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Letters Response

WHO Director-General replies to the BMJ

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 29 June 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c3463
  1. Margaret Chan, director-general1
  1. 1World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland 1211
  1. feigc{at}

    In her editorial accompanying the feature on conflicts of interest at the World Health Organization,1 2 Godlee notes that it is “almost certainly true” that the mildness of the H1N1 pandemic, compared with the severity long expected from a virus like H5N1, has contributed to the current critical scrutiny of WHO’s decisions. As the editorial further states, this reality does not make it wrong to ask hard questions.

    We fully agree. Good investigative journalism brings problems, and their potential consequences, into sharp focus and identifies the need for remedial action. Potential conflicts of interest are inherent in any relationship between a normative and health development agency, such as WHO, and profit driven industry. WHO needs to establish, and enforce, stricter rules of engagement with industry, and we are doing so. However, let me be …

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