February 12, 2010

Anatomy of a Witch Hunt

Much has happened in the last few weeks surrounding Andrew Wakefield, and I have not been available to write about it. It has been truly frustrating to see this story reported as if the GMC hearing was legit and The Lancet as if it was a respectable and unbiased publication, rather than the dog fight between corporate interests and safety advocates that it actually is. Was the fact that 21 autism organizations in the US and UK filed perjury charges against the head of the Lancet for lying about Wakefield's disclosures of his conflicts in the GMC hearing not relevant to the fact that the Lancet retracted Wakefield's article the following week? Apparently the press didn't think so.

Also fascinating that they have tried to portray Wakefield as the guy that invented the autism/vaccine connection, despite the fact that Leo Kanner reported that one of his first 11 cases in the 1940's was a regression following a smallpox vaccine, the VCIP has been paying autism cases for 25 years, and I first heard about the connection in my undergrad psych program in 1988 at George Mason University, so that they can use this GMC hearing to declare the vaccine controversy over. (I have forty or so studies on my "no evidence of any link" page supporting the vaccine/autism connection and I have never even had Wakefield's MMR paper up there.

Fortunately AOA has been all over this.

Today I had an hour and started mapping out the conflicts on interests in all of the forces that are posing as unbiased sources and trashing Wakefield and his work by charging him with conflicts of interest. The irony is lost on too many people.

It is a work in progress. One of my friends in the UK is looking it over to help fill in more of the blanks, so it will be updated.

A few notes not on the chart. Judge Nigel Davis is the judge who ruled that families trying to sue GlaxoSmithKline for the damage done to their children by the MMR would not be given legal aid to do so, ending MMR litigation in the UK. His brother is Sir Crispin Davis, who was the CEO of Elsevier, publisher of The Lancet and was also on the board of GlaxoSmithKline. Additionally... Paul Offit is an industry spokes person for Merck, that was too long to fit into the chart, so I used the more pejorative, "lap dog". And there is word out this afternoon that another Elsevier journal may be trying to bury the Hep B monkey study that Wakefield worked on, although no word from the journal on this yet.

Look at the energy flow in this thing... Props to Dr. Wakefield and his compadres for not backing down under this insane amount of industrial pressure. I mean just look at this billion dollar medical/pharma/media/(arms sales?) unprincipled conglomco machine! Eliot Ness wasn't even up against this big of a beast when he took on the mob. And I have not even included any of the public health infrastructure, or the GMC in this flow chart.

Keep your head up England, and understand that you are under a blitz. They are now officially throwing everything they have at you and they are only exposing their own corruption. Never, never, never, never give up.

Problem for the beast is... they are using all their ammo, and six months from now, nothing will have changed for them. Because the public knows they are full of crap.

click to see it full size.



UPDATE:

A friend in the UK brought something interesting to my attention. It is a flow chart done by a journalist in 1994 on how money and influence flowed around the Burroughs Wellcome pharmaceutical company and all it's satellites (foundations, trusts, doctors, medical institutions, universities, medical journals and even regulatory agencies). One of which is the Wellcome Trust.

I invite to you take a look at the amazingly, unbiased and completely free of conflicts of interesty type research that Wellcome is funding, by reading my piece on Professor Alan Emond's study that shows that kids with autism don't have bowel problems. He claims no conflicts of interest, but fails to mention that he is on the UK's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (Britian's version of the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.)

The chart certainly enhances the understanding of how the machine works, but the two facts that make this flow chart so much more interesting is that Burroughs Wellcome of course became Glaxo Wellcome, which became GlaxoSmithKline, who makes the MMR; and that the journalist that created this chart was Brian Deer.



UPDATE: One commenter was looking for a source for my 20 billion dollar figure.

Drugmakers, Doctors Rake in Billions Battling H1N1 Flu
Swine Flu Is Bad for Victims, But Good for Businesses That Cater to Expanding Market
By DALIA FAHMY
Oct. 14, 2009
ABC News/Money

Americans are still debating whether to roll up their sleeves for a swine flu shot, but companies have already figured it out: vaccines are good for business.
h1n1.

Drug companies have sold $1.5 billion worth of swine flu shots, in addition to the $1 billion for seasonal flu they booked earlier this year. These inoculations are part of a much wider and rapidly growing $20 billion global vaccine market.

"The vaccine market is booming," says Bruce Carlson, spokesperson at market research firm Kalorama, which publishes an annual survey of the vaccine industry. "It's an enormous growth area for pharmaceuticals at a time when other areas are not doing so well," he says, noting that the pipeline for more traditional blockbuster drugs such as Lipitor and Nexium has thinned.

As always with pandemic flus, taxpayers are footing the $1.5 billion check for the 250 million swine flu vaccines that the government has ordered so far and will be distributing free to doctors, pharmacies and schools. In addition, Congress has set aside more than $10 billion this year to research flu viruses, monitor H1N1's progress and educate the public about prevention.

