Among the accusations was the way WHO had modified the definition of a pandemic to make it easier for a pandemic to be declared. Previously (2005) the definition of a pandemic required there to be an enormous loss of lives, but with the new definition, it was only required for there to be 'worldwide epidemic'.
An influenza pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus appears against which the human population has no immunity, resulting in several, simultaneous epidemics worldwide with enormous numbers of deaths and illness. (WHO, 2005)
A disease epidemic occurs when there are more cases of that disease than normal. A pandemic is a worldwide epidemic of a disease. An influenza pandemic may occur when a new influenza virus appears against which the human population has no immunity. (WHO, 2009)
Now, Professor Ulrich Keil, director of the WHO’s Collaborating Centre for Epidemiology, gave evidence before the inquiry, that the 'the swine flu pandemic was part of an overblown “angst campaign”, devised in conjunction with major drug companies to boost profits for vaccine manufacturers.'
Not looking very good for WHO.... but pandemic communications expert Peter Sandman has another view of the proceedings. He reportedly told CIDRAP News that 'critics at today's hearing seemed unable to distinguish between what they called a "fake pandemic" and one that has so far turned out less severe than it might have been.'
'.... WHO may have set itself up for unfair criticism by making the same mistake the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change made, which led to successful attacks on its credibility: failing to acknowledge the small piece of the truth their critics are getting right.
The critics' strongest arguments are: first, that the WHO should have more quickly admitted that the pandemic was milder than initial evidence suggested; and second, that the WHO routinely included severity among factors to be considered before raising pandemic phases, until its most recent pandemic guidance revision, published in April 2009......
"By failing to concede these two points, WHO gives unjustified credibility to the critics' other, much less valid claims," he said. "Good guys have a harder time than bad guys understanding the need to concede the validity of valid criticisms, even when they're packaged with invalid ones."'