Tag Archives: GlaxoSmithKline

Avian Flu Vaccine Ingredients: Formaldehyde To Save You From What??A Flu?

 

After the World Health Organization [WHO] declared a Level 6 “pandemic” on June 11, the US government has mandated that all Americans over the age of six months be vaccinated.

Although WHO cannot technically interfere with the internal laws of the US, they can and already have put enormous pressure on our government (and, thereby, our own laws) to require all citizens to get these toxic vaccine shots. There are to be no exceptions to this new illegal US ruling. Further, WHO is not even tracking the actual number of laboratory confirmed cases of H1N1.

So, how can it be called a “pandemic”? This year’s flu is mild…

There has been a tremendous rush (called “fast-tracked”) to get these vaccines on the market. The tests they have done were only a few days to a few weeks long. This is totally insufficient time to determine any realistic, long-term, and potentially hazardous immune responses.

Nothing has been done in any responsible manner.

There is absolutely no Precautionary Principle (first do no harm) in place. What we have, first and foremost, are both out-of-control greed and scare tactics. These are directed to uninformed citizens, while the international pharmaceutical companies will make billions of dollars, with the very real potential of enormous harm to millions of victims is looming ever closer.

We all are their experimental lab rats. There is no concern about harming or killing anyone, because the companies (GlaxoSmithKline, Baxter, and Novartis, and others) have been indemnified by the government, so that there is absolutely no recourse for any deaths or injuries these vaccines may cause. Why would they do that, if these vaccines were safe?

What secret and criminal plans were done behind closed doors to hatch this real X-Files plot?

From investigative reports by Jane Burgermeister, Dr. A. True Ott, and Canadian doctor Ghislaine Lanctôt (author of “The Medical Mafia”), it appears that there is criminal collusion between officials in the US government, WHO/UN, and the pharmaceutical corporations.(1)

In a call yesterday to a friend who is a doctor in California, she told me ominously:

“60% of Americans could die from these vaccines.”

Is this what lies ahead for us in the next few months?

12,000 children ages 3-12, will be guinea pigs for these flu vaccines. It is unethical and unconscionable. To possibly rig the results, the children will be getting injections of different vaccines than will be delivered to the rest of the population this Fall. Is this the cesspool that is hijacking our country? Do we all go­lost in our daily routines, refusing to wake to the grave consequences that face us!- merrily down a path leading to such Orwellian destruction?

Here are some historical reminders of past flu epidemics. They were all contrived and created in some hidden laboratory.

The vaccine used in the mandated 1976 supposed swine flu “epidemic” caused the deaths of 2,000 people before it was removed; and 4,000 filed injury law suits. Before that, it was the Salk polio vaccine, also fast-tracked with $9-million of tax-payer money, to inoculate 57-million Americans before it was even proved to be safe to use. And it wasn’t. African green monkey kidney tissue was used to grow the polio virus; and it proved to have long-term and deadly effects.

In 1955, the “British Medical Journal warned against the used of the Salk polio vaccine.”(2)

The warning, and there were others as well, was ignored. Before genetic engineering opened a Pandora’s Box, this vaccine “was an uncontrolled experiment in interspecies viral transmission.”(3)

Long-term, but not known then (in the financial rush to get this vaccine produced), the use of this monkey’s tissue was to be the cause of cancers detected much later. This cancer-causing monkey virus, known as SV40 (still debated in some medical circles) is documented in “The Virus and the Vaccine: The true story of a cancer-causing monkey virus, contaminated Polio Vaccine, and the millions of Americans Exposed.”(4)

There are countless stories of vaccinations causing death, seizures, and other permanent injuries. Over many years, Robert F. Kennedy’s has waged a valiant campaign about the dangers of vaccines. His article about what he calls “Deadly Immunity” has been re-printed just this past week.(5)

It is yet another reminder of a path continuously trodden by rapacious multi-national corporations, and always with grave consequences that the public bears. Manufacturing vaccines has now become a multi-billion dollar investment by international pharmaceutical corporations. With this enormous investment, there is total lack of precaution. Money trumps safety every time.

Now, we are talking about millions of people getting vaccinated without any safety data or long-term studies.

We are the guinea pigs. AGAIN and AGAIN.

Who benefits from all this? Follow the money trail…

Novartis will receive from the US HHS [Health and Human Services] $346-million for antigen and $348.8-million for adjuvant. They also have orders from 30 other countries. Baxter has orders from five countries for 80-million doses, but has not received FDA approval. GlaxoSmithKline has received $250-million to supply the US with various “pandemic products.”

This is not small change; and more vaccine purchases are planned. Dr. Mae-Wan Ho and Prof. Joe Cummins, in their new article (see below), report that the total US vaccine figure for these orders amounts to $7 billion. From where is this money supposed come, when the United States is actually bankrupt (yet printing worthless fiat dollars)?

In a lengthy article posted on July 27, the distinguished British geneticist and biophysicist Dr. Mae-Wan Ho and biologist Prof. Joe Cummins have written that,

“Vaccines themselves can be dangerous, especially live, attenuated viral vaccines or the new recombinant nucleic acid vaccines, they have the potential to generate virulent viruses by recombination and the recombinant nucleic acids could cause autoimmune diseases. A further major source of toxicity in the case of the flu vaccines are the adjuvants, substances added in order to boost the immunogenicity of the vaccines. There is a large literature on the toxicities of adjuvants.

Most flu vaccines contain dangerous levels of mercury in the form of thimerosal, a deadly preservative 50 times more toxic than the mercury itself. At high enough doses, it can cause long-term immune, sensory, neurological, motor, behavioral dysfunctions. Also associated with mercury poisoning are autism, attention deficit disorder, multiple sclerosis, and speech and language deficiencies.

The Institute of Medicine has warned that infants, children, and pregnant women should not be injected with thimerosal, yet the majority of flu shots contain 25 micrograms of it.”(6)

It should be noted that Dr. Mae-Wan Ho is the Director of the prestigious London non-profit organization, the Institute of Science in Society [ISIS].

She has written several important books and, for more than a decade, also has been writing about the dangers of genetically engineered organisms long before anyone was writing about these issues in the US. This ISIS article is absolutely essential reading for anyone who wants additional and unbiased background information on the questionable safety of these flu vaccines.

In order to be well informed, there also are other important questions that we all must ask every public official.

What vaccines are actually going to be used? There are numerous websites that list ingredients for all the pharmaceutical companies involved in this multi-million dollar so-called “pandemic.” Far too many of the ingredients listed are highly toxic. Some vaccines are not recommended at all for children.

How many injections are going to be forced on children (some reports say four!) and adults? If this goes forward in the Fall, using schools as medical clinics, how will parents know what is in these vaccines? Given the governmental immunity for the pharmaceutical companies, what recourse does anyone have for serious immune damage or death from these vaccines?

These extremely dangerous vaccines are classified as bioweapons by the US government’s own definition.

NOTE: Adjuvants are added to all vaccines to make dispersal faster and easier in the body (but not more safely). It affects the “action of the drug’s active ingredient.” It also then requires less adjuvant, so the product then can be expanded to cover many more vaccinations with less vaccine. This also means a faster production of vaccines, and more money for the drug companies with less production output of vaccine.

However, the trial tests this month on children will not contain a squalene adjuvant, even though it is an ingredient in all three of the vaccines listed below. According to Jane Burgermeister’s July 29 report, these three companies “will conduct their own trials under secret contract with Health and Human Services.”(1, see her website)

Why are they secret, when our lives are all at such risk?

Again, there is a long history of rigged trials [the outcome always favoring the company, and rarely emphasizing the serious health risks and toxicity], especially when conducted by the same company that will produce a drug.

The following is an incomplete (but significant) list of vaccine ingredients:

GlaxoSmithKline Plc based in London

Vaccine Ingredients

Aluminum adjuvant: an aluminum-containing compound. It releases the antigen [an active substance that is capable of generating an enhanced immune response from the body, and then reacting with the products from that response], causing strong, enhanced antibody response ­ what Dr. Mercola calls a “turbo charge” to the body’s immune system. It has been linked to Gulf War Syndrome that has caused tremendous permanent damage to thousands of military.(7) Aluminum is a known cause of cognitive dysfunction.

AS03: The company’s proprietary squalene adjuvant. (See: squalene below)

Daronrix: Glaxo’s H5N1 bird flu vaccine.

Disodium phosphate: a white powder, water-soluble salt. It is used as an anti-caking additive in powdered products. This inorganic chemical is also used as a fungicide and microbiocide.

