Public health officials now say they have quit keeping tabs on swine flu deaths because it is too difficult. A more likely explanation is that fear mongering would be impossible if they continued to announce the low rates of swine flu deaths and vaccine profits would take a nose dive.
"It's absurd to panic about swine flu, especially since it won't cause severe disease in many people," says Juan Gérvas, Honorary Professor, Public Health, School of Medicine, Autonomous University in Madrid, Spain, in the September 21, 2009 paper titled, "In the Face of Swine Flu, Common Sense and Science," on the Healthy Skepticism website.
"The current WHO messages, which are increasing fear of swine flu is a form of disease mongering," he warns.
"We need a health policy of common sense and self-control," Professor Gérvas advises.
"The present messages by Governments, the WHO and the media focusing on the worst case scenario and the detailed description of each death is the completely wrong approach," he says.
On July 21, 2009, Spiegel Online interviewed epidemiologist, Dr Tom Jefferson, who has worked for the Cochrane Collaboration, an international team of scientists, for 15 years.
"Sometimes you get the feeling that there is whole industry almost waiting for a pandemic to occur," Jefferson said.
He then listed the WHO, public health officials, virologists and the pharmaceutical companies. "They've built this machine around the impending pandemic," he said. "And there's a lot of money involved, and influence, and careers, and entire institutions!"
"And all it took was one of these influenza viruses to mutate to start the machine grinding," Jefferson pointed out.
"It's true that influenza viruses are unpredictable, so it does call for a certain degree of caution," he advised.
"But one of the extraordinary features of this influenza -- and the whole influenza saga," he said, "is that there are some people who make predictions year after year, and they get worse and worse."
"None of them so far have come about, and these people are still there making these predictions," he pointed out.
"For example," he asked, "what happened with the bird flu, which was supposed to kill us all?"
"Nothing," he said. "But that doesn't stop these people from always making their predictions."
Big Pharma Bonanza
On August 13, 2009, Dr Joseph Mercola, author of "The Great Bird Flu Hoax," explained how swine flu vaccine makers were set to profit by $50 billion.
"According to Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), vaccine makers could produce nearly FIVE BILLION pandemic flu shots per year in the best-case scenario," he wrote.
"And according to Business Week, wealthier countries like the U.S. and the U.K. will pay just under $10 per dose, while developing countries would pay less," he said. "If these facts hold true, Big Pharma stands to gain up to $49 billion a year on the swine flu vaccine alone."
As of 2009, "there has been no funding of a compensation program for children or adults injured or killed by vaccines or drugs used under an EUA (Emergency Use Authorization)," according to the National Vaccine Information Center.
In March 2008, Roche and Glaxo added new labels to Tamiflu and Relenza to warn of abnormal psychiatric behavior in some patients.
The drug makers said the revisions reflected recommendations made in November 2007 by an FDA advisory panel that reviewed the cases, which have been seen mostly in Japan.
"At that meeting, FDA staff described reports of about 700 cases of psychiatric adverse events for both drugs and 25 pediatric deaths from various causes in patients taking Tamiflu, reported to the agency through May 2007. No fatalities were reported for Relenza," the Guardian reported on March 4, 2008.
On August 10, 2009, the Financial Times reported that the "medicine now being widely handed out by the government for treating pandemic flu offers only modest benefit in children and adults in seasonal outbreaks of the virus," according to British researchers.
In an article in the British Medical Journal, a group led by Matthew Thompson at Oxford University said use in children under 13 of Tamiflu or Relenza reduced the duration of flu symptoms by an average of 12 to 36 hours with no decline in asthma or the need for antibiotics.
The authors concluded that the drugs "provide a small benefit by shortening the duration of illness in children with seasonal influenza and reducing household transmission".
"The findings came after a separate article published last week in Lancet Infectious Diseases, by researchers led by Jane Burch at the University of York, concluded that otherwise healthy adults showed a reduction in symptoms of just over half a day earlier when taking the drugs," the Gardian pointed out.
On August 20, 2009, The Indepedent reported that the Oxford researchers said children should not be given Tamiflu or Releza to combat swine flu.
They warned that Tamiflu could cause vomiting in some children, which could lead to dehydration and the need for hospital treatment.
Overall, "the researchers said, children who were otherwise healthy could suffer more harm than benefit from taking Tamiflu or another anti-viral, Relenza," the Independent advised.
Study co-author, Dr Carl Heneghan, a clinical lecturer at Oxford, said the current policy of giving Tamiflu for mild illness was an "inappropriate strategy".
Dr Heneghan said the only benefit found in the study was that children were back to normal half a day to one day earlier if taking Tamiflu or Relenza.
"The downside of the harms outweigh the one-day reduction in symptomatic benefits," he advised
"And he warned that widespread use of Tamiflu could result in the flu becoming resistant to the drug," the Independent reported.
Although the children in the studies analyzed were being treated for normal seasonal flu, Dr Thompson said the findings would extend to the current swine flu pandemic.
"I don't think we have got any reason to think our results would be any different," he told the Independent.
"The current swine flu is generally a mild flu illness...it does not seem that different from current seasonal flu," he said. "We would be happy to say our results apply to the current swine flu strain."
The research published in the BMJ "follows two recent studies which found that more than half of children taking Tamiflu suffered side-effects such as nausea, insomnia and nightmares," the Independent reported.
Tamiflu was banned by the Japanese ministry in 2007 for use with 10- to 19-year-olds.
1976 Swine Flu Replay
As a kick-off to the 1976 swine flu propaganda campaign, Salon Magazine reports that in February 1976, F David Mathews, Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare told Americans:
"There is evidence there will be a major flu epidemic this coming fall. The indication is that we will see a return of the 1918 flu virus that is the most virulent form of the flu. In 1918 a half million Americans died. The projections are that this virus will kill one million Americans in 1976."
On March 24, 1976, President Gerald Ford asked Congress to appropriate $135 million "for the production of sufficient vaccine to inoculate every man, woman, and child in the United States."
"I am directing the Secretary of HEW David Mathews, and Assistant Secretary, Dr. Cooper, to develop plans that would make this vaccine available to all Americans during the 3-month period from September to November of this year," he said.
"I am asking each and every American to make certain he or she receives an inoculation this fall," Ford added.
"The reaction to the shot, I am told, may mean a few sore arms for a day or two--a very small price to pay for this vital protection," he advised.
The swine flu vaccination program began on October 1, 1976. Ten weeks later, after more than 40 million people were vaccinated, the government halted the program on December 16, 1976, due to the high number of severe adverse events occurring with the vaccine.
"The federal government ultimately reached court settlements and paid more than $90 million to hundreds of victims who said the 1976 vaccine caused neurological problems," according to a May 9, 2009 report in the Washington Post.
This time around, the Department of Health and Human Services "plans to eventually vaccinate at least 160 million people by December, with pregnant women, healthcare workers, children and young adults at the front of the line," Reuters reported on August 24, 2009.
This article series continues with part four, to be published tomorrow...