot of difficulty breathing for 3 or 4 days. It was pretty scary. This was in October at the height of the "outbreak" I don't think anything was exaggerated. When we took her to her pediatrician there was a non stop line of moms bringing in kids with the flu, every child tested that morning was testing positive. I think the information from WHO or NIH or CDC ...helped me realize that my youngest daughter's cough was to be taken seriously and we did, getting her to the doctor soon enough that she didn't need to be hospitalized. What if there was somebody influencing people at WHO...well, I for one am glad they got the word out that this flu was hitting young people the hardest. We took it seriously and saw how serious it was with our own eyes. It might not have been a pandemic, but it was a unique flu that needed to be taken seriously.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:07 pm |
  148. Jeff

    Dear Jack,

    For what it's worth, I think the WHO was right to issue alerts about the emergence of the H1N1 influenza strain, or swine flu. If the WHO hadn't reacted as they did, then your program would be criticizing the WHO for not doing enough. Moreover, the mere fact that this flu spread around the world so quickly in sustained human-human transmission met the definition of a pandemic.

    As for the relationships between the WHO and pharmaceutical corporations, I think it is helpful to have individuals who know how both the WHO and pharmaceutical industry work since cooperation is vital to confronting new diseases. In this case, many WHO labs work with governments and corporations hand-in-hand not only to identify new diseases, but also to produce the vaccine itself; a capability most governments and certainly the WHO do not have.

    I think the WHO responded well H1N1 and should serve as a good wake-up call to the fact that diseases can pop-up quickly. In fact, the lesson learned from this pandemic, mild as it was, is how can disease surveillance and monitoring be improved so as to stop the next new disease outbreak dead in its tracks before reaching pandemic status.


    Jeff Jackson
    Burlingame, CA

    June 7, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
  149. Sly

    Of course they're exaggerating! Rx companies need to justify their existence, and for the past few years at least the easiest way to do it is to exaggerate or even invent conditions that they just happen to have a pill for. It's all to keep their pockets fat.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
  150. G. Raymond

    A better question: What if the H1N1 swine flu had been as virulent as the 1918 Spanish flu and we waited to see how many died before taking action? We would ALREADY have had more than 15 MILLION DEAD around the world by now.

    What if BP had spent more on well safety? They didn't, and millions of animals will die, but not too many people. And look how much BP has already spent on recovery. Prevention would have been cheaper

    The truth is we don't know when a catastrophe will extend beyond our current preparations. I'm glad I was able to get a flu shot.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
  151. Burbank

    I think they did the right thing. It's better to err on the side of caution.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
  152. kevin mcbride

    Jack Cafferty:
    You don't know Jack about swine flu or vaccines do you?

    People died and are dying from the swine flu. That's not coming from a pharmaceutical company or WHO that's coming direct from CNN reports. So what if it several thousand instead of a million. A simple little shot could have saved them. Worst part was it was mostly young that died. With twits like you preaching the anti-vaccine line its likely to drive up preventable infectious disease deaths instead of down.

    PS: Vaccines development and manufacturing aren't one of the least profitable medical care ventures. Don't believe me? Look it up!

    June 7, 2010 at 6:09 pm |
  153. Nate

    It wouldn't be unheard of for corporate greed to use fear and uncertainty to create a market for a product, but the tiny profit margin on vaccines isn't the place I'd expect that to manifest. The big pharmaceutical cash cows are pills to treat stress, obesity, and erectile disfunction.

    In the case of the H1N1 vaccine there's good historical reason to be concerned about influenza – this was just public health officials doing their jobs, trying to avoid being poster children on some future CNN report on the topic of how those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

    Bloomington, IN

    June 7, 2010 at 6:09 pm |
  154. Ghost374

    Using fear to get rich...sounds like terrorism to me.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:12 pm |
  155. Maggy

    Duh? This is news. These companies rack up by preying on our fears.

    And BTW, I think they have a cure for cancer locked away in some dark safe.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:12 pm |
  156. Ben Jordan

    John, regrettably, I would not be surprised in the slightest.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
  157. John A

    It's the media and government that built up the latest virus that's going to kill us all! It seems to happen all the time – SARS, swine flu, etc. We've all been killed several times over by these "killer" bugs.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  158. Schrii

    While I DO believe that the "Severity" of the Virus was overestimated/overexagerated, in a way, what the WHO did was GOOD, it showed us how unprepared we would be in the event of a major viral outbreak.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  159. John, Fort Collins, CO

    It is obvious the H1N1 pandemic was way overblown, but I see the fraud caused more by the W.H.O. and their national sponsors that were knowingly conducting a practice exercise. I have no love for the pharmaceuticals, but I see them more as the lucky beneficiary than the instigators.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  160. Stuart

    Which is better? Be proactive, or wait for it to strike down untold numbers first? My daughter ended up in Children's Hospital for 45 days with renal and respitory failure (amongst other things) as complications of H1N1. For a "fake" virus, it sure did a great job of almost killing her. You better believe I got my son vaccinated as soon as possible... but I guess I'm just one of the "sheeple"..