Drugmakers pocket most of the revenues from flu sales, with Sanofi-Pasteur, Glaxo Smith Kline and Novartis cornering most of the market.

But some say it's not just drugmakers who stand to benefit. Doctors collect copayments for special office visits to inject shots, and there have been assertions that these doctors actually profit handsomely from these vaccinations.

It is a notion that Dr. Lori Heim, president of the American Academy of Family Practitioners, says is simply not true.

"According to most of the physicians I have talked to, the administration of these vaccines is done for the community's benefit as opposed to anything that helps profit," she says. Heim adds that even though doctors will not have to shell out for the H1N1 vaccine, they will bear the usual costs associated with storage and administering the shots.

"There is an administration fee, for the costs that you can't get reimbursed through Medicare or Medicaid," she says. "This is usually less than, or right at the break-even point."

Still, pharmacies also charge co-payments or full price of about $25 to those without insurance and often make more money if patients end up shopping for other goods.

"Flu shots present a good opportunity to bring new customers into our stores," says Cassie Richardson, spokesperson for SUPERVALU, one of the country's largest supermarket chains. Drawing customers to the back of a store, where pharmacies are often located, offers retailers a chance to pitch products that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Even companies outside of the medical industry are benefiting: the UPS division that delivers vaccines in specially designed containers, for example, has seen a bump in business.

New Entrants in Flu Shot Business

The intensifying competition has irked some doctors.

"Retailers and other non-medical professionals have siphoned off the passive income that once helped to cover medical overhead," says Dr. Caroline Abruzese, an internist in Atlanta. "The larger retail chains can invest up front in large volumes of vaccine at low prices, and market to customers already in their stores."

The promise of profits has attracted new players into the business. Some of the world's largest drugmakers, who in the past avoided the vaccine market because of its limited scope -- its not easy to convince healthy adults to get a shot for measles -- are now jumping into the fray.

Last month alone saw three large vaccine deals. Abbott Labs bought a Belgian drug business, along with its flu vaccine facilities, for $6.6 billion. Johnson & Johnson invested $444 million in a Dutch biotech firm that makes and develops flu vaccines. Merck, which already makes vaccines for shingles and other diseases, struck a deal to distribute flu shots made by Australian CSL.

Smaller biotechs are also angling for a slice of the action, making vaccines one of the fastest-growing areas of research in the biotech industry.

Large and small drugmakers are drawn to the business largely because of scientific advances that promise to radically expand the range of health problems that vaccines can address. In addition to preventing childhood diseases such as measles and polio, vaccines can now also ward off cervical cancer, and researchers are working on vaccines for HIV and tuberculosis.

Scientists believe they can create therapeutic vaccines than treat diseases such as Alzheimers and diabetes after they have set in. (At least one company is betting on a vaccine that helps cigarette smokers quit.)

"These innovations broaden the market potential for vaccine makers and partly explained the renewed interest by drugmakers," says Anthony Cox, a professor at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business who specializes in the marketing of medical products.

But Mark Grayson, a spokesperson for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, which represents the country's leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, says that drugmakers are also compelled by the government to join efforts to ensure that there is enough vaccine to go around.

"Because of national security implications, the government felt that they needed to encourage and ask [vaccine manufacturers] to move much quicker," he says. Grayson adds that vaccine manufacturers also face significant costs; aside from the expense of fitting a new vaccine into a tight production schedule, drugmakers GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi Pasteur were forced to acquire new vaccine production facilities in recent years to keep up with demand.

Alternatives to Vaccines Are Few

While this promise of new treatments for painful diseases brings hope to many, vaccines continue to attract critics. The National Vaccine Information Center, a non-profit advocacy group, is at the forefront of a movement demanding that vaccines be tested more thoroughly before hitting the market. Although there has been little evidence to support their claim, detractors -- including the comedian Jim Carrey -- believe that vaccines are at least partly to blame for the sharp rise in autism in recent decades.

The swine flu vaccine has also attracted its share of critics. Frank Lipman, a New York-based doctor who specializes in a mix of Western and alternative medicine, points out that the swine flu is rarely fatal and that it's too early to tell if it's safe because it hasn't been widely tested.

Others argue that Americans have little choice. The cost of a widespread pandemic, similar to Spanish Flu outbreak in 1918, which killed 675,000 Americans (and 50 million worldwide), would be devastating. The Trust for America's Health, a Washington-based non-profit organization, estimates that a severe pandemic could push down GDP by more than 5 percent and cost Americans $683 billion.

"We're not seeing a pandemic that's this severe," says Jeff Levi, director of Trust for Americas Health. "We've dodged a lot of bullets."

43 comments:

nhokkanen said...

Thank you, Ginger, for laying out the players in this thinly disguised public relations war. This is the kind of work I dreamt that a newspaper or TV reporter would do. They used to.

