FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

They Aren’t All Safe: Pharma is Willing to Look “Unscientific” to Sell Vaccines

Why do progressive news sites that expose government and corporate disinformation in other areas accept disinformation when it comes to vaccines–actually calling activists “unscientific”?

It is not surprising mainstream scientists are vaccine absolutists who vilify “anti-vaxxers” given that their medical centers, hospital wings, universities and sometimes personal paychecks are funded by Pharma. (The motive of progressive sites is less clear.) But “Pharma knows best” rings false with a quick look at withdrawn drugs like Vioxx, Bextra, Baycol, Trovan, Meridia, Darvon, Phen-Fen, Raxar and Seldane–all called safe when they were making millions.

Neither mainstream or progressive news sites want to acknowledge the existence of the federal National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) which, since 1988, has settled more than 16,000 claims and awarded $3.18 billion in injury settlements. When I asked a vaccine expert why the court existed if vaccines are unremittingly safe he told me that vaccines are so basic to public health yet so non-lucrative (compared to billion dollar pills), the government does not want vaccine makers bankrupted by lawsuits.

But ignoring the court and the ghastly injuries it settles—I was told, off the record, about a woman who lost her fingers and toes from vasculitis caused by a vaccine—mainstream scientists are the ones who are “unscientific.”  The truth is not all vaccines are safe, life-saving or necessary and conflicts of interest do exist. Consider the case of Gardasil, a vaccine against the human papillomavirus vaccine types 6, 11, 16, 18.

The Case of Gardasil

A few years ago, Merck aggressively marketed Gardasil, a vaccine against the HPV virus (which is linked to venereal warts and cervical cancer)–even in poor countries where cervical cancer is hardly a leading cause of death compared to malaria or diarrheal diseases. (In developed countries, a Pap test is as effective as a vaccine in preventing cervical cancer.)

Last year, judges in India’s Supreme Court demanded answers after children died during a trial of Gardasil and Cervarix, GlaxoSmithKline’s counterpart vaccine, a few years earlier.

According to CBS News there was another cloud over Gardasil. “Merck gave $6,000 to [Texas Gov. Rick] Perry’s election campaign fund as part of a national lobbying effort to persuade states that it ought to require Gardasil as one of the vaccines all kids should have before attending school,”  it wrote. The director of a Merck-funded pro-Gardasil group was also Perry’s then-chief of staff’s mother-in-law.

Nor did the departure of former CDC director Julie Gerberding to head Merck’s vaccines division look right to many ethics specialists.

Docs Gone Bad

Mainstream scientists have savaged Andrew Wakefield, a British medical researcher found to have conducted fraudulent research linking the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR). His corruption is said to disprove any scientific doubts about vaccine safety.

Yet when researchers in the U.S. have been so corrupt they have gone to jail, mainstream scientists still accept their research. Scott Reuben published fraudulent research on Lyrica, Effexor, Celebrex and other drugs for Pharma. He went to prison for six months but the “science” behind the drugs he promoted stands. Richard Borison, former psychiatry chief at Augusta Veterans Affairs (VA) medical center and Medical College of Georgia, went to prison for 15 years for using clinical trials on veterans of the antipsychotic Seroquel to line his own pockets. The drug went on to earn billions and his for-profit “research” still stands.

As a reporter I have interviewed a man whose blindness was caused by a 1976 flu vaccine for which the government compensated him. More recently I interviewed a parent whose normal toddler was never the same after a vaccine and is now institutionalized. “He cried hysterically for 24 hours,” the parent, who is a medical practitioner, told me.

Pharma is unwise to cast such parents, of whom there are many, as “nuts.” The degeneration of their child is not their imagination. Also, there is no defensible reason for vaccines to be given all at once to a child, which many say heightens risks. Administering clusters of vaccines–once not given to children–has been called a major, new profit center for pediatricians.

But anti-vaccination activists should also not be absolutist. Would anyone refuse a rabies vaccine after being bitten by a rabid raccoon? A tetanus shot after a serious wound? Would responsible parents deny their child a whooping cough or polio vaccine?

Like all drugs aggressively marketed these days, patients and parents need to do their own research and weigh benefits and risks—never forgetting Pharma’s spotty safety record.