    June 7, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  161. ZionMari

    IS anyone surprise? Big Oil, Big Pharma, etc., OWN our Nation.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  162. Delia, Katy, TX

    Nothing surprises me anymore. I always wondered about the recalls of drugs too. Are they recalling drugs, so you're forced to buy more (even if its another brand)? M-O-N-E-Y rules our world now. It is not about what's right or wrong, but what makes the most profit. If it were about right and wrong, we wouldn't have such high unemployment!

    June 7, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  163. lee

    I am a medical student and actively involved in issues regarding pharmaceutical industry influence. This article points out why there needs to be a separation between public health advocates/officials and those working for private industry. It benefits no one for the most trusted advisers on public health to have these conflicts of interest. There opinions will always be suspect, and thus may be ignored by the people they are trying to help most. Innovation and information is worthless without trust.

    AMSA PharmFree

    June 7, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  164. susi learn

    pharmaceutical companies manipulating the public and health organizations perception?

    why, i'm shocked. (rolls eyes)

    it's all about $$ jack, all about $$.


    June 7, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  165. ChicagK

    There is no one more corrupt and more ignorant than the world bodies like WHO or the UN, except maybe for the White House and the US News media! Global warming, H1N1, blah, blah, blah .... the ignorant imbeciles try to make money off of the masses with scare tactics! New journalists want to sell to advertisers, politicians want to make bribes from all companies, fraudulent researchers want to make money from corrupt politicians. It is call the Democrat Way, the Chicago Way, the Corrupt Way.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  166. Paul Austin, Texas

    These companies want us take drugs for anything from a sneeze to problem taking a pee back ache or just because we do not like the person next door. So Jack it is no surprise the drug companies had a big part in the swine flu scare.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  167. Scott J

    What does it matter Jack, a lot of healthy people did die? We were just lucky this time.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  168. Bruce

    There was total influence Jack, and they have designed a stronger version for this fall. Those of us who have listened to the likes of Dr. Bill Deagle, Alex Jones, and others have known this – seen the documentation, as of last spring. This is not news Jack

    June 7, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  169. noreen

    How many times do we go back into history to find a fix for the present? Better to be safe then sorry. Remember all the people that did die from the flu and what happened in 1918.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  170. Derek

    Well Jack, It's america the more lies the companies tell and using fear they more they will get in return. The swine flu wasn't even bad, many doctors who live in my area told me it's just like the regular flu virus. The W.H.O only lied to get people scared and using fear to get them vaccinated.

    It's sad how these companies work and it's really pathetic people "believe" in these companies.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  171. Shannon

    Thank you for bringing this up Jack! The H1N1 fear mongering was just to drive up profits. It was about money....it's always about money.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  172. jean2009

    Gee Jack,
    As far as I can tell you and every other talking head had a hand in hyping the Swine Flu.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  173. David

    Gee Jack- When a politician changes their story, we get replays of old clips that show their previous statements. Let's see the clips of CNN's coverage of deaths in Mexico City in May/June of 2009. And let's see your carping in the summer of 2009 about why there wasn't enough H1N1 vaccine to go around. And let's see the clips about rationing of the initial doses of vaccine in the fall of 2009, And then give us a replay of your latest expose' alleging that it was all a hoax perpetrated by pharmaceutical industry.

    Oh, and give us clips from the PBS specials about the 1918 flu so that we remember why we were all worried... because we seem to forget that this was a serious public health emergency that may well have been averted by the timely response of the unsung heroes in government organizations like the Centers of Disease Control who always seem to be fighting for every dollar they get.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  174. Katherine

    I believed this the first time I heard them start with the drill on the news. Of course that is what happened , that is how it all works and it amazes me that people do not see through the constant smoke screens that come out and are sensationalized. There is no way I would allow that garbage to be administered into my child or myself.
    Wake up people !!! Money , money , money , it is all about the money. Educate yourselves !!
    Open your eyes , please! Is everyone sleepwalking ?????

