Vaccine lobbyist and conflicts of interest


Conflicts of Interest and Lessons Not Learned

Virologist Ab Osterhaus makes the case for vaccines. As a vaccine lobbyist, he has already cost the Dutch state many millions of Euros when he used frightening stories about swine flu in 2009 to encourage the Dutch government to purchase vaccines on a large scale. They numbered 34 million, two for every Dutchman. Only 10 million of them were used.

This story may be dated, but the pattern of vaccine marketing is not. Take the past corona flu with the extremely aggressive marketing for vaccines, where even the Dutch government, particularly Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Health Minister Hugo de Jonge, was committed to the pharmaceutical industry. Not only did the vaccines, like any medication, turn out to be far from harmless, but these drugs, the campaign surrounding them and “wage support” have cost the Dutch State many billionsJuly 2021, the tally stood at over 76 billion euros. Haven’t we learned anything from the past?

`by C.F. van der Horst
2015, updated in 2022
Photo: Conflict of interest by Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 Pix4free


Back to swine flu and the consequences of the incitement by Ab Osterhaus. Then-MP Khadija Arib responded to the affair: “I think it is scandalous. This is public money and I find it really incomprehensible that contracts were entered into at the time, which later turned out to be unnecessary.”

Physician microbiologist Miquel Ekkelenkamp, a columnist for Medisch Contact, a weekly journal for doctors published by the doctors’ association KNMG, felt that Osterhaus was unnecessarily spreading panic.

Ab Osterhaus, vaccine-lobbyist pur sang (2016). CC BY 3.0 Creative commons door 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
Ab Osterhaus (2016)
vaccine-lobbyist pur sang

CC BY 3.0 Creative commons
by 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Vaccine Lobbyist as Scaremonger

The vaccine lobbyist succeeded in his intent to spread panic. Flu drugs were purchased en masse. Former Health Minister Ab Klink mentioned in weekly Elsevier that the costs for the swine flu shot could be as much as 700 million euros. In the end, the loss amount was dramatic. However, it was not as bad as Klink portrayed, as 250,000 vaccines were sold abroad and 3 million were sold back to the pharmaceutical industry. No doubt at a loss. In addition, 20 million vaccines worth €7.20 each were destroyed, RTL News reported.

Conflict of Interest

After the swine flu affair, there was an investigation into conflict of interest because Osterhaus is co-owner of Viro Clinics BV. Since that company would not be directly involved in the production and supply of the vaccines, he went free. What has never been properly exposed, however, is that Osterhaus has been the president and vaccine lobbyist of the European Scientific Working group on Influenza (ESWI) since 2000.

European Scientific Working group on Influenza and other Respiratory Viruses (ESWI) is a front group for the pharmaceutical industry

European Scientific Working group on Influenza and other Respiratory Viruses (ESWI) is a front group for the pharmaceutical industry

ESWI is a front group for and sponsored by major pharmaceutical companies:

  • Hofmann-La Roche
  • AstraZeneca
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Seqirus (formerly bioCSL)
  • Sanofi Pasteur
  • Viatris
  • Janssen

ESWI previously proclaimed on its website to strive to achieve a 75% vaccination rate among the elderly. That target was probably too sensitive and has been removed. However, ESWI does now cover a broader scope: all respiratory viruses (influenza, RSV* and COVID-19) are now targeted. Its mission in doing so is: “To reduce the burden of severe acute respiratory virus infections by promoting stakeholder communication and interdisciplinary research in Europe.”

As voting chairman of the ESWI and vaccine lobbyist, agitator Osterhaus tried to contribute greatly to that with his scary stories about swine flu.

*RSV: respiratory syncytial virus. The virus mainly causes severe illness in young babies who become stuffy due to inflammation of the small airways (bronchiolitis) or pneumonia.

Very Large Influence of Vaccine Lobbyist

Osterhaus was a member of the Netherlands’ highest advisory body, the Health Council, at the time of swine flu. Although he was not allowed to vote after all the fuss in 2007, he is still considered an expert. Even at the time of the Corona crisis, he was regularly in the news with interviews.

Did you know that Ab Osterhuis is a veterinarian? In 1978, he received his doctorate from Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Utrecht University with a dissertation on a viral disease in cats caused by a coronavirus. He focused increasingly on viruses and was appointed professor of virology at Erasmus University in Rotterdam in 1993. He is therefore known as a virologist, but that is not a protected title.

Where general practitioners and specialists must take the Hippocratic Oath, Osterhaus has not. Yet, to this day, the man gives sweeping advice that has major implications for the public health of all Dutch people.

Even More Conflict of Interest: MUGAS

The conflict of interest went deeper. At the time, Osterhaus was also a member of the Review Board of another ‘independent’ pharmaceutical front, the MUGAS (Multiparty Group for Advice on Science). The February 8, 2015 edition of the Dutch Journal of Medicine reported on MUGAS: “Indeed, this group presents itself as independent, despite the fact that Roche financially supported their research. Three of the four authors of the article in The Lancet have been paid by Roche in the past. Three of the four board members have financial ties to Roche or Tamiflu’s patent holder, Gilead. One of them is Ab Osterhaus, who, in NOS News on February 7, 2015, called on people with chronic diseases to go to the doctor with flu symptoms in order to prevent serious complications with an antiviral drug. The value of this opinion can be doubted based on the available scientific data and the potential conflict of interest.”

Despite costing the Dutch State (the tax payer, that is) a huge amount of money in 2009, he did not learn his lesson. Anno 2022, he is and remains the Netherlands’ largest vaccine lobbyist.

Given the corona flu measures, the government has not learned anything from the lessons of the past either. Ministers often do not serve more than four years, but civil servants stay and they could have at least made a fuss in protest.

Scientists as Marketing Instruments

Conflicts of interest are not unusual in the Netherlands. In the book Deadly Lies: How Doctors and Patients Are Deceived you will find extensive documentation on how scientists are being employed by the various (pharmaceutical, agrochemical, and food) industries, thus deceiving doctors, legislators, and advisory committees. Conflicts of interest turn scientists into the industry’s marketing instrument.

"Deadly Lies. How Doctors and Patients Are Deceived" describes the conflicts of interest of government officials and scientists, the mass marketing of the pharmaceutical industry, and the lies used to deceive both physicians and you.

“Deadly Lies. How Doctors and Patients Are Deceived” describes the conflicts of interest of government officials and scientists, the mass marketing of the pharmaceutical industry, and the lies used to deceive both physicians and you.

Film Clip on Vaccines

Finally, here is a film clip about what Osterhaus is promoting. It contains unvarnished criticism of vaccines and does go far by calling Osterhaus a criminal C.F. van der Horst and the Deadly Lies Team distance themselves from this statement. However, the footage shows that he is a vaccine lobbyist pur sang and that the vaccine story is not conclusive. Unfortunately, it is only in Dutch. Judge for yourself especially with all the fuss surrounding corona vaccines, there may be a lesson to be learned here.

Want to Know More?

How is it that Osterhaus’ background at the ESWI and MUGAS has never been seriously uncovered? Why is Osterhaus still so influential? Should children or the elderly be vaccinated? What is the sense and nonsense of vaccination programs?

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Copyright © 2015, 2022 C.F. van der Horst, Per Veritatem Vis. All rights reserved.

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