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How the West's Health Fads Kill the Poor
Mark Weston, Campaign for Fighting Diseases, 7-5-06

Mark Weston offers a look into how Western paranoia over drug side effects has affected the developing world and argues that while the damages from overreaction to drug side effects may be minimal in developed countries they are significant in poorer nations.

For lucky westerners, measles is not much of a problem but in developing countries poor nutrition and weak health care combine to make it a killer. In a world where international travel has become commonplace, an increase in measles in the west heightens the risk of deadly epidemics in poor countries.

So far, international health agencies have remained steadfast in their backing for MMR. But a UK survey showed that misleading coverage of the MMR scare meant only one in four people was aware that most studies showed no link between the vaccine and autism. Negative stories tend to stick and our increasingly networked world means they also tend to spread.

The internet effect may be working already. In SA, two patients who had separate, single–vaccine measles, mumps and rubella jabs instead of MMR have caught measles this year. Peruvian daily El Comercio reported an increase in calls to a ministry of health's phone line from parents worried about the link between vaccines and autism. They are a long way from Britain, Germany and the US where the scare was incubated.

Project FDA.
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