    June 7, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  175. James in TM

    Of course they did. it was a slow flu season they have to make there billions too. ....

    June 7, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  176. Kirby

    It should be no surprise when these health scares come out of the WHO, that its in bed with some portion of the pharmaceutical companies

    Its like being surprised that Haliburton and Cheney had no interest in WMD's in IRAQ .. yeah right.

    The answer is simple, fine the pharmaceutical companies for a percentage of the overabundance of the vaccine produced.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  177. Brandon

    im really not surprised at this. i had a feeling, or hope, right at the beginning that this was way over dramatized. seems i was right and now i know why. capitalism helped make this country strong but we let the corporations run the show and this is what happens.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  178. David P Vernon

    Tucson, AZ – And pigs might fly. Nobody knows in advance what will actually happen when a "new" virus is identified, especially a flu virus. Much better to have paid Big Pharma for millions of doses of unused vaccines than to have not made the vaccine and had millions of deaths instead. Besides, you have to go a long way to find any leading virus scientists who have no ties to any commercial treatment interests. Hindsight is 20/20 vision – if one knew in advance what would ultimately prove unnecessary, a lot of money could be saved, but one never knows until afterward which safety precautions taken will prove to have been unnecessary. Presuming that unlikely accidents or disasters will not happen is far more expensive – see Deepwater Horizon!

    June 7, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  179. noreen

    Thank God it wasn't as bad as it could have been. I would rather think that way.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  180. Joe

    Unfortunately, we live in a symbolic world of the haves and "have-nots". The "nots," symbolic of "naught" means zero, where we will continue to be oppressed, as long as big business influences the world of the masses. Until we learn to vote for representatives who will take care of our common interests, we will never have rights against the oppressors of the world. Pharmaceutical companies, representatives of world and local government agencies, and wealthy big business want the status-quot, and as long as we continue to vote these representatives into office (who in turn support corrupt world organizations, etc.), we stand to lose!

    June 7, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  181. Duane

    Can you say Baxter Pharma. 3 years prior to the outbreak they filed for the patent of the H1N1 and whamo 1 month after it was passed the breakout hit. Great for business?

    June 7, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  182. kawshish

    I've seen it a few times in the comments. Every year it seems like there is a new threat. SARS, Swine flu, West Nile, etc. Big Pharma is making BIGGGG bucks off of people and their fear of being unhealthy and dying from the dreaded supervirus. I wonder what is going to be the Scarry Virus this upcoming year, maybe Oil Spill Virus or (OSV) for short. Seems to be a popular term right now. Let's have a vote. SImon, Randy, what's her name and Paula (becuase we like paula better than Ellen.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  183. Jerry

    No surprise! Government agencies are all in bed w/one corporate giant or another. Didn't you read John Le Carre's "The Constant Gardner"?

    June 7, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  184. Joshua M

    The expected virulence of an emerging virus is always hard to predict, and regardless of the lower numbers of mortality rates, it does not change the fact that this virus did in fact impact young children very early in the flu season.

    My children among hundred of others within my own city in which I live were hit with this virus and as a result our clinics were packed with ill children for weeks. Mild symptoms to be sure, but not as deadly as it could have been. Simply put we got lucky.

    I would rather the WHO make a big thing out of the pandemic and have only mild symptoms and low mortality, rather than a WHO who hesitates, which results in massive loss of life, when Vaccines, and medication make all the difference.

    I think the men and women in the WHO acted responsibly, and that is all we can ask.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  185. Randy Holder

    Randy In St. Louis:

    I had a reasonable answer until I read all the other posts. Too bad there's not a vaccine for irrationality.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  186. Michelle in CT

    Better not have! Otherwise it is the Boy Who Cried Wolf story and will make folks less likely to listen to real health threats in the future! However, I will not be suprised in the least if this was the case. How sad.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  187. Lyn

    People were very upset that they weren't getting the vaccine out quickly enough, and I think that was because the Media kept ranting on about all of the deaths.
    That is all that was in the news, saying Obama wasn't protecting the people enough.
    There was enough that died, so the vaccine must have been needed.
    Damned if you do and damned if you don't.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  188. frank

    I used to work for a state health dept. You're all wet on the bias for this story. Influenza kills about 20,000 a year give or take. Nobody knows. Some cases turn into pneumonia. Its a guess. But, its usually old farts like you and Wolf. This time, it was kids that were dying, within days of onset of symptoms. That is a big deal. That's why the vaccination campaign was done.

