On June 11, 2009, Margaret Chan, the director-general of the WHO, announced that a “pandemic emergency”—or worldwide epidemic—of H1N1 influenza was officially underway. Governments around the world placed immediate orders for anti-flu drugs and vaccines. The predicted dire emergency did not occur. The WHO maintains that its decisions were based on the best available evidence, but last year European governments, stuck with hundreds of millions of euros’ worth of unused medicines and vaccines, began asking questions.
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