The World Health Organization is one of the more overtly Nanny Statist, alarmist groups in the public health debate. Yet because the group is part of the UN, it carries a sort of ingrained integrity with journalists and regular readers.
I've debated several public health activists over the last few years who tried to shout me down with WHO declarations on alcohol abuse, drug use, secondhand smoke and—most laughably—obesity, which the WHO recently declared "an epidemic engulfing the entire world," and called for "preventative" calorie-cutting legislation despite the fact that about a fifth of humanity still risks death by starvation. There's really no level of individual risk the WHO doesn't find ripe for new legislation.
When developing "evidence-based" guidelines, the World Health Organization routinely forgets one key ingredient: evidence. That is the verdict from a study published in The Lancet online Tuesday.
The medical journal's criticism of WHO could shock many in the global health community, as one of WHO's main jobs is to produce guidelines on everything from fighting the spread of bird flu and malaria control to enacting anti-tobacco legislation.
"This is a pretty seismic event," Lancet editor Dr. Richard Horton, who was not involved in the research for the article. "It undermines the very purpose of WHO."
Even better: The article found that many WHO bureaucrats agree with the study's conclusions.
At risk of coming off the typical smug libertarian, here, I find this absolutely delightful. And that lede is going into my debate file.
Brian Doherty eviscerated the WHO back in January 2002.