world health organization

Global Consumer Group Calls for Defunding WHO, Praises Trump’s Probe

Consumer Choice Center, a global consumer advocacy group, is launching a campaign to defund the World Health Organization (WHO) and is praising President Donald Trump for his remarks at Tuesday’s coronavirus press briefing when he said he would be looking into the massive funding the United States gives to WHO annually.

Trump at the press briefing criticized how WHO had not been transparent about the coronavirus and its genesis and evolution in China.

“They called it wrong … we’re gonna put a hold on money spent to the WHO,” Trump said. “We’re going to put a very powerful hold on it.”

“It’s a good thing when it works, but when they call every shot wrong, that’s no good,” Trump said.

“President Trump’s decision speaks to the larger inefficiencies and issues of transparency and accountability that have plagued the World Health Organization in recent years,” Yaël Ossowski, deputy director at the Consumer Choice Center, said in a statement he distributed to the press.

“While the failures of the WHO have only recently gotten publicity, this has been a long time coming,” Ossowski said.

Ossowski outlined some of those inefficiencies in his statement.

“It has been revealed that the WHO spends up to $200 million per year, or $28,500 per staffer, on travel costs alone, more than the budgets of combatting AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined,” Ossowski said. “Not to mention they’ve been known to host extravagant galas and conferences that do not further global public health.”

“We witnessed this during the Ebola epidemic in western Africa in 2013-14, where the WHO was too slow to respond and inadequate in health policies, and we’re seeing it in realtime with COVID-19,” Ossowski said.

“The WHO and its Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus have cozied up to the Chinese Communist Party since the beginning of the outbreak and praised their failures,” Ossowski said. “Even as late as January 19th, the WHO parroted the Chinese Communist Party’s narrative that human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus was very unlikely.”

“Now is the time to send a clear signal that the WHO needs to be transparent and accountable for their failures,” Ossowski said.

“In 2017, Consumer Choice Center led the efforts in calling on the United States and member nations to cut funding to the WHO to realign their priorities toward health emergencies such as the very real pandemic we currently face,” Ossowski said. “The WHO has failed in its principal mission and it needs to be defunded. We applaud President Trump for his bold move.”

According to the World Health Organization, the United States as a “member state” has an assessed contribution owed to the organization for 2020-2021 of $115,766,922.

The United States is the largest donor to the World Health Organization of all countries that are member states.

“We’re going to make a determination about what we’re doing,” Trump said at the daily coronavirus press briefing on Wednesday at the White House.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

The EU’s war on harm reduction is in full swing

In 2020, the Netherlands will host the ninth conference of parties of the so-called WHO-FCTC treaty. During this conference, world leaders and public health advocates discuss the ways in which smoking prevalence can be curbed.

However, these same advocates haven’t just made their policies about actual tobacco, but also about vapour: innovative e-cigarette products come under fire, even though they are provenly less harmful and help those smokers who desire to quit. EU health commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis and the anti-tobacco European Network for Smoking and Tobacco Prevention (ENSP) are leading the charge in this fight.

In 2015, Public Health England reported that an independent review found that vaping is at least 95 per cent safer than conventional smoking. PHE confirmed this assessment in December last year.

As a result, the UK has made tobacco harm reduction a centrepiece of its policies to reduce the smoking rate, as opposed to calls for direct cessation, which are less effective.

This is also backed by current evidence: a study funded by the National Institute for Health Research UK, titled “A Randomized Trial of E-Cigarettes versus Nicotine-Replacement Therapy” in the New England Journal of Medicine, analysed the behaviour of almost 900 randomised smokers. The conclusion: e-cigarettes were more effective for smoking cessation than nicotine replacement therapy.

A public consultation by the Health Information and Quality Authority in Ireland found that e-cigarettes are used by a third of smokers as cessation tools, and are twice as effective as a placebo.

In an interview with Euractiv, EU health commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis said the exact opposite, claiming that nicotine replacement therapy was the better alternative. Andriukaitis also defended his head of cabinet, who had come under fire for calling e-cigarettes poison. The most telling quote from the Lithuanian commissioner is this one: “My question to the industry is the following: is it harmful or not to smoke? Does it cause cancer or not? Harm is harm. No matter if it’s less or more.”

That statement should make one think: here’s a European commissioner who does not believe in different degrees of harm. By that standard, we could also equate the harmfulness of eating red meat with smoking cigarettes. Both can cause cancer – and who really cares about the degree of harm caused by one or the other?

This lobby against harm reduction is coordinated by organisations such as the ENSP, which is funded by the Health and Consumer Programmes 2014-2020 of the European Union. This means that the European commissioner funds an NGO that invites the commissioner to events and features him in news articles funded by the same NGO.

It looks as if the European commission has broad support for their positions, but in reality, they are using claqueurs, which is nothing short of deception.

Andriukaitis and the ENSP are trying to change the narrative on anti-tobacco policy by framing it as a human right, and by making false statements about the science surrounding harm reduction.

In fact, their approach to anti-tobacco policy is an almost religious “if there is smoke, there must be harm”. They push policies that restrict not only consumer choice but also access to products that help those who choose to quit with innovate new solutions.

As the scientific evidence in favour of harm reduction is growing by the day, the European commission is stubbornly defending its anti-scientific approach to smoking cessation.

Yes, consumers should be able to quit smoking in a way they see fit, and that suits their needs. Restricting innovation for the sake of increasing your bucket list of “things to ban next” is not only nonsensical, it’s bad for people’s health.

The European commission should instead follow the British National Health Service’s approach to smoking cessation.

Read more here

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