Rather ironic that you're talking in pictures, like a PECS board for our kids on the autism spectrum. The entire colluding cast of guilty characters in this nasty game of public health charade would take up a barn wall. Though considering the health havoc they've rained on a generation or more of sick children, those accommodations would be too good for them....

Minority said...

Neat that you are getting such thoughtful comments from the guys...

they always make me think that this writer had their game figured out perfectly: http://insidevaccines.com/wordpress/2008/12/15/vaccines-safe-parents-dangerous/

Ginger Taylor said...

And a reminder on my comments policy.

You have to make a cogent point... just throwing out an insult is not helpful or constructive.

There are a myriad of places to do that on the internet, but I am looking for earnest discussion here.

knitwit said...

Basically, your policy forbids any dissenting view, so I won't bother, but I would ask you to refrain from referring to the public as one entity, because your view is definitely in the minority of the "public". Most people (thankfully) continue to vaccinate.

K Fuller said...

Ginger, I think you may have to make this flow chart a coloring book or a dot to dot game to get the attention of today's journalists. Perhaps a free Ap for Iphone would do. Well done.

redhead said...

Great job, Ginger. GSK and Welcome are not immune to vaccine injuries so keep spreading the word. Too many are trying hard to keep the pandora's lid closed but it is opening up more day by day.

María Luján said...

Hi Ginger
From what I understand the manuscript in Neurotoxicology is withdrawn, not retracted.

Ginger Taylor said...

On the contrary.. I welcome opposing views, just earnest discussions and not insults and flame wars and references to space aliens.

And I welcome corrections. If I have something wrong, please let me know so I can make corrections. As I said, this is a work in progress.

What was it that I wrote that you have an issue with? Or is it the overall theme of corporate corruption that you don't find plausible?

And as you are not a regular reader, just clarify, I am not encouraging people not to vaccinate, but to make vaccine decisions with eyes wide open. The spirit of "buyer beware" still applies to vaccine salesmen (and Mr. Wellcome was the worlds first pharmaceutical sales rep).

In case your problem is the idea that powerful men running multinational corporations will behave badly and act against the public's interest, allow me to argue the point further.

Corporations exist to 1. make money and 2. provide a product or service... in that order. Because if number one is not happening, then number two can't happen. So to assume that corporations do not make their decisions primarily on financial interest is just nonsensical.

If the public changes their vaccination patters, even just a little bit, it will cost them billions now and trillions later.

If people decide to even continue to fully vaccinate, but to do it on a different schedule and just not get booster shots (as a child has approx a 90% chance of gaining immunity from his first dose) then a 20 billion dollar industry becomes an 10 billion dollar industry.

And if parents decide to only vaccinate for serous disease, and flu, rotavirus, chicken pox and HPV go out the window, along with almost all new vaccines, then it becomes a 4 billion dollar industry that is capped and has no market for new products (except perhaps AIDS and a couple of tropical diseases).

Now.. knowing what we know about the individuals making these decisions, their ambitions, their histories and their willingness to behave badly, make nonsensical statements and go for the juggular on anyone who stands in their way (See Vioxx Dr. Hit List) to make a buck and protect their market share...

... then are we not fools to just take the self serving medical advice that is being churned our of the PHARMA/Edelman PR machine with out scrutinizing every word and all their interests?

Would you really have me believe that the corporate structure that I have mapped out above, faced with having their business cut in half, and future business decimated, would just take that lying down? HA! To believe that one must erase from their minds everything they know about human behavior and how organisms act in their own interest and in the interests of self-protection!

And these aren't just any 'organisms'. These are among the most ambitious men and companies on the planet! Please note the absurdity of my rewrite on Julius Caesar:

JC: You know guys... I think I might have gotten carried away a bit... have I stepped on anyone's toes here?

Brutus: Well actually Jules, things have been a tiny bit awkward, but mostly we have just been worried about you. You have put yourself under soooo much stress. That cannot be good for your health.

JC: Dude... you are so right. Let's just take a day off, go to the spa and figure out how to dial things way back. I am sorry for being such a dick. My bad.

Roman Senate: AWWWWWWW..... (Everyone starts hugging)

Am I making my point here?

Caveat emptor.

SecularDad said...

Have you contacted David Icke about this? I'm sure that he would be more than interested in trying to help you further expand on this flowchart. He's been doing these kinds of things for years.

I am curious as to where the motive for push and pull funding for vaccines fits into this, and where you are getting your 20 billion dollar title from. That seems to be an arbitrary number unless you source it. Traditionally, the claim is that the reason there aren't more vaccines out there already is that there isn't a strong financial incentive to R&D them compared to other drugs.

Ginger Taylor said...

Maria,

I will make that correction.

Can you point me toward a source? Because I am not clear on what exactly IS happening with that article.

Ginger Taylor said...

Who is David Icke?

And twenty billion is the estimate used pretty much everywhere. Source: http://abcnews.go.com/Business/big-business-swine-flu/story?id=8820642

Ginger Taylor said...

ah... David Icke is another space alien reference. Nice.

