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Colin Devroe

Reverse Engineer. Blogger.

How much money is being made on the H1N1 virus?

November 23, 2009

I’m no medical expert, but one has to wonder about the finances behind having a global pandemic – or at least the appearance of one. The H1N1 virus, or swine-flu, is no doubt a virus that should be taken seriously. If you have the symptoms of the virus you should take action to get the attention you need. However, I don’t think anyone would disagree that the media, and perhaps those that stand a chance to financially benefit from the fear that the H1N1 virus has caused, may have hyped the swine flu a bit this year.

When compared to other viruses the 2009 Swine Flu really isn’t that bad. At least not yet. So one has to wonder… are things being exaggerated in the media to make money? I think the media is driven much by what people find interesting and people find the effects of H1N1 interesting. For the media it sells newspapers, air time, pageviews, etc. But that is the “job” the news these days, hype.

You may have noticed that recent commercials for products like Lysol, antibacterial soups, hand sanitizer and the like have all included something about protecting from the swine flu. Sure, they’d be dumb not to. People want to hear “Kills all traces of the H1N1 virus”. So tell them what they want to hear and you’ll sell your product.

Lets take a quick look at Reckitt Benckiser Group, the company that distributes Lysol, as an example of a company that could be benefiting from the H1N1 virus being as “important” as it is. They’re stock is up an incredible 23% this year to date. Not bad. By the way, I’m not saying that this growth is only related to the swine flu, I’m just making observations b’okay?

Think about this; are you washing your hands more often? I know I am. So just in that simple process we’re using more water, more soap, more paper towels/electricity. Have you ever seen more hand sanitizer being bought in your life? It is everywhere! There are too many companies to track to quantify the amount of money spent on the prevention of spreading this virus but it has to be in the billions.

I don’t know how much money has been made on the H1N1 virus but I’d bet it is a ton. (And one could easily argue that by me having ads on this very post that I’ll be making money on the virus too.)