Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development
The Social, Health and Family Affairs Committee of PACE is due to adopt the report by Paul Flynn (United Kingdom, SOC) on “The handling of the H1N1 pandemic: more transparency needed” at its meeting in Paris on 4 June.
On this occasion, the committee members will be holding an exchange of views with Fiona Godlee, Editor-in-Chief of the British Medical Journal.
The exchange of views, from 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., will be open to the press. It will be followed by the Committee’s adoption of the report, which will be held in camera.
Mr Flynn’s report contains a critical analysis of the handling of the H1N1 pandemic, claiming that the decisions taken lacked transparency. The rapporteur mentions a number of problems: waste of huge sums of public money, provocation of unjustified fear amongst Europeans, creation of health risks through vaccines and medications which might not have been sufficiently tested before being authorised in fast-track procedures and distortion of priorities of public health services all over Europe. He considers that these results need to be critically examined by public health authorities at all levels with a view to rebuilding public confidence.
Following the adoption of Mr Flynn’s report by the committee, the Assembly will discuss it at its next plenary session (21-25 June 2010).
The committee held a first public hearing in January, attended by representatives of the WHO, the pharmaceutical industry and independent health experts, following a motion by the outgoing Chair of PACE’s Sub-committee on Health Wolfgang Wodarg on “faked pandemics”. A second hearing took place in March, with the participation of the Polish Health Minister. As part of his inquiry, the rapporteur met the British Secretary of State for Public Health and visited the Geneva headquarters of the WHO.
During the Committee meeting, a second exchange of views is scheduled with Eugenia Roccella, Italian Undersecretary of State from the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Policies, in preparation for the report drafted by Christine McCafferty (United Kingdom, SOC) on women’s access to lawful medical care and the problem of the unregulated use of conscientious objection.
Practical information for the media
The meeting takes place at the Council of Europe office in Paris (55 avenue Kléber, Paris 16ème, Metro: Boissière)