Swine flu risk was inflated by experts with links to drugs industry


Academics with links to pharmaceutical firms were more likely to inflate the risks of the 2009 swine flu pandemic and inadvertently promote the drugs developed by the industry, a study has found.

Tamiflu was stockpiled by the government in 2009 when it was feared the new swine flu mutation would sweep the world. The study found that between April and July of that year, 35 of the 74 “risk assessments” made by academics in the media came from experts with links to the industry.

Those promoting the use of antiviral drugs were eight times more likely to have pharmaceutical industry links than those not commenting on their use. The paper, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, said the findings were “disturbing”.