"They organised the hysteria," headlines L'Humanité, "they" meaning the pharmaceutical lobbies. The charge is levelled by Wolfgang Wodarg, chairman of the health committee at the Council of Europe. This German lung specialist and former member of the Social Democratic Party has succeeded in getting a fact-finding committee set up to find out what role the drug companies played in the handling of the H1N1 flu (swine flu) epidemic by the World Health Organization and individual countries. In a long interview, Wodarg accuses the pharmaceutical industry of inciting – and even bribing – public health care experts and officials to exaggerate the danger to their governments with a view to promoting vaccine sales. "In April, when the first alert came from Mexico City, I was very surprised at the figures the WHO used to justify proclaiming a pandemic.[…] There weren’t even a thousand cases yet and they were already talking about the pandemic of the century,” recounts Wodarg, who hopes the inquiry will shed some light on what he terms a “tremendous propaganda operation”.