SUNDAY, JUNE 24, 2018

Possible corruption found in Sweden's decision to purchase HPV vaccine

Swedish anti-corruption commentators voiced concern that their country's National Board of Health and Welfare supported one of its most expensive vaccination campaigns with data from experts with clear ties to the vaccine industry.

A review conducted by the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet concluded that the board did not follow its own transparency rules by having its experts declare any potential conflicts of interest, according to .

In 2006 an expert panel assembled to discuss what type of access girls in Sweden should have to a vaccine against human papilloma virus. Three of the panel members had clear ties to commercials interests, including one who has connections to the vaccine company Merck and is married to a Brussels lobbyist who deals with cervical cancer issues.

"Being open about potential conflicts of interests is not enough," Nils Blom, the head legal counsel at the Swedish Institute for Communicable Disease Control, said, reports. "Every state authority then has to make a judgment about how strong those ties are and how it affects its impartiality."

Sweden eventually bought the vaccine in a deal valued at more than the entire national vaccine program.

Little documentation remains about the expert group's discussion. Reporters were never granted access to agendas or minutes from the meetings.