INDEPENDENT NEWS

MOH Slanders New UNESCO Bioethics Chief

Published: Tue 7 Nov 2006 01:44 PM
Media Release
MOH Slanders Newly Appointed UNESCO Bioethics Chief
Ron Law & Barbara Sumner Burstyn
The Ministry of Health has slandered three Norwegian pro-vaccine professors of medicine, including the newly appointed UNESCO Bioethics Chief, Professor Jan Helge Solbakk.
Prior to the New Zealand screening of a Norwegian documentary on TV1’s Sunday program about the unethical behaviour of the Ministry of Health, the Ministry declared the documentary ‘anti-vaccination.’ Made by Norway’s state TV, the New Zealand MoH claimed it was made by and featured rabid anti-immunization zealots.
The Ministry press release omitted the following information:
Professor Guldberg is an esteemed clinical pharmacologist and has served as chairman of the National Committee for Medical Research Ethics in Norway for two periods. He has acted as member of several monitoring committees for clinical trials, including Norway’s meningococcal B vaccine phase III trial.
Professor Saugstad is considered one of Europe's leading neonatologists. Professor Saugstad raised serious safety concerns about the MeNZB vaccine with New Zealand officials in 2003… those concerns were ignored.
Professor Jan Helge Solbakk is an MD, cand. theoil, Dr. philos, Professor of Section for Medical Ethics, University of Oslo, Adjunct Professor, Centre for International Health, University of Bergen. He served as secretary of the National Committee for Medical Research Ethics in Norway when the phase III trial was conducted.
Professor Solbakk had attempted to raise concerns about safety and informed consent issues in Norway. In the documentary he expressed very serious concerns about what he called an unethical medical experiment being conducted in New Zealand.
Professor Solbakk has declared in writing that neither he, nor his two academic colleagues, Professor Saugstad and Professor Guldberg, are 'anti-immunization' people, as claimed by the Ministry of Health.
“On the contrary, we are all three strong defenders of vaccine programs as long as they have gone through rigorous procedures of safety and efficacy assessment, which, unfortunately is not the case with the NZ vaccine,” said Jan Helge Solbakk.
The Ministry of Health’s insult to Professor Solbakk is at odds with his recent appointment as chief of the Bioethics Section at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris.
While slandering colleagues is not unheard of in the medical profession, it is extremely unusual and unethical for a government department to mislead the public as to the qualifications and positions of colleagues, especially those held in such high international esteem.
The Ministry of Health’s actions are further evidence of the need for a formal inquiry into their rude, embarrassing and grossly unethical behavior. They also need to issue a public apology forthwith.
ENDS

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