OPEN LETTER TO WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION (WHO) DIRECTOR-GENERAL (DG) FROM DAF-K*
2nd September 2008
Drug Action Forum – Karnataka (DAF-K)*,
57, Tejaswinagar, Dharwad 580002, Karnataka, India.
Fax & telephone +91 (0)836 2461722, Mobile +91 (0)9448862270
Email; – firstname.lastname@example.org, Web; – http://www.daf-k.cjb.net
World Health Organization
Avenue Appia 20
1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland,
Fax number +41 22 7913131
It has come to the notice of DAF-K members that the WHO Bulletin1 dated 1st September 2008 brings out some startling facts. According to the authors, the pneumococcal vaccine that is being promoted by WHO globally2 and in India3 as well does not reduce clinical pneumonia. It reduces a rare type of pneumonia – so rare that 1,000 children need to be vaccinated to prevent four cases of the pneumonia! Still more alarming is the revelation that for every four children in whom pneumonia is prevented, two children develop asthma because of the vaccine. Pneumonia is a mild infection treated with antibacterial agent (Sulfamethoxazole / Trimethoprim) at less than $1 per child, according to the WHO protocol. Asthma on the other hand is often permanent and needs repeated inhaled treatment with bronco-dilators and steroids. Asthma is a condition much worse than the one-off pneumonia which is easily treated and cured.
We anticipate that with this revelation, parents of children, from all over the globe, are going to ask embarrassing questions. So we expect the vaccine will be voluntarily withdrawn from the market immediately because of this unacceptable risk.
But DAF-K has more fundamental questions which you as Director-General of WHO need to answer. The vaccines ineffectiveness, as a public health tool, has been shown by earlier studies as well. The fact that the vaccine doubles the risk of asthma was known as early in the year 20034.
Our basic question is; how and on what basis did WHO take the decision to promote this vaccine? The world expects the WHO to be an honest broker between the needs of public health and vaccine manufacturers. Unfortunately this trust has now been betrayed by the WHO promoting a harmful drug.
WHO will identify all those who were responsible for giving this wrong advice and that they would be exposed and purged from the organisation in a transparent manner.
Constitute an expert committee, whose members express openly, that they have no conflicts of interest and links with drug and vaccine manufactures. This committee should set the guidelines and monitor the proper and rational use of vaccines as a public health tool. This is essential to prevent a repetition of this mistake.
We are compelled to publish this as an open letter because DAF-K’s previous letters, regarding rational use of hepatitis – B vaccine have not been aptly addressed and replied by the DG.
(Dr Gopal Dabade),
Cell +9 (0)9448862270
(Mr. Khan A B),
(Dr S L Pawar)
Joint Secretary, DAF-K
*Drug Action Forum – Karnataka is part of Janarogya Andolan Karnataka (a state unit of People’s Health Movement – India http://phm-india.org/), member of AIDAN (All India Drug Action Network http://aidanindia.org/) and HAIAP (Health Action International Asia Pacific www.haiap.org). Drug Action Forum – Karnataka is a registered, not for profit and independent organisation campaigning for Rational use Drugs and Vaccines.
1. Sona Choudhary & Jacob Puliyel, Incidence of Pneumonia is not reduced by pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. Bulletin of WHO, 1st September 2008, Article DOI: 10.2471/BLT.08.054692, WHO bulletin with links accessed on 2nd September 2008 at:
2. ‘WHO position Pneumococcal Vaccines’, link accessed on 31st August 2008 at http://www.who.int/vaccines/en/pneumococcus.shtml#position
3. ‘Delhi, Bengal top charts in pneumonia deaths’, Times of India, 26th April 2008, link accessed on 29th August 2008 at
4. Keith P. Klugman and others, ‘A Trial of a 9-Valent Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine in Children with and Those without HIV Infection’, New England Journal of Medicine, Volume 349:1341-1348 October 2, 2003, Number 14, link