Formaldehyde: a known carcinogen and reproductive or developmental toxicant. Interestingly, according to PANNA, in 2007, California used 30,328 pounds of this carcinogen, as a microbiocide [a drug or other agent that can kill microbes] on the top 50 crops grown in the state.(8)

Octoxynol 10: (Also known as Triton X-100) A detergent, emulsifier, wetting and defoaming agent. [Octoxynol-9 is a spermatocide.] It can alter metabolic activity, damage membranes, and cause a rapid decline in cell function.

Polysorbate 80: Also known as Tween 80. It is used as an emulsifier in cosmetics, and is one of the ingredients in Gardasil, the cervical cancer vaccine that is being mandated/promoted for teen-age girls. This ingredient is known to cause infertility, grand mal convulsions, spontaneous abortions, and life-threatening anaphylactic shock. So far, 28 Gardasil deaths have been reported.

Sodium Chloride: Refined table salt. Salt is a naturally occurring complex mineral that balances the water inside and outside our cells. Refined salt, sodium chloride, is chemically treated and contains many other hidden chemicals that destroy natural salt’s healing abilities. The body can get most of its daily requirement by eating a well-balanced, organic diet -eliminating processed foods. A good source is untreated, natural sea salt.

Squalene: A natural oil found in sharks (mostly found in their livers) and humans. The American Journal of Pathology (2000) reported that rats injected with squalene triggered “chronic, immune-mediated joint-specific inflammation,” ­i.e., rheumatoid arthritis. How will this affect people who already have an immune inflammation, or will it cause untold new cases (lupus, chronic fatigue)? Squalene is being added to all new vaccines. It is linked to the thousands of military who have contracted “Gulf War Syndrome” and have suffered irreparable auto-immune damage, including lupis, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis.(9)

Thimersol: (MERCURY). Put in all multiple doses of vaccines. Any amount of mercury is highly toxic. There is no safe level. This is has been repeatedly linked to the increasing rates of autism, multiple sclerosis, and ADD.(10)

Vitamin E: This anti-oxidant vitamin helps protect the body’s red blood cell functions, and helps to oxygenate our tissues. The best sources are from organic, cold-pressed vegetable oils, such as wheat germ, sunflower seeds, and safflower. Vitamin E from corn or soybean oil now often comes from genetically engineered sources.

Baxter International Based in Chicago. Called “Celvapan” or its common name – pandemic influenza vaccine [H5N1]

Vaccine Ingredients

NOTE: Adverse reactions include: headaches, dizziness, vertigo, nasopharyngitis, chills, fatigue, malaise, injection site pain. There is “no data on Celvapan vaccination dose and schedule for subjects under 18 years of age” and for subjects who are immuno-supressed.

African Green Monkey: Cultured cells are taken from this species of monkey through a process called “vero cell technology.” This species of monkey (and the tissue derived from it) have been implicated in transmitting several viruses, including HIV and polio.

Baxter has,

“applied for a patent on a process using this type of cell culture to produce quantities of infecting virus, which are harvested, inactivated with formaldehyde and ultra violet light, and then detergent. Baxter has produced H5N1 [bird flu] whole virus vaccine in a Vero cell line derived from the kidney of an African green monkey.”(11)

According to Dr. Mae-Wan Ho and Prof. Cummins,

“details of the production of this vaccine have not yet been released to the public.”

Whole virus (H5N1) influenza vaccine, vero-celled derived. (See above.)

Trometamol: Also known as Tris (or Tris buffer) or THAM. An organic compound used as a buffer. May be harmful if inhaled. Avoid contact with eyes, skin, and clothing. Long-term effects: no data. Ecological information: no data.(12)

Sodium chloride, Polysorbate 80, and water [what kind? tap? fluoridated? chlorinated?] for injection.

Novartis International AG Based in Basel, Switzerland

Vaccine Ingredients

NOTE: Adverse reactions include: headaches, sweating, joint pain, fever malaise, shivering, and pain at injection site.

Called “Focetria” or its common name: pandemic influenza vaccine. Licensed May 8, 2007.

Virus: The company is using a proprietary cell line. [Unknown is whether they are using dog or green monkey tissue.] By using this process, instead of growing the virus strain in chicken eggs, it,

“has cut weeks off the time required to begin vaccine production [to be done at its cell-based facility in Germany.”(13)

According to the European Assessment Report (May 2007),

“Focetria should not be given to patients who have an anaphylactic reaction (severe reaction) to an of the components of the vaccine, or to any substances found at trace levels in the vaccine, such as egg, chicken protein, kanamycin, or neomycin sulphate (two antibiotics), formaldehyde, cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB, a disinfectant used to sterilize utensils and instruments) and Polysorbate 80.”

The CTAB Material Safety Data Sheet notes that its,

“chemical, physical, and toxicological properties have not been thoroughly investigated” but it “is irritating to mucous membranes and upper respiratory tract.”(14)

PANNA also lists this as an herbicide and microbiocide.

Squalene: see above.

MF59: A proprietary oil-based adjuvant that and contains (according to Dr. Mae-Wan Ho and Prof. Cummins’s ISIS article, already cited) Tween 80, Span85, and squalene.

The authors also note that MF59 has “substantially higher local reactogenicity and systemic toxicity than alum.” This adjuvant is part of a new generation of potent vaccine enhancers. In their book, “New Generation Vaccines” authors Levine, Kaper, Rappuoli, and Good note that “The precise mechanisms of action of most adjuvants still remain only partially understood.”(15)

Animal rat studies using oil-based adjuvants have demonstrated severe reactions to them, including paralysis, crippling, auto-immune disorders, and severe arthritis, and immune system impact. The FDA has yet to approved this for used in any vaccine, according to Jane Burgermeister’s July 29 online report (previously cited).

Span85: Patented by the now defunct Chiron (bought by Novartis). Its chemical name is Sorbitan Trioleate. It is an oily liquid used in medicine, textiles, cosmetics, and paints as an emulsifier, anti-rust agent, and thickener. [Some factories in China specialize only in manufacturing Tween 80 and Span 85.]

According to the Pesticide Action Network North America [PANNA], this chemical is used as a pesticide. It is also used as an adjuvant and is “toxic to humans, including carcinogenicity, reproductive and developmental toxicity, neurotoxicity, and acute toxicity.”(16)

UPDATE 1:

For those in mainstream: The International Swine Flu Conference will be held in Washington, D.C., Aug. 19-20, 2009.

Further information is at: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/159085.php and http://www.New-Fields.com/isfc.

UPDATE 2:

In a July 23 report, the National Vaccine information Center (NVIC) is calling on all public officials,

“to provide evidence that it is necessary to given experimental swine flu vaccines to children in schools and that strong mechanisms for vaccine safety screening, recording, monitoring reporting, and vaccine injury compensation are in place.”

At present none of these are. NVIC, founded in 1982, has been committed to being a vaccine watchdog, and questions the need to turn schools into medical clinic this fall.” Further information is at: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/158586.php and http://www.nvic.org//NVIC-Vaccine-News/July-2009/Swine-Flu-Vaccine-Should-Not-Be-Given-to-Children.aspx

The deliberate rush and fast-track to get these untested vaccines ready in millions of doses, precludes any real sense of precaution and safety. There is no concern about how much very real damage, permanent debility, and death will be caused by them.

On June 11, 2009, the World Health Organization [WHO] raised its pandemic level from 5 to 6 -the highest level. In the ensuing six weeks, there has been the most frantic pace by all the pharmaceutical companies to get millions of untested and unsafe vaccines to market, after all, they will be making enormous amounts of money.

Then, just a few days ago, Dr. Keijo Fukuda, WHO’s flu chief, warned about the potential dangers of these different kinds of vaccines, saying:

“There are certain areas where you simply do not try to make any economies. One of the things which cannot be compromised is the safety of the vaccines.” (17)

Safety? This statement is a bit tardy in coming.

At this point, can anyone at the WHO be believed? Trusted? Why was this not the very first thing WHO addressed in May and June, before they rushed to declare a Level 6 “pandemic” (without proof)?

In another unconscionable rush, on July 23, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was reported,

“likely to approve 2009 H1N1 (swine flu) vaccines before trial data can prove their safety and effectiveness against the virus.” (18)

Again, where are any ethics, real safety, caution, or precautionary principle in place? It appears that there is continuing evidence from numerous sources (not just these in this article) repeatedly showing evidences of planned harm to all of us.