Again... looking for actual earnest conversation. If you can't refrain from mocking, then this is not the place for you.

Thanks for visiting.

Lesa said...

Anyone who has learned anything about the tobacco industry in this country in the last 50 years should not find it a stretch that money seriously motivates corporate decisions, even if the health of their consumers could be jeopardized. Recently, I've been watching commercials on the newish birth control pills like NoPeriod, Yaz, Seasonal. It's safe; suppressing your natural period will have NO impact on your health, yada, yada, yada. I don't know if it's that I'm a skeptical dinosaur, but I think that it might be okay to "tweak" with or "poke" Mother Nature, but perhaps you shouldn't decide to slap her or hit her. These products marketed to impressionable young women who are repetitively being told that dealing with Mother Nature once a month is an unreasonable, monumental inconvenience. How inconvenient is it going to be 10, 15, 20,25,30 years from now when they weren't able to have kids, or they're struggling through ovarian cancer or breast cancer or uterine cancer and the pharmaceutical juggernaut is telling them all there's no empirical studies done that show a link; it's anecdotal that your families all noted that all of you used these products and you're having these diagnoses; we had Dr. Offit's progenies do a statistically sound, retrospective study and they can't find any link - all they can find is data on how many minutes of social embarrassment we have saved these women because they didn't have to contend with socially awkward moments of bleed through? I've already started to tell my 12 year old daughter to be inconvenienced because our bodies have worked this way for centuries for a reason. I applaud your perspicacity! The chart was illuminating.

Minority said...

Secular Dad,
Some additional info on the profitability of vaccines for drug companies: http://insidevaccines.com/wordpress/2010/02/11/vaccine-myths-round-two/

just go down to the second myth.

There are big bucks in vaccines and huge amounts of R & D investment to recoup. Not a good moment for people to start asking awkward questions.

So Ginger, shush! and stop looking at the connections.

Merseme said...

Ginger: "If the public changes their vaccination patters, even just a little bit, it will cost them billions now and trillions later."

If significant numbers of people are scared into foregoing vaccination, it will actually greatly increase profits for drugmakers. All those extra hospitalizations and critical care for victims of preventable infectious diseases will require tons of antibiotics and other drugs.

A poster on a message board I frequent stated that many antivaxers are thoughtful and intelligent people. This position would be greatly reinforced, if only one prominent antivaxer would come forward to say that while their views on vaccines haven't changed, Andrew Wakefield's disgraceful behavior and sloppy science should prompt his rejection by the autism community, in favor of decent and competent scientists.

The fact that no one has done so speaks volumes.

Ginger Taylor said...

Merseme,

Well first, I think that Jay Gordon may have done that, and I think that people call him an "antivaxxer".

But second, I don't think that is that wide spread because people in our community don't think that he is disgraceful and respect Wakefield because, his work has made our children more healthy and functional.

I made the point to Orac when he was complaining that I don't trash Wakefield that he didn't address... that nagging problem that when sick children with bowel problems to to Thoughtful House...THEY GET BETTER!

So nope... not going to find many people to throw Wakefield under the bus in this neighborhood.

"If significant numbers of people are scared into foregoing vaccination, it will actually greatly increase profits for drugmakers. All those extra hospitalizations and critical care for victims of preventable infectious diseases will require tons of antibiotics and other drugs."

I don't think that history really bears that out.

In the 1970's when I was a girl, we got about ten shots (a far cry from the 66 now recommended for children) and there were no epidemics, with children dropping dead and being hospitalized left and right.

Going by past experience, we should be able to cut the number of vaccine doses kids get by a full two thirds in this country and still avoid mass hospitalizations.

Minority said...

Yes, Ginger, you are right about the lack of raging epidemics. I was a child in the 1950s. Knew hundreds of children because we moved all the time and I never knew a single child hospitalized for any childhood illness. Vaccines available? DTP and smallpox. Later polio.

Where do they get those scary statistics? http://insidevaccines.com/wordpress/2008/06/16/where-do-they-find-these-scary-statistics/

mostly, they make them up :)

Merseme said...

Dr, Gordon appears to be playing to all sides on the question of Wakefield's behavior. He refers to the "importance" of Wakefield's research but mentions "methodological flaws" in the paper published in Lancet. Overall he mostly seems to be blaming Lancet for not having uncovered Wakefield's deceitful and unethical behavior before publication, but leaving Wakefield himself largely untouched.

"Going by past experience, we should be able to cut the number of vaccine doses kids get by a full two thirds in this country and still avoid mass hospitalizations."

I regret that you don't think it worthwhile to spare all those children currently receiving vaccine protection from such diseases as rotavirus and H. flu meningitis, from being "thrown under the bus".

I do appreciate the relatively civil tone of discussion.

michael said...

Ginger, regarding this comment:
" The right does it via corporations, the left the government, but they are all making cash off of it."

What is your or anyone's thoughts, on this deadly right/left alignment.