    WHO is THE source for flu. The US and a lot of other countries spend a lot of money on their influenza research. The US CDC sends people there, the EU sends people there. Its not some conspiracy like you and most people like to think.

    Yeah we skated this time. But how many times are we going to keep on getting lucky? Go read about how people dropped like flies during the Plague Years. That should keep you awake at night. Keeps a lot of epidemiologists awake. And scared if something like that happens.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  189. Rose

    It would be criminal to scam a nation, but what else is new with big pharmaceutical companies.
    I was diagnosed with breast cancer this past November and my Oncologist said hype or not, better to be safe then sorry. I chose safe so I guess the jokes on me.

    Rose, Oakdale, CT

    June 7, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  190. John

    Dear Jack:

    It just seems to me that the final answer to ALL of this pharmaceutical / healthcare "stuff," is to take profit out of the system, period! That is to say, pharmaceutical companies should be not-for-profit. Hospitals should be not-for-profit. HMOs should be not-for-profit. etc. etc.

    There simply are no moral imperatives or ethical standards left within contemporary pharmaceutical / healthcare corporations. They exist for profit, for profit, only; not for the well being of humankind.

    Sooner or later, this system will collapse under the weight of its own absurdity.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  191. Dylan Handy

    Mr. Cafferty, your question is a loaded one. I, for one, am glad that the WHO reacted as seriously as they did. Extra vaccines held by governments?!?! Sometimes I wonder if the media will complain no matter what the reaction of government and supra-government agencies. How many times has the criticism been that policy makers hadn't acted aggressively enough, precisely due to the fear of spreading panic? If they are going to err, why not err on the side of caution? Hopefully this type of thinking does not take over in the event of a more serious pandemic. Remember, evaluation as to threat severity can only be precisely accomplished after the event. Better not to be dead wrong?

    Dylan Handy
    Alberta, Canada

    June 7, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  192. Gary from Brenham, TX

    Here’s my question to Jack: What if influence from pharmaceutical companies led CNN to further exaggerate the swine flu threat?

    June 7, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  193. Angela Charlotte, NC

    Who knows if they were influenced by the pharmaceutical companies, but you know the old saying Jack, "you don't need insurance until you need it."
    I guess the stress created, with the help of the media, was to cover the proverbial!!
    Incidentally, what about all the ads on TV for various complaints that keep you all in business? We are all so stressed out wondering if we need the newest drug to keep us healthy and sane, the pharmaceutical companies would go under or cost $$$$ less if they weren't advertising so much, or paying their lobbyists and politicians in Washington.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  194. Jesse Warren - Port St. Lucie, FL

    Jack what is wrong with you? Are you niave? The oil companies control oil prices, credit card companies charge worse than loan sharks, banks go unabated with interest rates and without loaning money. Does it surprise you about the WHO and swine flu? If Walmart and other pharmacies have to charge my wife over 700.00 for Provigil that I readily get from Australian pharmacies who ship it to my door from a German pharmacy for 83.00 delivered. The labels are exactly the same, it is packaged by the manufacturer in NJ and comes to me FDA approved. When you you figure it out that regular blue collar families are getting slimed by the swine aficionados?

    June 7, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  195. Harvey, FL

    Not the first time. Rummy tried to scare people to buy some strong antibiotics that he had a financial interest after 9/11. He said it was good to have to guard against biological threats. History repeats itself....

    June 7, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  196. iwant

    It's all about the almighty dollar. Create a panic and then sell them the cure. If you dont think so, you're as naive as most Americans.

    We can put man on the moon but cannot cure the common cold? Of course we can. Only thing is the Pharma-Co's own the patents on any type of cure. Why? So when cold and flu season hits, they can sell you something to counteract the symptoms instead of curing it........all in the effort to earn more and more money.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  197. Robert

    Pretty cheap stuff Jack! Lots of innuendo and not a shred of proof of collusion between the WHO and the pharmas. If I wanted to be cynical, I could state "What if CNN exaggerated the swine flu threat through its reporting, influenced by pharmaceutical companies to improve their sales". I remind you that in the first days of the swine flu pandemic, CNN was reporting almost full time, the minute by minute progression of the swine flu. Is that because CNN and the pharmas are in collusion? I guess you must be having a slow news day and could not find anything else to stir up.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  198. Corey, IL

    Better safe than sorry! Yes, more panic was generated than was necessary but all of the media attention certainly saved at least one life.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  199. Daniel,Virginia Beach,VA