The issue of dangerous and deadly pharmaceutical vaccines rushed to market is not an issue that has been created in isolation. Rather, it is part of a whole, and unethical, and completely corrupted system, that is wrecking our country. We are being deliberately assaulted by one crisis after another, precisely as Naomi Klein has written in her brilliant book, “The Shock Doctrine.”

The looting and destruction of our country has been done, bit by bit, over many decades by selected elite insiders, while we (and our parents, too) were basking in a glow that had nothing to do with what was really happening behind the scenes in secret meetings of presidents, Congress, the Judiciary, and other high officials, along with corporate executives.

Now, however, this financial looting as well as the destruction of our Constitutional laws has accelerated enormously over the last nine years. It is all part of the elite’s NWO-plan to wreck our country, destroy what remains, and have those in charge do it right in front of our own eyes. This is the unmitigated hubris of the criminals in charge. Here we are at the brink of a pharmaceutical-military take-over.

Our own government is complicit in this!

Are we still so comatose and/or so heavily poisoned -from ten years of Chemtrail aerosols and the massive pollution from 100,000 mostly untested chemicals that surround our every move- that we do not see or understand what is happening? If these deadly vaccines don’t kill us, then ten years of our entire population being assaulted daily from these highly toxic aerosols and chemicals has already immensely weakened our immune systems.

It is the proverbial one-two punch.

We Americans have not known real chaos on our soil since the Civil War ­ that was 148 years ago. This is not within our own human memory. It belongs to our great-great-grandparent’s era. The 1960’s and Watts Riots were tragic, but they did not engulf the entire United(?) States. Now, with all the illegal laws passed (but not even read) by a complicit Congress -no longer working “for us,” but, truly against us- we face a tremendous, epic crisis.

Moreover, the deliberately created, but non-existent scare-tactic diversion “pandemic” really is a mask for the bankruptcy and on-going theft of our tax-payer dollars. No accountability to the Federal Reserve, while they steal trillions of our dollars. No accountability to the pharmaceutical companies for the real potential of irreparable harm or death from untested and dangerous vaccines.

Do we get the connection?

Stealing our own tax-payer trillions of dollars, the Federal Reserve is not accountable to anyone, while the country goes down the drain, due to the chaos they have deliberately created. The pharmaceutical companies are indemnified, while they manufacture highly toxic, untested drugs. The government officials approve of this. No one is held accountable.

Nonetheless, WE, THE CITIZENS, are put in mortal fear about this non-existent but contrived “pandemic.” This is criminal.

There is a long and dirty history of pharmaceutical companies manufacturing dangerous, often poorly tested drugs. Repeatedly, we have been the guinea pigs for one dangerous drug after another, while the drug companies took in millions of dollars.

It’s a sordid history ­ everything from thalidomide, to DES [diethylstilbestrol, a synthetic estrogen hormone], to Vioxx. Problems were covered up. Test results were falsified. Reports conveniently disappeared. Conflicts of interest are frequent. Scientists were paid off.

There continues a revolving-door policy where employees of drug companies leave their jobs, only to be employed by government agencies. More recently, we now have a vast commercialization of medicine and drugs with all the radio and TV ads. For decade after decade, we have been expendable for enormous corporate profits. Our well being, our safety are never part of the corporate equation. Their bottom line is always profit. All of us continue to be expendable for that.

Think about that, as 12,000 of our [I write “our” in a collective sense, as we are all responsible to one another] young children are going to be given an untested vaccine(s?) this month. Our young and innocent children are going to be the latest guinea pigs. This vaccine is not even the same one that will be forced on the rest of us this Fall.

Does any of this sound ethical? Does it sound criminal?

The massive governmental corruption we see all around us is perhaps even worse than in the ancient Roman days of Caligula.

WHERE ARE OUR RIGHTS?

There are also basic human rights that are deliberately and completely ignored. Where is our right to choose? Where are our supposed legal and Constitutional rights? We have the right to live in peace, without being deliberately harmed or provoked, by the threat of Martial Law.

There has been an illegal and unlawful build-up of troops and military exercises (the latest just this past week), on our own soil that is a violation of the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878. In the next few months, we are about to face our own American soldiers who have killed and maimed indiscriminately in Iraq and Afghanistan. These soldiers will now probably be deployed to accompany FEMA to come door-to-door into our homes to force us to take these poisonous injections.

Can you envision what that means?

Our own military is being ordered to possibly attack us in our homes [what else can it be called?] for more lies!

Jim Kirwan’s latest online essay is so right on! He sees clearly how damaged the returning soldiers are! (19)

These are US troops who, in all probability, have been given toxic vaccines [as they had been during the Gulf War] and mind-altering drugs, so they are doped and hardened to the reality of harming or killing us. This is what Professor Michel Chossudovsky calls the “militarization of health.” (20)

We have the basic and universal right not to be deliberately harmed by our own government, or used as unwilling laboratory subjects for completely untested and dangerous vaccines. It is inhuman and in total contravention of all international laws to deliberately cause grave harm or death to citizens. This is what the Nazis did.

The United States is now a rogue country that ignores basic universal human rights. Massive greed and collusion-to-cause-untold-grave-harm have taken its place. Where our own innocent, young children are used as test subjects, where our government puts us all in harm’s way, where we are threatened with internment in FEMA concentration camps, if we refuse to be compliant and be injected with poisons, while nothing of basic humanity remains from any public official.

A democratic country honors and upholds its own laws and those of the international community. It does not attack, unprovoked, other countries. A democratic country holds its citizens in esteem and protects them: their lives and “promotes the general welfare.”

A democratic society has officials who honor their oaths of office.

A truly democratic society respects the individual, supports education, and encourages peaceful domestic growth. Its legislative branch is open and honest, and does not collude to harm its citizens. Children grow up content and secure. They become well-educated citizens (not shoppers). The country thrives and can set an example for others. Peace reigns. Neighbors live in tranquility. The Common Good is held in high regard. Laws are upheld. Justice pervades. Truth is sacred.

Whatever lies are being promulgated by a corporate-controlled and compliant media, there is no real investigative journalism left. There is no search for the truth. What we have now every day is Orwellian Doublespeak, while the entire population of the United States is at grave risk of enormous physical harm.

This is not the country in which I grew up. Now, there is a complete lack of any moral direction or ethical boundaries.

The government has broken its social and legal contracts with its own citizens. A government that can put all of its citizens deliberately in harm’s way, is unfit. We are living in a police state, just the façade remains, while the great majority of Americans do not realize what tremendous destruction is right before us.

A military state places all its financial and governmental power on killing and massive harm. This is what our violent country has done. In the last nine years, it has illegally attacked three countries (Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan and has given military assistance to Israel to attack the civilian citizens of Gaza with depleted uranium bombs… this, too, is illegal under international law).

Violence is epidemic throughout our society. Children kill their peers; and our prison population (the largest of an Western country) is a tragedy. The movies are replete with one violent film after another. When violence and killing take priority in society [our budget and prison population], this is where we find ourselves as a bankrupt country.

The bankruptcy goes far deeper than just the financial aspects. It goes to the core of our lost values. If many of us still believe in ethics, truth, and honorable behavior, those running the country do not exemplify our own personal values. The disconnect is tremendous.

At the same time, all our social services are trashed.

No money for education.

No money for elder care.

No money for almost 50-million Americans who have no medical coverage.

No money for the entire health and well-being of our citizenry (except for the rich).

It is a complete disgrace.

Yet, elite corporate power is destroying our economy. Businesses are being gobbled up by larger ones (even if they are bankrupt), while millions are out of work. Banks are told not to lend to their customers who are trying desperately to hold on to their homes.(21)

There is no money for crumbling bridges and disastrous, pot-holed roads across the entire country. I speak from personal experience, as I drove back and forth across the United States last year. Toll roads have increased as have the toll fees; but the roads are wrecked. There is hardly any money for the massive amount of real infrastructure repairs needed. In our financially bankrupt country, there is always fiat money for killing. There is no money for any social services ­the very backbone of a healthy society. Our entire economic structure is a planned wreckage!

The US has billions of tax-payer dollars for every kind of weapon, and bomb, and illegal DU bombs, and hi-tech military drones or sophisticated stealth weaponry, but our social services are completely cut to the bone. This is not a healthy society. It is a poorly educated and very sick one: and it shows from 40-million obese people to epidemics of cancers, and massive multiple immune illnesses.

Our tax-payer trillions of dollars have been deliberately stolen from us to pay salaries of bankrupt CEOs, trillions have gone into some deep hole and are unaccounted for; and yet, the Federal Reserve (a private bankster cabal) refuses to answer any questions, as to where our money has gone. It is fraud. They are above the law. This is highway theft of unimaginable proportions. It is criminal.