More articles by:

Martha Rosenberg is an investigative health reporter. She is the author of  Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health (Prometheus).

July 02, 2020
Stan Cox
It’s Not Just Meat: All Farm and Food Workers Are in Peril
Marshall Auerback
We Won’t Have a Truly Global Economy Until People Start Taxing It That Way
John O'Kane
Progressive Pulses Among the Ruins of Riot
John Feffer
Time to Rethink the US-ROK Alliance
Binoy Kampmark
The Kafkaesque Imperium: Julian Assange and the Second Superseding Indictment
Kim C. Domenico
Disbelief, Belief and the Perils of Pandemic Re-opening
George Ochenski
Trump’s Contagion Road Show Heads West
Haydar Khan
The Great Wall of Wokeness
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Biden Compared Indicted War Criminal to “George Washington”
Howard Lisnoff
Try to Get Published; Try to Be Heard
Rebecca Gordon
Fear of Falling: Can Making Black Lives Matter Rescue a Failing State?
Gary Leupp
Traditional Russophobia in an Unusual Election Year
John Kendall Hawkins
Biopic? Shirley, You Jest
Gary Macfarlane – Mike Garrity
Conservation Groups Sue Trump Administration to Halt Massive Logging in Steelhead Critical Habitat
Quincy Saul
Who Made the Plague?
July 01, 2020
Melvin Goodman
De-Militarizing the United States
Kenneth Surin
UK’s Labour Leader Sacks the Most Left-Wing Member of His Shadow Cabinet
Ruth Fowler
Then as Farce: the Commodification of Black Lives Matter
Kent Paterson
Crisis After Crisis on the Border
Rick Baum
The Pandemic and Wealth Inequality
Michael Welton
“Into the World of Bad Spirits”: Slavery and Plantation Culture
James W. Carden
The Return of the Anti-Antiwar Left
Dan Wakefield
Charles Webb Enters Heaven
Julian Vigo
A Call for Radical Humanism: the Left Needs to Return to Class Analyses of Power
Binoy Kampmark
A Trendy Rage: Boycotting Facebook and the Stop Hate for Profit Campaign
Michael D. Knox – Linda Pentz Gunter
As Monuments to War Generals Come Down, Let’s Replace Them with Monuments to Peace
Cesar Chelala
Attorney General William Barr’s Insomnia
Raphael Tsavkko Garcia
Is Bolsonaro Plotting a Self-Coup?
Mandy Smithberger
COVID-19 Means Good Times for the Pentagon
Joe Emersberger
On Pablo Celi, Ecuador’s super shady “Auditor General”
June 30, 2020
James Bovard
Bill Clinton’s Serbian War Atrocities Exposed in New Indictment
Bianca Sierra Wolff – Lisa Knox
ICE is Leaving Immigrants to Die in Detention, and Retaliating When They Speak Out
Don Fitz
Should NYC’s Wall Street Be Renamed “Eric Garner St.?”
Chris Hedges
My Student Comes Home
Richard C. Gross
Obamacare Vulnerable
John Feffer
The Hatchet Man’s Tale: Why Bolton Matters
Thomas Knapp
Afghanistan Bounties: Pot, Meet Kettle (and Turn Off the Stove!)
Charles Reitz
Anti-Racist Engagement in the Kansas Free State Struggle, 1854-64: Horace Greeley, German 48-ers, and the Civil War Journalism of Karl Marx, 1861-62
Howard Lisnoff
A Student Murdered in Cold Blood and a Kids’ Bike Ride Through Queens, New York
David Swanson
Hey Congress, Move the Money
Aparna Karthikeyan
Memories of Pox, Plague, and Pandemics in Tamil Nadu
John Kendall Hawkins
Democracy Chasers in a Badly Injured Nation
Binoy Kampmark
Wasteful, Secret and Vicious: the Absurd Prosecution of Witness K and Bernard Collaery
Norman Solomon
Ro Khanna and Barbara Lee Could Defy “the Madness of Militarism” as Co-Chairs of the Democratic Convention’s Biggest Delegation
Jon Hochschartner
Imagining a Vegan Superman
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail