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Academics paid by drug companies to whip-up media health scares
About the author: 
WDDTY Team

Health scares in the media are often fuelled by academics with links to drug companies that would benefit from the panic, an independent report has found

Health scares in the media are often fuelled by academics with links to drug companies that would benefit from the panic, an independent report has found. Even the World Health Organization (WHO) was found guilty of the practice after it warned of a swine flu 'pandemic' in 2010 that never happened.
Although academics are trusted sources, those with pharmaceutical links were eight times more likely to advocate the use of an anti-viral drug to treat the H1N1 virus responsible for swine flu, say researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
The panic that was whipped up clearly worked: the UK government alone spent lb1bn on pharmaceuticals, including antivirals, to counter swine flu, and the pharmaceutical industry earned up to lb6.5 bn from the sale of H1N1 vaccines alone.
The researchers analysed 425 articles published in the newspapers about swine flu. Academics were the second most quoted sources after government officials, 30 per cent of whom had drug industry links. More than half the claims they made were exaggerated and went beyond the official view.
However, even the 'official view' was tainted; one in three of the experts on the WHO's emergency committee had drug company links.
(Source: Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 2013; doi: 10.1136/jech-2013-203128)


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