But, again, there is no accountability.

The irreparable damage done to hundreds of thousands of soldiers who have returned from killing innocent civilians, under both bushes, is staggering. They are maimed for life. They are unstable killers. They are damaged by squalene containing vaccines (Gulf War Syndrome) that they are given. These are the soldiers who return to either do more harm here, or are hospitalized or mutilated for the rest of their lives.

Jim Kirwan writes of the tragic wrecked lives of these soldiers. This is what happens when warfare is glorified and violence is culturally epidemic.

Once upon a time, at the end of another war (WWII), the United States was hailed and admired [if we leave aside all the political and historical lies that Americans were fed then]. We were industrious, we were far more well educated. We stood for ethical values and doing the right thing [at least most Americans believed that, even if secret dealings were already under way to destroy our country from within].

Now, our ratings have plummeted: politicians work for secret groups and corporations. The very core is so rotted; but mostly still unknown to the average American.

This is where we are right now. We have had our liberties stolen from us. We have had our democratic institutions stolen from us, by those in charge. We are at the brink of even the loss of our very own lives ­ all under the guise of protecting us from a non-existent “pandemic.” Genetically engineer the flu in some bioweapons lab, and the create debilitating and deathly vaccines that will do further harm to everyone.

Chief Seattle can still remind us “what we do to ourselves, we do to the web of life.”

The system – “health” (sic), politics, economics – is all rigged to do us extreme harm. The government is broken, and completely disassociated from the social construct upon which our nation was originally founded. Much of it now is being run into the ground by elements with criminal ties and intent. They have created this “pandemic” that is the set-up governmental pretext and smokescreen for the actual financial destruction of our country.

It is another colossal “false flag” scenario that will engulf us all with disastrous results.

Think of all the lies we have been repeatedly told and the ramifications that have resulted from this created 8-year deception ­ all surrounding the “official version” of the tragedy of September 11, 2001. We, the people, continue to be expendable not just for corporate profits but also for a political agenda created to harm us in the extreme.

Do we want death by injection? Is this what we want for our children and grandchildren?

LINKS

Pandemic Flu Online: http://www.PandemicFluOnline.com

World Association for Vaccine Education: http://www.novaccine.com/

Vaccine Rights: www. vaccinerights.com

Injunction Sought to Stop Forced Swine Flu Vaccination Juggernaught: http://educateyourself.org/vcd/forcedvaccinationinjuctionsought22jul09.shtml

Global Research Swine Flu Center: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?contenxt=newsHighlights&newsid=46

World Genocide Watch: http://www.worldgenocidewatch.blogspot.com

NOTES

A. True Ott, Ph.D., ND. “Startling New Evidence That The ‘Swine Flu’ Pandemic Is Man-Made.”

July 26, 2009: http://www.rense.com/general86/manmd.htm; and Jane Burgermeister’s website has a complete dossier of all her reports, as well as daily updates with her on-going investigation: http://www.birdflu666.wordpress.com.

For Dr. Lanctôt, see: Kurt Nimmo. “Canadian Doctor: H1N1 Vaccination: A Eugenics Weapon for ‘Massive & Targeted Reduction of the World Population.'”

July 10, 2009: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?=va&aid=14312

Eleanor McBean. “The Poisoned Needle.”

Interspecies viral transmission: http://www.sunnewsonline.com/webpages/features/goodhealth/2009/jan/20/goodhealth-20-01-2009-002.htm

Azoma Chikwe. “Polio vaccine dangers revealed.” See: Note above, #3; and Tam Dang-Tan et al. “Polio vaccines, Simian Virus 40, and human cancer: the epidemiological evidence for a causal association.” Oncogene. (2004) Vol. 23: 6535-6540.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. “Deadly Immunity.” July 23, 2009: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?=va&aid=14510

Dr. Mae-Wan Ho and Prof. Joe Cummins. “Fast-tracked Swine Flu Vaccine under Fire.” Institute of Science in Society. London. http://www.i-sis.org/fastTrackSwineFluVaccineUnderFire.php

Petrik MS, Wong MC, Tabata RC, Garry RF, Shaw CA (2007). “Aluminum adjuvant linked to gulf war illness induces motor neuron death in mice”. Neuromolecular Med 9 (1): 83-100. PMID 17114826.

Also, see: Gary Matsumoto. “Vaccine A: The Covert Government Experiment That’s Killing Our Soldiers and Why GI’s Ae only the First Victims of This Vaccine.” NY: Basic Books.

Toxicity of Formaldehyde: See: http://www.pesticideinfo.org/Detail_ChemUse.jsp?Rec_Id=PC40254

See: http://ajp.amjpathol.org/cgi/content/abstract/156/6/2057.

Also see Dr. Mercola’s article on this vaccine at: http://blogs.mercola.com/sites/vitalvotes/archive/2009/07/17/Squalene-The-Swine-Flu-Vaccines-Dirty-Little-Secret-Exposed.aspx;

and Paul Joseph Watson. “Government Swine Flu Advisor on Vaccine Payroll.” July 27, 2009: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index?phpcontext-va&aid=14550

See Robert F. Kennedy’s 2005 article, just republished at: http://www.globalresearch.ca/indexphp?context=va&aid=14510; and Dr. Mae-Wan Ho’s ISIS article already cited, NOTE #6.

Dr. Mae-Wan Ho, ISIS already cited, NOTE #6. Baxter filed for a “Swine flu patent in August 2008, a year before any flu outbreak. See: Lori Price. “Big Pharma: Baxter Files Swine Flu Vaccine Patent a Year Ahead of Outbreak. July 18, 2009: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index?phpcontext-va&aid=14430

See: bsd.leica-microsystems.com/pdfs/msds/ebv-k_msds.pdf. Interestingly, it is a prohibited substance for racing horses.

See: http://www.asianracing.nu/vb/archive/index.php/t-547.html

Novartis Hopeful of H1N1 Flu Vaccine by Autumn.” http://www.natap.org/2009/newsUpdates/061609_03.htm

CTAB: http://www.google.com/search?q=focetria%20toxic%20side%20effects&spell=1&ie=UTF-8&hl=en;

PANNA: http://www.pesticideinfo.org/Detail_Chemical.jsp?Rec_Id=PC35058 and http://www.fastiddna.com/documents/MSDSFoodDNAKitCTAB.aspx

MF59: Myron Max Levine, James B. Kaper, Rino Rappuoli, and Michael F. Good. “New Generation Vaccines.” 2004. p. 260.

Span85/Sorbitan Trioleate. PANNA Pesticide Data Base ­ Chemicals: http://www.pesticideinfo.org/Detail_Chemical.jsp?Rec_Id=PC34453

WHO changes its mind: Mark Prigg. “Vaccine from swine flu may be unsafe warns WHO.” London Evening Standard. July 27, 2009: http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23724398-details/Vaccine+for+swine+flu+may+be+unsafe+warns+WHO/article.do

[NEW 18. Emily P. Walker. “FDA Likely to Approve H1N1 Vaccine In Advance of Data.”

July 23, 2009: http://www.medpagetoday.com/PrimaryCare/Vaccines/15230; and “Evidence of Harm Has Been Linked To Various Vaccines Challenging Prevailing Public Recommendations.”

May 28, 2009: /www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/151681.php]

Jim Kirwan. “Legacy of the Bush Brigades.”

July 31, 2009: http://www.rense.com/general86/legacy.htm; and also: “State of the Union.”

August 1, 2009: http://www.rense.com/general86/stateuu.htm

Michel Chossudovsky. “Martial Law and the Militarization of Public Health. The Worldwide H1N1 Flu Vaccination Program.”

July 26, 2009: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=14543

Banks: Dennis Kucinich. “The Federal Reserve is paying banks NOT to make loans to struggling Americans.”

Youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gkf8VG3HL_8

source

 


VACCINE-AUTISM link suppressed by Big Pharma, FDA, CDC – From LoadsOf RedPills

 

FROM LOADS OF RED PILLS. Please Visit The Original Blog
I recently posted an article about how 52 officials from FDA, CDC, WHO and big pharma experts met in secret to hide the results of a dramatic study exposing that since 1991, the estimated number of CASES OF AUTISM HAD INCREASED FIFTEEN-FOLD, from one in every 2,500 children to one in 166 children DUE TO MERCURY IN THE VACCINES. They couldn’t care less about hurting your kids, and worked together to suppress the article exposing them, so I am reposting it here in full.

