ABSTRACT BACKGROUND: The 11th of June 2009, the World Health Organization declared a pandemic, caused by an outbreak of the A(H1N1)pdm09-virus, or swine flu. In retrospect, both the declaration and the measures taken to handle the pandemic, have been met with criticism, as they were said to be excessive. OBJECTIVE: To create an overview over the course of the swine flu pandemic, and the actions that were initiated as a response. Also, this paper will discuss the criticism against WHO and some nations healthcare governments, that was raised by the declaration and handling of the A(H1N1) pandemic. METHOD: A literature search for articles that criticize the handling and declaration of the swine flu pandemic on PubMed, Google, Forskning.no, in addition to reports published by WHO and The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the USA. RESULTS: Critics claim that the severity of the swine flu pandemic, indicated by WHO experts was over exaggerated, and it has been suggested that this was caused by influence by the pharma industry. They have questioned that vaccine producers made big profits from selling pandemic vaccines through contracts that were activated by the declaration of the pandemic. This system has also caused concern, considering that they favour rich countries, over poor and low income countries, in accessing scarce pandemic vaccines, regardless of where they have most effect. CONCLUSION: History has shown that the decisions which WHO make in meeting a pandemic are challenging, considering when to declare it and what measures that should be initiated. The discussion that was raised in the aftermath of the swine flu pandemic has not yet resulted in clear answers to this, but critics still agree in the demand for a more transparent communication to the public from both WHO and national health departments.