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WHO's response to swine flu pandemic flawed/ AP-WaPo

Posted Mar 10 2011 5:06pm
By MARIA CHENG, The Associated Press-Washington Post 
Thursday, March 10, 2011; 12:50 PM
LONDON -- An expert panel commissioned by the World Health Organization to investigate its handling of the swine flu pandemic has slammed mistakes made by the U.N. body and warned tens of millions could die if there is a severe flu outbreak in the future.

The U.N. health agency established the review committee to evaluate its performance after the 2009 global outbreak of swine flu, or H1N1. In a draft report released on Thursday, the committee said WHO performed well in many ways, but made crucial errors.

The group described WHO's definition of a pandemic and its phases as "needlessly complex," criticized the agency's decision to keep the members of its advisory committee secret, and said potential conflicts of interest among those experts, some of whom had ties to drug companies, were not well managed.

It warned that under WHO's health oversight, the world is not ready to handle a major health disaster in the future . . .

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