    I think that the Pharmaceutical's were doing their jobs and and providing advice to the W.H.O., what they did with it is on them. Sure they made money on the situation, so unless there is something that proves they deliberately did this than I would think that they gave the best advice they could.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  200. Daniel Bednarik

    Jack – "We didn't even come close"...... yet. We will.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  201. ED

    More like the right wing media trying to turn it into Obama's fault.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  202. Jeff in Houston

    Would not surprise me at all. As I have been saying on this forum for quite awhile: Corporate America is out of control and the American Citizen means nothing.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  203. Bob Mears

    That does not suprise me at all. The way that money influences CEO's has been well documented here lately, if you know what I mean. But... I see the H1N1 just like this recession. Dorment for a while, and return later, (or in Europe) and finish off The Americam Dream. Its not over till its over. And the recession ain't over. Bob in Arizona.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
  204. Vaughn

    No surprise here, Jack. The pharmaceutical companies have been leading us around by the nose for years. They tell us what to hit our doctors up for by manipulating us with over-the-top advertising that more than borders on the unethical. They dangle the carrot of the almighty "silver bullet" and we jump on it like ravenous rabbits. When will we finally get the message that big business is all about making money? Duh.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
  205. Ruby Zimmerman

    So what else is new? Now you know why I pay no attention whatsoever to any statistics from major corporations. I've had enough brain-washing when I was young, not to recognize it when I'm old. Scare-tactics now have a reverse effect.

    Champaign, IL

    June 7, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
  206. Lawrence M Steinhart

    I am sure that Big Pharma had a lot to do with the epidemic "scare" – but I heard that another contributing factor was Rumsfeld's heavy investment in the company which manufactured Tamiflu (which was touted as THE only medication . . . . )

    June 7, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
  207. ScipioRising

    I got the shot back in 11/09 on a Saturday and by Monday I had a tickle in my throat and by Thursday I was pretty sick. Lasted 2 weeks. This was the first flu shot I have ever received and got it precisely because of all the hype about the Mexican Swine flu.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
  208. Marc

    Remember when the swine flu first broke out there were a number of deaths in Mexico. Then the deaths dropped, probably because the virus evolved to a less deadly form as it spread. However, nobody could know that, or could know whether it would continue to evolve to be similar to the seasonal flu or if it would be 2-3 times worse, or way worse. So vaccines were made. Now we want to second guess that and say that since we got lucky, we should have just crossed our fingers in the first place? That is insane. History tells us that new diseases break out from time to time and are as great a threat to human health as war or anything else. So if we dont have a deadly war one year, does that mean that paying for a defense which could make some company some money is suddenly a big conspiracy?

    June 7, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
  209. StevenP31

    I said that all along Jack! I never got the vaccine, nor did anyone in our house. Guess wat, noone got sick, nor did anyone I know. All these organizations are in bed with the pharmaceutical industry,W.H.O, F.D.A, E.P.A and any other initial you can think of!

    June 7, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
  210. Cortney, in CA

    I work with people all day, constantly, and not once have I encountered one person who came down with the swine flu this year.

    Thank you for finally exploiting these ties and their horrible agenda.

    What else was put into those vaccines that were hurriedly pushed for approval? Tracking devices? There's another topic for ya...

    June 7, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
  211. Jason

    just goes to show that the world and everything with it is built on greed

    June 7, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
  212. Joe

    Jack, a partial quote from the movie "Tulsa" with Susan Heyward:
    "It must be wonderful to be rich and powerful enough to step-on people, and to be respected for it."

    Meaning big business and the pharmaceutical companies.

    Joe, Binghamton, NY

    June 7, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
  213. Sonya, Kentucky

    If so, it would be beyond infuriating. The time, energy, and resources schools were required to spend from handwashing posters to managing parents' mass fear and everything in between could have been spent educating kids. And people wonder why schools can't get their misison accomplished.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
  214. M Birch

    Here's an even better question: do you take your chances that the hype is more hype than fact and just try to not catch H1N1, or do you get the vaccine, or worse yet, give it to your kids, only to find out months, weeks or years later that the vaccine itself caused them to become even more sick, or worse yet, die, because it wasn't safe? Welcome to the world of every parent out there who rode through this and still worries about it. Thanks so much for adding to it and making my job of trying to be a good parent and protect my child that much harder. All so that some CEO somwhere can buy a second yacht. I agree that "better safe than sorry" is a good policy when it comes to public health, and that the WHO likely has several people who simply wanted to help, but what if the "safe" in this scenario turns out to be worse than the disease? Guess that CEO can get a third yacht trying to cure their cure.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  215. Lois

