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Subject: Amanda Peet and Paul Offit Date: Wed, 16 Jul 2008 11:48:57 -0400 From: Ginger Taylor To: Stephen.email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Mr. Huvane and Mr Kranzler,
You may have already gotten word on this, but your client may need a little more back ground on who this doctor that Ms. Peet is taking her cues from, Paul Offit, actually is.
Paul Offit is a doctor at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and is very often seen in vaccine autism stories making claims that vaccines are safe and have no relationship to autism. But what those stories do not tell the audience is that Paul Offit is a vaccine patent holder and consultant for Merck Pharmaceuticals. He is a co-creator of the Merck RotaTeq vaccine that is on the CDC's current vaccine schedule. It is a vaccine that prevents Rota Virus, a benign virus under which subjects experience a miserable day or so of diarrhea and vomiting, and from which you usually gain immunity after having it twice. The CDC recommends treating it at home with Pedialyte to prevent dehydration. In third world countries, Rota virus can be a more serious threat to children's health, because death can occur from severe dehydration due to lack of infrastructure, clean water and basic sanitation. But in the US, it is not a serious health threat to any one with indoor plumbing or within driving distance to a 7-11.
In addition, Paul Offit's RotaTeq can cause a very serious, life threatening condition called intussusception in which the intestine actually folds up, telescoping in on itself. The FDA has confirmed that RotaTeq killed one child in such a manner this year. A previous Rota virus vaccine, Rota Shield, was taken off the market for causing the same problem. And this far, RotaTeq has more reported incidences of intussusception than it predecessor that was removed from the market. RotaTeq also causes Kawasaki Disease.
Many people, myself included, believe that the vaccine schedule is too aggressive and should be pared down. If the CDC decides to remove any vaccines from the schedule, surely the first to go will be Paul Offit's vaccine. Further, if parents do as we are urging, and start evaluating vaccines one at a time to see which are important for a child to have, and which are not really needed, the first one that parents will likely stop buying for their kids will be RotaTeq, and that will effect the sales of his vaccine.
Further, Paul Offit was personally reprimanded by the U.S. Congress, at length, for his ethics problems. He actually sat on the ACIP, the CDC committee that decides what vaccines go on the US schedule, and voted for RotaShield to be added to the schedule, knowing full well that it would pave the way for his own vaccine, Rotateq to be added and be immediately put into wide spread use as soon as it came to market. Which is exactly what happened. Offit should have abstained from any comments or votes on any thing to do with Rota virus because of his conflicts of interest.
Paul Offit is the poster child for medical conflicts of interest.
When you take vaccine advice from him, it is as if you called Merck to ask if their products cause autism.
Finally, Paul Offit makes completely irresponsible and ridiculous statements about vaccine safety. In Baby talk magazine he was quoted as believing that studies, "theoretically show an infant could handle up to 100,000 vaccines at one time … safely." I personally wrote to Offit, assuming that of course this was some sort of misprint. It wasn't. He replied, "The figure of 100,000 is correct, and probably a little conservative."
We in the autism community cannot understand why this man continues to be taken seriously. Do people who are interviewing him or taking his advice understand know who this guy is? Did Ms. Peet know who he really was when she took his council as gospel? Does she know that his nick name in the autism community is Dr. Proffit, and that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. labeled him a "Biostitute" because his opinions on medicine are for sale?
The only thing that we can think of is that because, he is always merely introduced as a doctor at CHOP, that no one knows the whole story about him.
So now you know. You should probably encourage your client not to tout her association with this doctor, as the exposure of his back story is getting out there. "Distancing" might be wise for her at this time.
Ginger Taylor M.S., Parasite
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