How the WHO-Big Pharma Complex Drummed Up the Phantom 2009 ‘Swine Flu’ Plague and Made a Killing
There's a revolving door between WHO and Big Pharma and national health institutes and nobody cares or even takes notice
With our collective short term attention span, the year 2009 feels like ancient history. But the same experts and systems are in place today, only 11 years later. Even the doomsday prophecies in media are the same, making the parallel between swine flu and Covid-19 highly conspicuous. Some highlights from the documentary:
- In 2009, the world greatly feared a new virus showing up in Mexico. After a few months, it quickly turned out it was nearly harmless, with exceptionally low death rates.
- Even so, the World Health Organization decided to declare an official pandemic. Directions from the WHO are not binding for states, but they create a very strong political pressure.
- The WHO’s decision to raise the alert from phase 4 and 5 to phase 6 was based on technical criteria that were changed in an unclear bureaucratic process, and was now based on geographic distribution. How many people actually die or get seriously ill in the world, was from 2009 no longer a central criterion for declaring a pandemic. Geographic spread was now the essence, even with a minuscule amount of cases.
- The pharma industry and the WHO were in agreement: the worldwide flu danger made heavy use of medicines necessary. The increase to phase 6 meant billions of dollars in investments in vaccines and medicines.
- The measures that most states implemented after the declaration were based on WHO warnings. In France, five months after the outbreak of swine flu, the Health Minister still declared it as highly dangerous, even though this was already obviously not the case.
- The pharma industry has a heavy presence inside the WHO in Geneva. Officially they are only there as observers, but have infiltrated the system.
- There are a number of central people who have worked in the pharmaceutical industry and then carried that way of thinking over into the WHO, and in such a way that they make sure WHO’s decisions are friendly to the pharma industry. Later in their careers, they can switch back to big pharma.
- Also health politicians and scientists at national levels have close economic and career ties to the pharma industry.
- At the beginning of the millennium, the pharma industry faced slim profit prospects. There were no new products protected by lucrative patents, and they asked themselves how to get those earnings up
- The first attempt at hyping up a pandemic threat was the much-hyped bird flu “epidemic” of 2003. It is worth pointing out that the very same experts that cried out against the swine flu, were the same ones who had cried out against bird flu.
- With the declaration of a pandemic, a principle of pharma marketing was adopted. Nothing sells medicine like fear.
- The pharmaceutical company Roche made giant profits from a supposed flu medicine Tamiflu once before, in 2003, when the bird flu gave the company record revenues. There were essentially no evidence that this drug with significant side effects reduced the risk of severe complications or made hospital stays unnecessary, but many national governments bought billions of dollars’ worth of medicine for the anticipated 2009 swine flu.
ARTE is a French/German government highbrow TV-channel. Because of its small, elite viewership, it can allow itself to commission daring documentaries that would never see the light of day in media with broader audiences. Of course, this editorial freedom has been severely curtailed even here, especially since 2014.