The cost of the swine ‘flu’ scare

Daniel Hannan
London Telegraph
January 11, 2010

Daniel Hannan is a writer and journalist, and has been Conservative MEP for South East England since 1999.

How irksome, at a time when our national debt is rising by £5,000 a second, to learn that the Government has squandered a billion pounds on swine ‘flu vaccines. Having stockpiled 132 million doses, it is now giving the stuff away. Good news for Big Pharma, bad news for everyone else.
It’s all very well being wise after the event, you might say. Actually, though, quite a few of us were wise before the event (see here). You didn’t need any special expertise in epidemiology to spot an obvious boondoggle.

All the interested parties collaborated to talk up the danger. I mean, they would, wouldn’t they?

No government agency is likely to say: “Actually minister, the threat is minor, so we recommend that you disband our task force and axe our budget”. Ministers, for their part, are terrified of inactivity: they would rather spend gazillions on a nugatory threat than run the tiniest risk of being accused of not having done enough. Drugs companies like to manufacture drugs for stockpiling. Newspapers like worst case scenarios. Everyone, in other words, stands to gain. Except, you know, humanity as a whole.

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