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WHO swine flu experts ‘linked’ to drug companies

Key scientists behind World Health Organization advice on stockpiling of pandemic flu drugs had financial ties with companies which stood to profit, an investigation has found.

The BMJ says the scientists had openly declared these interests in other publications yet WHO made no mention of the links.

It comes as a report from the Council of Europe criticised the lack of transparency around the handling of the swine flu pandemic.

A spokesman for WHO said the drug industry did not influence its decisions on swine flu.

Guidelines recommending governments stockpile antiviral drugs were issued by WHO in 2004.

The advice prompted many countries around the world into buying up large stocks of Tamiflu, made by Roche, and Relenza manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline.

A year after the swine flu pandemic was declared, stocks are left unused in warehouses and governments are attempting to unpick contracts.

Read more at BBC Health.

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