Please read this article, it is APPALLING, they are just a big mafia, and send it to as many people as you can.

I gave this link towards the article on Rolling Stones, but it has ‘mysteriously disappeared’ without a trace. They have been caught red-handed because I usually save those articles on my disk, fully aware of their tactics. So, here is a copy of the full article, with my comments in brackets. They can try to delete this post behind my back, I will repost it again and again, because I also back-up my posts.

Read the following article and learn how they couldn’t care less about human life, but only big pharma profits. FDA, CDC have been working together for a century to increase big pharma profits.

PARENTS, you MUST read this to understand what they are up to! They work for big pharma, not you. Your kids are their property. They want to turn them into their lifelong customers. You are there to raise and feed them, and pay for their drugs until they are able to do it themselves. Go ahead, read the article, and prove me wrong.

The article starts here …

Deadly Immunity / Rolling stones

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. investigates the government cover-up of a mercury/autism scandal

ROBERT F. KENNEDY JR. Posted Jun 20, 2005 12:00 AM

In June 2000, a group of top government scientists and health officials gathered for a meeting at the isolated Simpsonwood conference center in Norcross, Georgia. Convened by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the meeting was held at this Methodist retreat center, nestled in wooded farmland next to the Chattahoochee River, to ensure complete secrecy. The agency had issued no public announcement of the session — only private invitations to fifty-two attendees. There were high-level officials from the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration, the top vaccine specialist from the World Health Organization in Geneva and representatives of every major vaccine manufacturer, including GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Wyeth and Aventis Pasteur. All of the scientific data under discussion, CDC officials repeatedly reminded the participants, was strictly “embargoed.” There would be no making photocopies of documents, no taking papers with them when they left [that’s how those who you ‘trust’ to protect you conspire against you].

The federal officials and industry representatives had assembled to discuss a disturbing new study that raised alarming questions about the safety of a host of common childhood vaccines administered to infants and young children. According to a CDC epidemiologist named Tom Verstraeten, who had analyzed the agency’s massive database containing the medical records of 100,000 children, a mercury-based preservative in the vaccines — thimerosal — appeared to be responsible for a dramatic increase in autism and a host of other neurological disorders among children. “I was actually stunned by what I saw,” Verstraeten told those assembled at Simpsonwood, citing the staggering number of earlier studies that indicate a link between thimerosal and speech delays, attention-deficit disorder, hyperactivity and autism. Since 1991, when the CDC and the FDA had recommended that three additional vaccines laced with the preservative be given to extremely young infants — in one case, within hours of birth — the estimated number of cases of autism had increased fifteen-fold, from one in every 2,500 children to one in 166 children.

Even for scientists and doctors accustomed to confronting issues of life and death, the findings were frightening. “You can play with this all you want,” Dr. Bill Weil, a consultant for the American Academy of Pediatrics, told the group. The results “are statistically significant.” Dr. Richard Johnston, an immunologist and pediatrician from the University of Colorado whose grandson had been born early on the morning of the meeting’s first day, was even more alarmed. “My gut feeling?” he said. “Forgive this personal comment — I do not want my grandson to get a thimerosal-containing vaccine until we know better what is going on” [oh yeah, but please do not warn the other parents, they deserve to see their kid turned into a vegetable because of your actions].

But instead of taking immediate steps to alert the public and rid the vaccine supply of thimerosal, the officials and executives at Simpsonwood spent most of the next two days discussing how to cover up the damaging data. According to transcripts obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, many at the meeting were concerned about how the damaging revelations about thimerosal would affect the vaccine industry’s bottom line. “We are in a bad position from the standpoint of defending any lawsuits,” said Dr. Robert Brent, a pediatrician at the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Delaware. “This will be a resource to our very busy plaintiff attorneys in this country.” Dr. Bob Chen, head of vaccine safety for the CDC, expressed relief that “given the sensitivity of the information, we have been able to keep it out of the hands of, let’s say, less responsible hands.” Dr. John Clements, vaccines advisor at the World Health Organization, declared that “perhaps this study should not have been done at all.” [this tells all you need to know about the criminality of the WHO, whose sole purpose is to expand big pharma profits and reduce the population by harming kids as much as they can]. He added that “the research results have to be handled,” [sir, research results are PUBLISHED, that’s how science moves forward, you are a criminal] warning that the study “will be taken by others and will be used in other ways beyond the control of this group.”

In fact, the government has proved to be far more adept at handling the damage than at protecting children’s health. The CDC paid the Institute of Medicine to conduct a new study to whitewash the risks of thimerosal, ordering researchers to “rule out” the chemical’s link to autism [that’s how big pharma does science these days, they order people to come up with the results they want, it has nothing to do with safey or healing people]. It withheld Verstraeten’s findings, even though they had been slated for immediate publication, and told other scientists that his original data had been “lost” and could not be replicated. And to thwart the Freedom of Information Act, it handed its giant database of vaccine records over to a private company, declaring it off-limits to researchers. By the time Verstraeten finally published his study in 2003, he had gone to work for GlaxoSmithKline and reworked his data to bury the link between thimerosal and autism.

Vaccine manufacturers had already begun to phase thimerosal out of injections given to American infants — but they continued to sell off their mercury-based supplies of vaccines until last year. The CDC and FDA gave them a hand, buying up the tainted vaccines for export to developing countries and allowing drug companies to continue using the preservative in some American vaccines — including several pediatric flu shots as well as tetanus boosters routinely given to eleven-year-olds.

The drug companies are also getting help from powerful lawmakers in Washington. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who has received $873,000 in contributions from the pharmaceutical industry, has been working to immunize vaccine makers from liability in 4,200 lawsuits that have been filed by the parents of injured children. On five separate occasions, Frist has tried to seal all of the government’s vaccine-related documents — including the Simpsonwood transcripts — and shield Eli Lilly, the developer of thimerosal, from subpoenas. In 2002, the day after Frist quietly slipped a rider known as the “Eli Lilly Protection Act” into a homeland security bill, the company contributed $10,000 to his campaign and bought 5,000 copies of his book on bioterrorism. The measure was repealed by Congress in 2003 — but earlier this year, Frist slipped another provision into an anti-terrorism bill that would deny compensation to children suffering from vaccine-related brain disorders. “The lawsuits are of such magnitude that they could put vaccine producers out of business and limit our capacity to deal with a biological attack by terrorists,” says Dean Rosen, health policy adviser to Frist [terrorism again, the perfect excuse to do anything they want under that banner…yeah, let’s be afraid of bearded cavemen !].

Even many conservatives are shocked by the government’s effort to cover up the dangers of thimerosal. Rep. Dan Burton, a Republican from Indiana, oversaw a three-year investigation of thimerosal after his grandson was diagnosed with autism. “Thimerosal used as a preservative in vaccines is directly related to the autism epidemic,” his House Government Reform Committee concluded in its final report. “This epidemic in all probability may have been prevented or curtailed had the FDA not been asleep at the switch regarding a lack of safety data regarding injected thimerosal, a known neurotoxin.” The FDA and other public-health agencies failed to act, the committee added, out of “institutional malfeasance for self protection” and “misplaced protectionism of the pharmaceutical industry.”

The story of how government health agencies colluded with Big Pharma to hide the risks of thimerosal from the public is a chilling case study of institutional arrogance, power and greed. I was drawn into the controversy only reluctantly. As an attorney and environmentalist who has spent years working on issues of mercury toxicity, I frequently met mothers of autistic children who were absolutely convinced that their kids had been injured by vaccines. Privately, I was skeptical.

I doubted that autism could be blamed on a single source, and I certainly understood the government’s need to reassure parents that vaccinations are safe; the eradication of deadly childhood diseases depends on it. I tended to agree with skeptics like Rep. Henry Waxman, a Democrat from California, who criticized his colleagues on the House Government Reform Committee for leaping to conclusions about autism and vaccinations. “Why should we scare people about immunization,” Waxman pointed out at one hearing, “until we know the facts?”

It was only after reading the Simpsonwood transcripts, studying the leading scientific research and talking with many of the nation’s pre-eminent authorities on mercury that I became convinced that the link between thimerosal and the epidemic of childhood neurological disorders is real. Five of my own children are members of the Thimerosal Generation — those born between 1989 and 2003 — who received heavy doses of mercury from vaccines. “The elementary grades are overwhelmed with children who have symptoms of neurological or immune-system damage,” Patti White, a school nurse, told the House Government Reform Committee in 1999. “Vaccines are supposed to be making us healthier; however, in twenty-five years of nursing I have never seen so many damaged, sick kids. Something very, very wrong is happening to our children.” [that’s good for big pharma, those will be lifelong customers]

More than 500,000 kids currently suffer from autism, and pediatricians diagnose more than 40,000 new cases every year. The disease was unknown until 1943, when it was identified and diagnosed among eleven children born in the months after thimerosal was first added to baby vaccines in 1931.

