A fake swine flu scare was flammed up to line the pockets of drug firms leaving taxpayers with a £1.2 billion bill and 132 million doses of unwanted vaccine. Now an investigation demanded by Euro health chiefs is underway as the swine flu scam is set to reach epidemic proportions.
A mere six months ago and the country was gripped by swine flu fever, the world on the brink of a global disaster and ministers milking it for all it's worth. A dose of swine flu was just what spin doctors ordered.
Now the Council of Europe is accusing several major drug firms of deliberately flamming up a 'false pandemic' so they could make a fortune selling vaccine.
Useless health secretary Burnham is in The Thick Of It* but can hide behind a cherry-picked bunch of 'advisors'.
With fears over swine flu reaching fever pitch, Burnham and his chief medical officer crony, Donaldson, gravely predicted 100,000 new cases a week and up to 65,000 deaths, branding anyone who dared to disagree "extremists".
Ominously the Council's health chief says firms planted 'their people' in the World Health Organisation and other influential organisations to spread alarm.
The Orange Party never believed this swine flu fever was kosher.
There's nothing like a global disaster of epic proportions to whip up a media frenzy and bury bad news and this was nothing like a global disaster.
Thoroughly pig sick of the swine flu hype and as noted at the time: "Whipping up a fake crisis does wonders for pharma firms profits, set to make a packet out of anti swine flu vaccines."
Shock news of 'deaths from swine flu' was far too simplistic. How could a death be directly attributed to swine flu and not an underlying medical condition? Swine flu hot lines were swamped with spikes coming predictably on miserable Mondays and an excuse to bunk off work.
Over-hyped and way over the top, the BBC proclaimed: 'Too late' to contain swine flu. "The deadly swine flu virus can no longer be contained, says a WHO official, as the health agency raises its alert level."
All scary stuff. But swine flu has turned out to be a damp squib and soggy handkerchief, milder than seasonal flu and the usual winter bugs.
The swine flu outbreak was a 'false pandemic' driven by drug companies that stood to make billions of pounds from a worldwide scare, claims Wolfgang Wodarg, head of health at the Council of Europe, accusing the makers of flu drugs and vaccines of influencing the World Health Organisation's decision to declare a pandemic.
Wodarg has branded the H1N1 outbreak as 'one of the greatest medical scandals of the century'. "We have had a mild flu," he said, "and a false pandemic."
Ominously Dr Wodarg also claims that to further push their interests, leading drug companies placed 'their people' in the 'cogs' of the WHO and other influential organisations: "In order to promote their patented drugs and vaccines against flu, pharmaceutical companies have influenced scientists and official agencies, responsible for public health standards, to alarm governments worldwide."
Last year, the Mail revealed that government swine flu adviser, Roy Anderson, also holds a £116,000-a-year post on the board of GlaxoSmithKline, maker of anti-flu drugs and vaccines.
The Mail reports the company, which still employs Anderson, said he had declared his commercial interests and had not attended any meetings related to the purchase of drugs or vaccine for either the government or GSK.
The country’s most senior doctor, chief medical officer Donaldson, unexpectedly quit last month, stepping down two years too late according to junior doctors amid accusations of an over-reaction to swine flu and being too close to government.
The swine flu scam has left Burnham sitting on more than £1 billion of unwanted vaccine with enough stockpiles of anti-viral drugs and cute face masks to set a new fashion trend and pharma firms laughing all the way to the flu vaccine bank.
*The Thick Of It, series 2 episode three: Hapless minister Hugh Abbot gets in a pickle over a hand-picked advisor.