Ginger, we see it, how many others see it. What are your thoughts?

Ginger Taylor said...

Merseme,

Backtracking a bit... you seemed to have missed the point of this whole post. The irony that the people descending on Wakefield with accusations of conflict of interest and calling him "deceitful", have conflicts of interest and have practiced deceit on a scale that eclipses anything that little Andy has been accused of!

Check out that chart again. Crispin Davis was the CEO that published the Lancet, he was on the board of directors of GSK AND his brother put an end to the MMR litigation!!! He alone is a one man wrecking crew!

Talk about straining out the gnat and swallowing a camel!

So if you believe Wakefield is deceitful, then what do you think of Alan Emond? Or Brian Deer? Or Paul Offit? Or the Davis brothers?

Richard Horton testified in the hearings that the Wakefield paper was scientifically sound, then the week after he was charged with perjury by autism groups, he pulls the Wakefield paper claiming it was unsound. Is that not deceitful? Where was he lying, in court or in the press?

No I don't think it is worthwhile to spare American children from rotavirus with a vaccine that causes Kawasakis disease... my whole family has had it a few times, it sucked for a day, and everyone was fine and didn't need the vaccine by the time it came out. American children who have access to clean water, sanitation and a 7-11 with pedialite are not at serious risk from Rota virus..... (not vaccinating is not analagus to attacking someone and the "throwing under the bus" comment is not warrented)

...but what I think about which child should get what vaccine and went is not what is important... what individual American parents think is what is important.

Parents need to evaluate which vaccines are a good risk for their child and when.

I am not concerned with preventing vaccination, but with having parents armed with the whole picture and being able to practice fully informed consent.

Informed consent in vaccination does not currently exist.

Ginger Taylor said...

And yes... we strive for civility here.

You can be pissed at someone and still treat them like a person who matters. That has disappeared in far too many places.

SecularDad said...

Has it ever occurred to you that maybe the reason Wakefield's papers have been withdrawn and he is being openly criticized might have a little something to do with the fact that he committed fraud, pushed bad science, and almost single-handedly increased the numbers of the anti-vaccination movement in the UK by powers of 10 through lies?

His Lancet study has been debunked for years. There is a reason why all of the other authors removed their names from it, and my guess is that it has nothing to do with your flow chart, and everything to do with their desire to maintain their credibility in the medical community after the truth about this study came out.

What is sad is that this didn't happen a decade ago, and maybe we wouldn't have had so many new cases of measles and mumps. The lack of herd immunity in England is even harming Americans.

http://www.lohud.com/article/20102060356

I doubt you'll leave this post up, because you seem to consider any criticism to not be "constructive," but you are a coward for not allowing open discussion and deleting posts that are relevant. You are promoting unfounded conspiracy theories. Fortunately, there are people like Orac out there that not only allow open discussion on their blogs, but welcome it. It is the sure sign of a crank when someone starts deleting comments that disagree with their premises.

Nostrum said...

Did you add Wakefield's patented vaccine for measles onto your chart? The one where he'd have stood to profit from a different pharmaceutical company if his findings were true? How about the court litigants he was working for? I think they belong on the chart somewhere, too. Also the current vaccine litigants that either worked with him on the monkey study or pay him for research. Because I'm sure that doesn't have any influence on his outcomes....

His own lab assistant belongs on the chart, too, since he testified under oath that Wakefield's results couldn't be accurate and came from faulty methods.

Basically? You're holding onto a loser here. He's a bad scientist, a fraud, unethical, a quack, and not worth your time. Let it go. It's ok, really.

Ginger Taylor said...

SD,

You should know that those who removed their names from the paper said that they still stood by the science. And the editor of the lancet can't seem to make up his mind on whether or not the article was sound.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sally-beck/richard-horton-waffles-on_b_460550.html

Wakefield committed what fraud exactly?

"almost single-handedly increased the numbers of the anti-vaccination movement in the UK by powers of 10"

YES! NOW you are getting my point. Having people reject vaccination, which is their basic human right, is not acceptable to the powers listed above, pressure was brought to bear and most of the articles authors could not stand up to the pressure.

Where are the "lies" in the Lancet article? Did the children not have bowel problems? Was there no vaccine strain measles virus found in their bowel tissue? Is it not wise, when a link is even suspected to take a safer course if one is possible, you know... like giving the exact same vaccines, but splitting them up just in case?

People stopped getting the shot because the brilliant UK medical authorities decided it was their way or the high way and yanked the single 'jabs'! That action alone is evidence that this is about profits and control, not the health of the British public.

And guess what... you made a relevant point! And with out insults or references to space aliens. So yes your post stays up.

And with all this "loss of herd immunity" and "OMG, henny penny the sky is falling along with MMR uptake rates", in the last five years or so there have been what, 2 measles deaths in the UK and none here, and no mumps deaths (not that people die of mumps). I have had two friends loose their vaccine injured children in the last 2 years. We have had two children with autism murdered in the last week at the hands of their own parents. So you will excuse me if I am not as alarmed by the drop in MMR uptake as you are.

And that does not even take into account that measles deaths were practically non existent by the time the vaccine came out in 1967.

And dude... these are not conspiracy theories. This is all in the public record.

And what exactly is the difference between "conspiracy theory" and "corporate synergy"??! It is the same thing now isn't it? Just a bunch of rich guys in a room making plans to get richer!

Ginger Taylor said...

Nos,

He addressed that in the NBC piece and it was not a competing product for MMR. Right?

And that might be an interesting chart, except for the fact that there just isn't a 20 billion dollar tag driving those interests now is there. It is a bunch of sleepless parents up to their elbows in fecal matter trying to keep their children from running into traffic. And even the lawyers who represent them can't be turned in to the big baddies that most lawyers can, because guess what... there is no money in vaccine litigation. You can't even sue in the US and it is hard to even find a lawyer to file a claim in vaccine court. I don't even know of one in the entire state of Maine who does it.

You are suggesting that broke parents hundreds of dollars are a serious threat to Pharma's billions?

But again.. The Lancet knew about his past work. Horton lied when he claimed in 2004 he had never heard about Andy's work. Wakefield produced his letter to them about it. Right?

"Basically? You're holding onto a loser here. He's a bad scientist, a fraud, unethical, a quack, and not worth your time. Let it go. It's ok, really."

And enough with the condensation and name calling. Again... it is not welcome here.

Ginger Taylor said...

And if we could get back to the point of the article...

which is the fact that there is a serious problem in the strangle hold that corporate interests have in vaccine research.

stone.johndaniel@virgin.net said...

SecularDad

Wakefield's work has been extensively replicated - are all the other papers going to be pulled now?

Nostrum

The "vaccine" was to be developed for treatment not prevention - it was certainly never commercial rival to MMR and it was not patented to make money for Wakefield.

On the other hand the ultra-fastidious Surendra Kumar, chairman of the panel, failed to disclose that he worked for the medicines licensing authority and had shares in GSK:

http://www.bmj.com/cgi/eletters/337/oct01_3/a1856#203466

María Luján said...

There are very interesting manuscripts recently published.
For example
The point about the flu vaccine
http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/338/feb12_2/b354
Conclusion Publication in prestigious journals is associated with partial or total industry funding, and this association is not explained by study quality or size.

Also this recently accepted manuscript
Evidence-based Medicine to Marketing-based Medicine: Evidence from Internal Industry Documents

Publicación Journal of Bioethical Inquiry
Glen I. Spielmans and Peter I. Parry

Abstract While much excitement has been generated surrounding evidence-based medicine, internal documents from the pharmaceutical industry suggest that the publicly available evidence base may not accurately represent the underlying data regarding its products. The industry and its associated medical communication firms state that publications in the medical literature primarily serve marketing interests. Suppression and spinning of negative data and ghostwriting have emerged as tools to help manage medical journal publications to best suit product sales, while disease mongering and market segmentation of physicians are also used to efficiently maximize profits. We propose that while evidence-based medicine is a noble ideal, marketing-based medicine is the current reality.

Nostrum said...

Really? Wakefield's patent was just for a therapy? Why does the patent say" I have now discovered a combined vaccine/therapeutic agent which is not only most probably safer to administer to children and others by way of vaccination/immunisation, but which also can be used to treat IBD and RBD whether as a complete cure or to alleviate symptoms. "

It even starts out claiming to be a vaccine. Read it yourself: http://www.patentstorm.us/patents/6534259/description.html

It sounds like he was making half-truths for NBC. The patent claims to be both a vaccine and a treatment, and both uses would be in his best financial interest to find gut-measles.

Also, vaccine litigants in the UK have more than a few hundred dollars at their disposal. He got around $750,000 converted to US dollars. Sure, it's not big pharma money, but I'm sure the millions he ALSO would have earned from big pharma for that measles vaccine would have padded it nicely.

Also individuals in the US may not get much money, but I guarantee the lawyers in the omnibus made some nice scratch. Even the losing lawyers. Lawyers for the Cedillo case made about a million and a half.

And yeah, the poor parents who only have a couple hundred to give are one of the reasons the situation pisses me off. Wakefield manages to take enough of their hard earned cash to still live quite comfortably in exile here in the land of bigger big Pharma profits. I'd rather we work for real treatments instead of throwing our money after some fake miracle peddler with a charming accent.

stone.johndaniel@virgin.net said...

Nostrum

Your quote makes the point that the "vaccine" was a treatment rectifying a problem - that it might be preventative was also considered in the patent as a subsidiary matter but it wasn't the main purpose. I also note that Wakefield was not seeking to profit from it.