Some skeptics dispute that the rise in autism is caused by thimerosal-tainted vaccinations. They argue that the increase is a result of better diagnosis — a theory that seems questionable at best, given that most of the new cases of autism are clustered within a single generation of children. “If the epidemic is truly an artifact of poor diagnosis,” scoffs Dr. Boyd Haley, one of the world’s authorities on mercury toxicity, “then where are all the twenty-year-old autistics?” Other researchers point out that Americans are exposed to a greater cumulative “load” of mercury than ever before, from contaminated fish to dental fillings, and suggest that thimerosal in vaccines may be only part of a much larger problem. It’s a concern that certainly deserves far more attention than it has received — but it overlooks the fact that the mercury concentrations in vaccines dwarf other sources of exposure to our children.

What is most striking is the lengths to which many of the leading detectives have gone to ignore — and cover up — the evidence against thimerosal. From the very beginning, the scientific case against the mercury additive has been overwhelming. The preservative, which is used to stem fungi and bacterial growth in vaccines, contains ethylmercury, a potent neurotoxin. Truckloads of studies have shown that mercury tends to accumulate in the brains of primates and other animals after they are injected with vaccines — and that the developing brains of infants are particularly susceptible. In 1977, a Russian study found that adults exposed to much lower concentrations of ethylmercury than those given to American children still suffered brain damage years later. Russia banned thimerosal from children’s vaccines twenty years ago, and Denmark, Austria, Japan, Great Britain and all the Scandinavian countries have since followed suit.

“You couldn’t even construct a study that shows thimerosal is safe,” says Haley, who heads the chemistry department at the University of Kentucky. “It’s just too darn toxic. If you inject thimerosal into an animal, its brain will sicken. If you apply it to living tissue, the cells die. If you put it in a petri dish, the culture dies. Knowing these things, it would be shocking if one could inject it into an infant without causing damage.”

Internal documents reveal that Eli Lilly, which first developed thimerosal, knew from the start that its product could cause damage — and even death — in both animals and humans. In 1930, the company tested thimerosal by administering it to twenty-two patients with terminal meningitis, all of whom died within weeks of being injected — a fact Lilly didn’t bother to report in its study declaring thimerosal safe. In 1935, researchers at another vaccine manufacturer, Pittman-Moore, warned Lilly that its claims about thimerosal’s safety “did not check with ours.” Half the dogs Pittman injected with thimerosal-based vaccines became sick, leading researchers there to declare the preservative “unsatisfactory as a serum intended for use on dogs.”

In the decades that followed, the evidence against thimerosal continued to mount. During the Second World War, when the Department of Defense used the preservative in vaccines on soldiers, it required Lilly to label it “poison.” In 1967, a study in Applied Microbiology found that thimerosal killed mice when added to injected vaccines. Four years later, Lilly’s own studies discerned that thimerosal was “toxic to tissue cells” in concentrations as low as one part per million — 100 times weaker than the concentration in a typical vaccine. Even so, the company continued to promote thimerosal as “nontoxic” and also incorporated it into topical disinfectants. In 1977, ten babies at a Toronto hospital died when an antiseptic preserved with thimerosal was dabbed onto their umbilical cords.

In 1982, the FDA proposed a ban on over-the-counter products that contained thimerosal, and in 1991 the agency considered banning it from animal vaccines. But tragically, that same year, the CDC recommended that infants be injected with a series of mercury-laced vaccines. Newborns would be vaccinated for hepatitis B within twenty-four hours of birth, and two-month-old infants would be immunized for haemophilus influenzae B and diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis.

The drug industry knew the additional vaccines posed a danger. The same year that the CDC approved the new vaccines, Dr. Maurice Hilleman, one of the fathers of Merck’s vaccine programs, warned the company that six-month-olds who were administered the shots would suffer dangerous exposure to mercury. He recommended that thimerosal be discontinued, “especially when used on infants and children,” noting that the industry knew of nontoxic alternatives. “The best way to go,” he added, “is to switch to dispensing the actual vaccines without adding preservatives.”

For Merck and other drug companies, however, the obstacle was money. Thimerosal enables the pharmaceutical industry to package vaccines in vials that contain multiple doses, which require additional protection because they are more easily contaminated by multiple needle entries. The larger vials cost half as much to produce as smaller, single-dose vials, making it cheaper for international agencies to distribute them to impoverished regions at risk of epidemics. Faced with this “cost consideration,” Merck ignored Hilleman’s warnings, and government officials continued to push more and more thimerosal-based vaccines for children. Before 1989, American preschoolers received eleven vaccinations — for polio, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis and measles-mumps-rubella. A decade later, thanks to federal recommendations, children were receiving a total of twenty-two immunizations by the time they reached first grade.

As the number of vaccines increased, the rate of autism among children exploded. During the 1990s, 40 million children were injected with thimerosal-based vaccines, receiving unprecedented levels of mercury during a period critical for brain development. Despite the well-documented dangers of thimerosal, it appears that no one bothered to add up the cumulative dose of mercury that children would receive from the mandated vaccines. “What took the FDA so long to do the calculations?” Peter Patriarca, director of viral products for the agency, asked in an e-mail to the CDC in 1999. “Why didn’t CDC and the advisory bodies do these calculations when they rapidly expanded the childhood immunization schedule?”

But by that time, the damage was done. At two months, when the infant brain is still at a critical stage of development, infants routinely received three inoculations that contained a total of 62.5 micrograms of ethylmercury — a level 99 times greater than the EPA’s limit for daily exposure to methylmercury, a related neurotoxin. Although the vaccine industry insists that ethylmercury poses little danger because it breaks down rapidly and is removed by the body, several studies — including one published in April by the National Institute of Health — suggest that ethylmercury is actually MORE toxic to developing brains and stays in the brain longer than methylmercury [in other words, they chose the most toxic of the two, and still brag about its inocuity].

Officials responsible for childhood immunizations insist that the additional vaccines were necessary to protect infants from disease and that thimerosal is still essential in developing nations, which, they often claim, cannot afford the single-dose vials that don’t require a preservative. Dr. Paul Offit, one of CDC’s top vaccine advisers, told me, “I think if we really have an influenza pandemic — and certainly we will in the next twenty years, because we always do — there’s no way on God’s earth that we immunize 280 million people with single-dose vials. There has to be multidose vials.”

But while public-health officials may have been well-intentioned, many of those on the CDC advisory committee who backed the additional vaccines had close ties to the industry. Dr. Sam Katz, the committee’s chair, was a paid consultant for most of the major vaccine makers and was part of a team that developed the measles vaccine and brought it to licensure in 1963. Dr. Neal Halsey, another committee member, worked as a researcher for the vaccine companies and received honoraria from Abbott Labs for his research on the hepatitis B vaccine.

Indeed, in the tight circle of scientists who work on vaccines, such conflicts of interest are common. Rep. Burton says that the CDC “routinely allows scientists with blatant conflicts of interest to serve on intellectual advisory committees that make recommendations on new vaccines,” even though they have “interests in the products and companies for which they are supposed to be providing unbiased oversight.” The House Government Reform Committee discovered that four of the eight CDC advisers who approved guidelines for a rotavirus vaccine “had financial ties to the pharmaceutical companies that were developing different versions of the vaccine.”

Offit, who shares a patent on one of the vaccines, acknowledged to me that he “would make money” if his vote eventually leads to a marketable product. But he dismissed my suggestion that a scientist’s direct financial stake in CDC approval might bias his judgment. “It provides no conflict for me,” he insists. “I have simply been informed by the process, not corrupted by it. When I sat around that table, my sole intent was trying to make recommendations that best benefited the children in this country. It’s offensive to say that physicians and public-health people are in the pocket of industry and thus are making decisions that they know are unsafe for children. It’s just not the way it works.”

Other vaccine scientists and regulators gave me similar assurances. Like Offit, they view themselves as enlightened guardians of children’s health, proud of their “partnerships” with pharmaceutical companies, immune to the seductions of personal profit, besieged by irrational activists whose anti-vaccine campaigns are endangering children’s health. They are often resentful of questioning. “Science,” says Offit, “is best left to scientists” [when you hide studies exposing the dangers of thimerosal, you are not a scientist anymore, but a freaking criminal who deserves life sentence. Offit goes as far as saying that vaccines are ‘so safe, that you could inject 1,000 into a kid].

Still, some government officials were alarmed by the apparent conflicts of interest [they faked to be alarmed because this has been going on for a century, and it is only getting worse]. In his e-mail to CDC administrators in 1999, Paul Patriarca of the FDA blasted federal regulators for failing to adequately scrutinize the danger posed by the added baby vaccines. “I’m not sure there will be an easy way out of the potential perception that the FDA, CDC and immunization-policy bodies may have been asleep at the switch re: thimerosal until now,” Patriarca wrote. The close ties between regulatory officials and the pharmaceutical industry, he added, “will also raise questions about various advisory bodies regarding aggressive recommendations for use” of thimerosal in child vaccines.

[what about making it unlawful to have ties to big pharma when you are in a committee for a start?]

If federal regulators and government scientists failed to grasp the potential risks of thimerosal over the years, no one could claim ignorance after the secret meeting at Simpsonwood. But rather than conduct more studies to test the link to autism and other forms of brain damage, the CDC placed politics over science [why do ‘more’ studies, only ONE study is enough when it exposes a danger]. The agency turned its database on childhood vaccines — which had been developed largely at taxpayer expense — over to a private agency, America’s Health Insurance Plans, ensuring that it could not be used for additional research [when people do things like that, it is a proof that what they are hiding is true, otherwise they wouldn’t bother – they are pure criminals]. It also instructed the Institute of Medicine, an advisory organization that is part of the National Academy of Sciences, to produce a study debunking the link between thimerosal and brain disorders. The CDC “wants us to declare, well, that these things are pretty safe” [as Offit said, it’s better to leave science to scientists … who are paid by big pharma]. Dr. Marie McCormick, who chaired the IOM’s Immunization Safety Review Committee, told her fellow researchers when they first met in January 2001. “We are not ever going to come down that [autism] is a true side effect” of thimerosal exposure. According to transcripts of the meeting, the committee’s chief staffer, Kathleen Stratton, predicted that the IOM would conclude that the evidence was “inadequate to accept or reject a causal relation” between thimerosal and autism. That, she added, was the result “Walt wants” — a reference to Dr. Walter Orenstein, director of the National Immunization Program for the CDC.

[See, this is a GIGANTIC error of logic because ONE study proving something is harmful destroys a trillion studies who can’t put the evidence to light, but they do it all the time, and the gullible public doesn’t see the trick.]

For those who had devoted their lives to promoting vaccination, the revelations about thimerosal threatened to undermine everything they had worked for [which means they had worked towards harming people, and they wanted it to keep it like that]. “We’ve got a dragon by the tail here,” said Dr. Michael Kaback, another committee member. “The more negative that [our] presentation is, the less likely people are to use vaccination, immunization — and we know what the results of that will be. We are kind of caught in a trap. How we work our way out of the trap, I think is the charge.”

Even in public, federal officials made it clear that their primary goal in studying thimerosal was to dispel doubts about vaccines [in science, we call that ‘bias’ and unscientific because you are not trying to find the truth, just to look away from it]. “Four current studies are taking place to rule out the proposed link between autism and thimerosal,” [in other words, they make studies ‘knowing’ the results in advance, which is only possible when you have decided to lie, it’s a show] Dr. Gordon Douglas, then-director of strategic planning for vaccine research at the National Institutes of Health, assured a Princeton University gathering in May 2001. “In order to undo the harmful effects of research claiming to link the [measles] vaccine to an elevated risk of autism [you cannot ‘undo’ the fact that mercury causes autism, they are just trying to confuse people with results from studies who search where there is nothing to find], we need to conduct and publicize additional studies to assure parents of safety” [no, you don’t, the study mentioned at the beginning of this article is the ‘black swan’ of vaccination, it’s game over for vaccine defenders because the link has been exposed]. Douglas formerly served as president of vaccinations for Merck, where he ignored warnings about thimerosal’s risks.

In May of last year, the Institute of Medicine issued its final report. Its conclusion: There is no proven link between autism and thimerosal in vaccines. Rather than reviewing the large body of literature describing the toxicity of thimerosal, the report relied on four disastrously flawed epidemiological studies examining European countries, where children received much smaller doses of thimerosal than American kids [as I said, by not looking on purpose where the danger is, you won’t find it, it is utterly non scientific]. It also cited a new version of the Verstraeten study, published in the journal Pediatrics, that had been reworked to reduce the link between thimerosal and autism [this is outright criminal … someone bring the electric chair]. The new study included children too young to have been diagnosed with autism and overlooked others who showed signs of the disease [no respect for humanity …]. The IOM declared the case closed and — in a startling position for a scientific body — recommended that no further research be conducted.

The report may have satisfied the CDC, but it convinced no one. Rep. David Weldon, a Republican physician from Florida who serves on the House Government Reform Committee, attacked the Institute of Medicine, saying it relied on a handful of studies that were “fatally flawed” by “poor design” and failed to represent “all the available scientific and medical research.” CDC officials are not interested in an honest search for the truth, Weldon told me, because “an association between vaccines and autism would force them to admit that their policies irreparably damaged thousands of children. Who would want to make that conclusion about themselves?” [well, true scientists for a start …]

Under pressure from Congress and parents, the Institute of Medicine convened another panel to address continuing concerns about the Vaccine Safety Datalink Data Sharing program. In February, the new panel, composed of different scientists, criticized the way the VSD had been used in the Verstraeten study, and urged the CDC to make its vaccine database available to the public.

So far, though, only two scientists have managed to gain access. Dr. Mark Geier, president of the Genetics Center of America, and his son, David, spent a year battling to obtain the medical records from the CDC. Since August 2002, when members of Congress pressured the agency to turn over the data, the Geiers have completed six studies that demonstrate a powerful correlation between thimerosal and neurological damage in children. One study, which compares the cumulative dose of mercury received by children born between 1981 and 1985 with those born between 1990 and 1996, found a “very significant relationship” between autism and vaccines. Another study of educational performance found that kids who received higher doses of thimerosal in vaccines were nearly three times as likely to be diagnosed with autism and more than three times as likely to suffer from speech disorders and mental retardation. Another soon-to-be published study shows that autism rates are in decline following the recent elimination of thimerosal from most vaccines.

As the federal government worked to prevent scientists from studying vaccines, others have stepped in to study the link to autism. In April, reporter Dan Olmsted of UPI undertook one of the more interesting studies himself. Searching for children who had not been exposed to mercury in vaccines — the kind of population that scientists typically use as a “control” in experiments — Olmsted scoured the Amish of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, who refuse to immunize their infants. Given the national rate of autism, Olmsted calculated that there should be 130 autistics among the Amish. He found only four. One had been exposed to high levels of mercury from a power plant. The other three — including one child adopted from outside the Amish community — had received their vaccines.

At the state level, many officials have also conducted in-depth reviews of thimerosal. While the Institute of Medicine was busy whitewashing the risks, the Iowa legislature was carefully combing through all of the available scientific and biological data. “After three years of review, I became convinced there was sufficient credible research to show a link between mercury and the increased incidences in autism,” says state Sen. Ken Veenstra, a Republican who oversaw the investigation. “The fact that Iowa’s 700 percent increase in autism began in the 1990s, right after more and more vaccines were added to the children’s vaccine schedules, is solid evidence alone.” Last year, Iowa became the first state to ban mercury in vaccines, followed by California. Similar bans are now under consideration in thirty-two other states.

But instead of following suit, the FDA continues to allow manufacturers to include thimerosal in scores of over-the-counter medications as well as steroids and injected collagen. Even more alarming, the government continues to ship vaccines preserved with thimerosal to developing countries — some of which are now experiencing a sudden explosion in autism rates. In China, where the disease was virtually unknown prior to the introduction of thimerosal by U.S. drug manufacturers in 1999, news reports indicate that there are now more than 1.8 million autistics. Although reliable numbers are hard to come by, autistic disorders also appear to be soaring in India, Argentina, Nicaragua and other developing countries that are now using thimerosal-laced vaccines. The World Health Organization [another criminal organization started by Rockefeller] continues to insist thimerosal is safe, but it promises to keep the possibility that it is linked to neurological disorders “under review” [yeah, and in the meantime, let’s keep using African and developing nations as lab rats and also keep their depopulation agenda on track].