    I didn't believe the Great Swine Flu Hoax and didn't get a shot, but I never get flu shots. Didn't get the flu either. WHO has now lost all credibility, like the boy who cried "wolf". So, if there's ever a really serious threat of disease, they'll be ignored. Collusion, anyone? Are profits really worth losing your credibility on a worldwide scale? Really bad karma for them; and you know "what goes around, comes around". Here's the clincher: they're adding all those Swine Flu doses to the "regular, seasonal" flu shot this upcoming season. Me and my family will stay away, thank you very much. And looks like Bill Maher has been vindicated.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
  216. Jwoo

    I would say it's more like the Federal Government exaggerated the swine flu – so that Obama's administration could be the heros during a pandemic.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
  217. ranch111

    As long as there is a pharmaceutical industry, you better believe that there will be fraud and exaggeration. Saw this for what it was from the beginning: a hoax spread by a gullible media unwilling to do the job of reporting facts. The fact that Americans buy this crap is no surprise.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
  218. Nick

    Why blame the pharmaceutical companies? Swine flu was like weapons of mass destruction, that all you heard when you turned on the tube! Creating mountains out of molehills is the standard today.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
  219. Patrick C. Wilson, PhD

    Yearly in the US there are approximately 36 million cases of influenza, normally from infections due to several different strains of influenza. The pandemic spread wildly, infecting 60 million in the USA alone by itself last year...I would say this did indeed represents a profound risk. We are quite fortunate that the demographic was atypical: for various reasons this influenza infected young people more than the elderly. The generally better health of the bulk of infected people is why there were fewer deaths. There was simply no way to know this, and with a future pandemic we may not be so lucky. To put it into perspective, imagine if the H5N1 avian influenza strains that had a 50% mortality rate was to spread as rapidly as the 2009 pandemic strain. Would this result in millions of deaths? This story is irresponsible and dangerous because it will discourage both health officials and industry from producing vaccines if there is an emergency.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:42 pm |
  220. Linda Sherwood

    THANK YOU for covering this. If this is ANY surprise to anyone, they'd be well served to remember: the drug companies are amongst the wealthiest in the wold & yield a great deal of power. and, like all corporations, their first LEGAL duty is to their shareholders, not their customers. It's just another case of money first, people second.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:42 pm |
  221. dorothy

    Of course the N1H1 was overblown. the medical community did not test it correctly and they with held the tamuflu meds at first then when someone got it, they over reacted..everyone was running around in circles..

    June 7, 2010 at 6:44 pm |
  222. jim

    So what's new. Pharmacuetical Companies buying Congressional people and making money by pushing needed Healthcare reform. Television networks taking money from these same companies to push their unneeded drugs. Everybody with their hands in my pockets to help themselves to some unearned cash.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:45 pm |
  223. Matt R

    Unfortunately the last H1N1 fiasco is ultimately going to cost lives. Influenza is extremely scary and we are well overdue for a deadly pandemic. People aren't going to take it seriously next time – at least until they start coughing up bloody foam and drowning in it.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:45 pm |
  224. jeff smith

    If you have a loved one who died from it the warning was not enough, if you did not get the shot and did not get the swine flu the warning was too much.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:48 pm |
  225. clark1b

    and what if the people with the most knowledge in the health field had little to no influence on the WHO?

    then, what kind of decisions would be made?

    it would be like not having "green fuel" experts not in the room when the federal government was creating energy policy.

    the problem is not if the experts have influence ... the real issue is what values do they use when making decisions and creating their agenda. Which gets back to the character of the person(s) ... and this includes both those within industry and those in the government.

    but then, I hear a lot of people including the media saying that character doesn't matter ......

    June 7, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
  226. Provinganegative

    Had WHO and CDC not pushed H1N1 vaccine, and an outbreak did occur, they'd be crushed for not having done enough. Look, a virulent flu killed a number of young people in Mexico. Young people don't die from flu unless there's a new and dangerous strain. The response, appropriately, was a push to get the world vaccinated and fast so we don't repeat 1917. That's was the responsible thing to do with the information known at the time. Two years after the fact and every armchair quarterback thinks they're a flu expert.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:58 pm |
  227. Derek F

    H1N1 could have been disastrous. It takes us several months to produce vaccine so the WHO has to take these threats seriously and take action long before a deadly mutation can occur. Even though a deadly mutation might not occur and people start to complain of waste and unnecessary fear. We can avoid some wasted spending when we can produce vaccine in a couple of weeks, but not before.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:58 pm |