You seem to be under some misapprehension about the funding of the legal case. This was paid by the Legal Aid Board later renamed the Legal Services Commission: no one has the money to take on the pharmaceutical industry. But the LSC virtually never supports negligence litigation against industry - it refused even in the Vioxx case, after it it had already been conceded in the US courts. The MMR litigation was abortive, and there really is no hope for the ordinary citizen being poisoned maimed and killed by the big interests under the present system.

Ginger Taylor said...

SD,

Comment removed. Again... you are welcomed to comment if you can refrain from insulting.

Nostrum said...

You're still not getting it. The vaccine would only rectifying a problem *if* his findings were true. Findings he had a stronger compelling financial interest in proving than any other line on that flow chart, and conflicts of interest he did not disclose when he submitted his paper.

tom said...

This post lends no support to Andrew Wakefield. It doesn't try to defend him at all, it merely says 'scientists have money'.

Wakefield was found guilty of serious professional misconduct, including performing unnecessary colonoscopies and lumber punctures, going against his hospital's ethics committee, and paying children £5 each for blood samples at a birthday party.

Wakefield is guilty. Get over it.

Minority said...

Huge conflicts of interest don't concern some people. But the unlikely possibility that Dr. Wakefield was trying to destroy the market for MMR so he could take over with his own vaccine...has them utterly outraged.

But the transfer factor wasn't a vaccine and it certainly wasn't meant to be a substitute for MMR.

The story put forward by the GMC is utterly unlikely in every respect.

Kate Taylor said...

Good for you, Ginger--keep up the good work!!!!!!!God bless!

Tonnie said...

Hello, Ginger. Thank you very much for your informative graphic, which I stumbled upon by accident.

Regardless of what happens next in the PR wars, I wish Dr Wakefield - and the two former colleagues who have faithfully stood by him all this time - vindication at the end.

Thanks again.

Steve D said...

Hello Ginger -
Rarely have I seen a more blatant example of conspiracism.
First off, even the barest indication of an attempt at a neutral, fairly considered view of the entire situation is eliminated by your choice of header, "Profiteers of 20 Billion Dollar Vaccine Industry". Use of the word "profiteers" conveys very clearly that you believe this cabal you have drawn up earns excessive and unreasonable profits from the sale of dangerous contraband. As opposed, of course, to the possibility that they earn a fair profit from providing a product that is viewed by most credible scientists and public health authorities to be one of the most important health advances in human history.
You then go on to produce an astonishing array of "links" in the "conspiracy" ranging from a media mogul to the US Dept of Defense, and including scientific contributors and publications whose contributions to human welfare (presumably in all areas except your pet subject of vaccines) are heralded and whose rigorous standards have withstood the test of time.
Your chart completely ignores the complementary concepts of Occam's Razor and Plausible Alternative Explanations. Such as:
Earning profit in business is a GOOD thing, not a BAD thing.
It is possible to to earn money on products that help people.
Vaccines are not the only way any or all of the entities you include earn money. In fact, some or most of them could earn MORE money in other ways.
Vaccines do GOOD things. People who invest a career in their development might be GOOD people.
Medical journals may not be entirely unethical simply because they do something YOU don't want them to do.
Newspapers are highly dynamic entities with multiple views and ways to earn money. Chances are, they are far less obsessed about slanting YOUR pet subject than you think they are.

Of course during all of this dot-connecting you utterly ignore and discount the other information exposed during the GMC hearings that implicate Dr. Wakefield in his actions based on the premise that "the bad guys made it up". Are we to assume that your body of knowledge and resulting logical deliberations outweigh the result of that long and in-depth examination of the situation by professionals in multiple fields conducted in one of the finest examples of fair justice systems that the world has to offer?

For what it's worth, Ginger, I appreciate your acumen in researching the issues at hand and the composure with which you deliver your message. Thus, it is particularly disappointing to see you espouse such an incredibly unplausible, unreasonable, and radical worldview.

Ginger Taylor said...

SD,

Quick comments on your comments...

1. It is difficult for me to take some of your critique, because if you knew me a bit better you would know that I am a pro business, Regan Republican.

But here is the thing... you don't get to lie to your customers in order to sell your product, and if it might poison them, you have to tell them.

Informed consent does not currently exist in vaccination. True risk is not disclosed to the public.

We know this because the research that would be needed to make the safety claims that Pharma, public health, et. al make....

HAVE NEVER BEEN DONE.

No safety study exists for the 4 shots that my son was given that preceded his regression.

Vaccines save lives AND they kill people.

2. Profits are good. But more importantly to this discussion...


PROFITS MOTIVATE


And the irony that I mentioned that is missed on too many seems also to be missed by you... that the undeclared conflicts of interest in those running the anti Wakefield campaign have far greater conflicts of interest (not on the chart is that the man running the GMC hearing is a shareholder in GSK.

So if Wakefield has undeclared conflicts of interest, that is evil, but if the people who put him on trial, literally and figuratively do, then that is not a problem? Are undeclared conflicts of interest bad or not?

3. What you are calling conspiracy, I call corporate synergy. As a matter of fact, so does everyone in business. Business partnerships are the natural outcome of supply and demand. That is how the free market works.

Because that is how business works, customers must know who is in bed with who, so that one knows when an entity is giving advice that they are profiting from, while posing as someone that is impartial.

Like when Nancy Synderman tells you to "get your damn vaccine" but fails to mention that she was a VP at Johnson and Johnson (being sued for thimerosal in Rhogam) and that her non-profit is run with Pharma dollars.

They even came up with a fancy Latin phrase to remind people, that when they are buying a product, they should beware, because things may not be what they seem.

Caveat emptor.

4. How come when I do it, it is conspiracy theory, when Brian Deer does it, no comment, and if ABC News does it, it is just their business section?

All three are included in this piece. All three presume that profit motives drive the business.

Honestly I wish I had more time to write on this... perhaps next week...

But as far as your indictment of me for unfairness... seriously... do you think that me and parents across the west are morons? How much garbage can this industry and public health dish out on vaccines and still claim that they are honest and earnest.

They are in for the fight of their business lives... go back a few comments and read up on cutting the vaccine trade in half...

Please don't try to sell me this crap that you are disappointed in me for not being fair. Merck's Vioxx Doctor Hit List proved that they have taken the gloves off and profits come before people's careers and lives.

Telling me that the people who run these companies are earning "fair" profits is complete BS. Don't pee on my leg and tell me its raining.

They ARE Profiteers.

Quit trying to make them all into Mother Theresa.

Ginger Taylor said...

It is late and I have scrambled many words... but you get the gist.

MySocratesNote said...

It never fails to amuse me when the Oraccolytes whine "conspiracy, conspiracy," never taking into consideration that they are essentially accusing parents like us of faking our childrens' vaccine reactions in order to discredit the vaccine industry and bring back deadly diseases like Chicken Pox. Or, the above, but in order to extort money from the NVICP. It is a ridiculous claim, yet that is the basis of their entire argument.

Also, it is amusing to realize that they think that those who believe in conspiracies are crazy (see above paragraph...yes, they are calling themselves crazy) and shouldn't be taken seriously. They also fail to realize that the American Revolution began as a conspiracy. They really should keep that in mind.

Ginger Taylor said...

Great points.

And consider that all the information on that chart came from super wacky internet sources like, that page where GSK lists their board members, and that dangerous fringe news letter "ABC News", those underground trolls at "The Federal Court in Melbourne, Australia" and of course "Paul Offit".

(Paul Offit says that he has made millions off his Merck vaccine patents, and that is taken as a statement of "fact", but if I repeat his statement, I am a conspiracy "theorist"? When did the fact that Offit is a vaccine millionaire become a theory?)

The way they seem to be defining conspiracy includes terrorist cells, board meetings, chess clubs, mom's discussing their kids over coffee and any information contained in a press release.

And they indict themselves in the process as you point out.

And of course the silly thing about condemning the idea of 'conspiracies' as they are defining it, is that... well... not only are they common, but that is pretty much all there is!

Walk into the history section of any library, pull a random book off the shelf, open the book, close your eyes and point to a paragraph, and 98 percent chance it will be about one group of people trying to gain an advantage over another group of people.

As a matter of fact, because we know how the world works, and know that one person, acting on his own, can so rarely effect a change on society, when a single person is accused of doing something big we immediately start looking for who helped him do it. And have a hard time swallowing that, for example, a man could kill a president, with out any help.

So Hillary Clinton was essentially right (according to the Oracolytes and Offiteers measure of 'conspiracy')... the campaign against her husband was a 'vast right wing conspiracy', in that those on the right didn't want a sleazy player who lies in investigations to be president, and they organized against him.

So it turns out, not only am I a conspiracy theorist, I am also a life long members of untold numbers of conspiracies!

It all started with a conspiratorial group that I began with at the tender age of 13. I joined an elite group of girls who met privately to come up with a public relations campaign that included loud yelling and engaging in detracting behavior at public events in order to influence the outcome of a competition... known only as... the Orange Park Bears cheer leading squad.

And it has been all downhill for me from there. I have conspired to defeat softball teams, to tell people about Jesus, to provide help for pregnant teens, to get restaurant patrons to give me money, to get kids in foster care to stay in school, to keep Conan on The Tonight Show and most dangerous of all... to ensure full informed consent in vaccination and cure autism.

Because if my discussion of how corporations protect their bottom line is a conspiracy theory... THEN EVERYTHING IS.

MySocratesNote said...

Nostrum, if the GMC was so concerned about the Transfer Factor and were also concerned that it was a potential rival for MMR, why wasn't he charged for that misconduct in the GMC hearing?

And all of you who are throwing out spittle-flecked whines of "Conspiracy" have failed to do one simple thing when it comes to debunking conspiracy theories; not a damned one of you have provided a single bit of evidence to disprove Ginger's post. Not one.

Don't piss on my leg and tell me that it's raining.

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