I devoted time to study this issue because I believe that this is a moral crisis that must be addressed. If, as the evidence suggests, our public-health authorities knowingly allowed the pharmaceutical industry to poison an entire generation of American children, [ON PURPOSE = ELECTRIC CHAIR] their actions arguably constitute one of the biggest scandals in the annals of American medicine. “The CDC is guilty of incompetence and gross negligence,” says Mark Blaxill, vice president of Safe Minds, a nonprofit organization concerned about the role of mercury in medicines. “The damage caused by vaccine exposure is massive. It’s bigger than asbestos, bigger than tobacco, bigger than anything you’ve ever seen.”

It’s hard to calculate the damage to our country — and to the international efforts to eradicate epidemic diseases — if Third World nations come to believe that America’s most heralded foreign-aid initiative is poisoning their children. It’s not difficult to predict how this scenario will be interpreted by America’s enemies abroad. The scientists and researchers — many of them sincere, even idealistic — who are participating in efforts to hide the science on thimerosal claim that they are trying to advance the lofty goal of protecting children in developing nations from disease pandemics [who wants a protection like that]. They are badly misguided. Their failure to come clean on thimerosal will come back horribly to haunt our country and the world’s poorest populations.

NOTE: This story has been updated to correct several inaccuracies in the original, published version. As originally reported, American preschoolers received only three vaccinations before 1989, but the article failed to note that they were innoculated a total of eleven times with those vaccines, including boosters. The article also mis-stated the level of ethylmercury received by infants injected with all their shots by the age of six months. It was 187 micrograms – an amount forty percent, not 187 times, greater than the EPA’s limit for daily exposure to methylmercury [oh yeah, I am feeling better for those kids now, because you know you can trust that daily exposure limit after all we have seen, you can be confident it has been developed with the kids interest in mind]. Finally, because of an editing error, the article mis-stated the contents of the rotavirus vaccine approved by the CDC. It did not contain thimerosal. Salon and Rolling Stone regret the errors.

[you can feel the hand here of big pharma criminal lawyers who would protect any misdemeanor and crime to make money – shame on them – they are probably responsible for the disappearance of this article from the website]

An earlier version of this story stated that the Institute of Medicine convened a second panel to review the work of the Immunization Safety Review Committee that had found no evidence of a link between thimerosal and autism. In fact, the IOM convened the second panel to address continuing concerns about the Vaccine Safety Datalink Data Sharing program, including those raised by critics of the IOM’s earlier work. But the panel was not charged with reviewing the committee’s findings. The story also inadvertently omitted a word and transposed two sentences in a quote by Dr. John Clements, and incorrectly stated that Dr. Sam Katz held a patent with Merck on the measles vaccine. In fact, Dr. Katz was part of a team that developed the vaccine and brought it to licensure, but he never held the patent. Salon and Rolling Stone regret the errors.

CLARIFICATION: After publication of this story, Salon and Rolling Stone corrected an error that mis-stated the level of ethylmercury received by infants injected with all their shots by the age of six months. It was 187 micrograms, an amount forty percent, not 187 times, greater than the EPA’s limit for daily exposure to methylmercury. At the time of the correction, we were aware that the comparison itself was flawed, but as journalists we considered it more appropriate to state the correct figure rather than replace it with another number entirely.

Since that earlier correction, however, it has become clear from responses to the article that the forty-percent number, while accurate, is misleading. It measures the total mercury load an infant received from vaccines during the first six months, calculates the daily average received based on average body weight, and then compares that number to the EPA daily limit. But infants did not receive the vaccines as a ?daily average? ? they received massive doses on a single day, through multiple shots. As the story states, these single-day doses exceeded the EPA limit by as much as 99 times. Based on the misunderstanding, and to avoid further confusion, we have amended the story to eliminate the forty-percent figure.

Correction: The story misattributed a quote to Andy Olson, former legislative counsel to Senator Bill Frist. The comment was made by Dean Rosen, health policy adviser to the senator. Rolling Stone and Salon.com regret the error.Loads Of Red Pills


WHO and Big Pharma Collaborate to Create Gonorrhea Epidemic

 

The United Nations (UN), through the World Health Organization (WHO) is decrying about a drug-resistant strain of gonorrhea. This virus is such a threat, according to WHO, that without preventative measures, millions of people will die.

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection that leads various forms of sterilization through pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirths and rendering males and females completely infertile.

This virus is most prevalent in under – developed nations such as Africa, India and parts of Asia. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has concluded more than 700,000 cases are reported annually worldwide.

Industrialized countries like Britain, Australia and France are reporting this same drug-resistant strain of gonorrhea.

Dr. Gail Bolan, director of the STD Division of the CDC said: “We certainly are worried about importation of resistance. It’s time to take these trends seriously.”

WHO has just released their Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP), which pushes governments worldwide with the power of the UN to back them to coerce the increase of global vaccinations through strategic programs.

The details of GVAP include delivery of vaccines between 2011 – 2020 with aims to administer these immunizations to under developed nations like Africa and India. The initiative will attempt to exceed the UN’s Millennium Development Goal (MDG) that “immunization . . . should be recognized as a core component of the human right to health”, the plan says. The plan’s mission is to “extend, by 2020 and beyond, the full benefit of immunization to all people.”

In a 2011 study , Japanese scientists discovered a “superbug” strain of gonorrhea that displayed resistance to all antibiotics known to mainstream medicine. The researchers warned that this virus is quickly becoming a global health threat.

Since this study, WHO has identified this virus’ presence in some of the major central banking countries, such as Australia, France, Norway, Sweden and Britain. While cephalosporin antibiotics are a “last resort” used to treat the virus, even this medical treatment is proving useless.

Manjula Lusti-Narasimhan, member of the department of reproductive health and research at WHO, spoke at a briefing in Geneva, said that an estimated 106 million people are infected annually. “Gonorrhoea is becoming a major public health challenge. The organism is what we term a superbug – it has developed resistance to virtually every class of antibiotics that exists. If gonococcal infections become untreatable, the health implications are significant.”

WHO is calling for the focus to be turned toward “alternative treatments” for gonorrhea; such as new experimental vaccinations as a preventative measure.

Scientists at the Rockefeller University , led by Dr. Emil C. Gotschlich, have demonstrated that a protein of the bacterial cell’s outer membrane plays a vital role in the seduction. The protein, which seems to become incorporated in membranes of the human cells and forms pores in their surfaces, has been named porin.

Researchers at Stanford University Medical School , a globalist controlled college, announced that their potential gonorrhea vaccine had successfully prevented the gonorrhea bacteria from infecting human cells.

Gary Schoolnik, lead researcher, explains that “the key ingredient in the vaccine is a protein fragment that appears to provide protection against gonorrhea- causing bacteria. Our vaccine appears to work by preventing gonococcal bacteria from using pili, or specialized tiny hairlike appendages, to latch onto cells lining the urogenital tract. The pili enable the bacteria to adhere to cells, the first step in infection.”

In 1984, the US government issued a patent for a gonorrhea vaccine, in lieu of the technology being created. This vaccine’s potentials mirror the actualities Stanford now claims they have discovered.

The suggestion is that this strain simply mutated from genetic blueprints in nature, and as the overuse of antibiotics increases, their effectiveness decreases. Experts then explain that the only method that can be used against the disease is precautionary.

GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and Abbott have come forth, willing to produce a new immunization for WHO.

Lusti-Narasimhan claims that although WHO has no idea about the extent of the gonorrhea threat, they are assuming this is the “tip of the iceberg” to justify their lack of verifiable data. “Without adequate surveillance we won’t know the extent of resistance…and without research into new antimicrobial agents there could soon be no effective treatment for patients.”

Francis Ndowa, former lead specialist for sexually transmitted infections at WHO, asserts that gonorrhea has been left to become a super-strain that does not have the same symptoms of traditional gonorrhea. Ndowa says: “the organism has readjusted itself to provide fewer symptoms so that it can survive longer. It’s an amazing interaction between man and pathogen.”

Experts for WHO claim that to reduce the strain’s ability to become even “greater” a new pharmaceutical drug must be created that treat, not only gonorrhea, but also combine two or more antibiotics within the one vaccination.

WHO is completely focused on early detection, which justifies the need for another global vaccination.Source

 


Pfizer Psychiatric Drugs: Chemical Warfare on Humans- The Transcript

 

Heavily Overpricing Pharmaceuticals
Price fixing (Pfizer labeled as Top Corporate Criminal)
Pfizer cares for your health, as long as the company sees profit
Pfizer & Aids
Lawsuit South Africa
Drugs = Soft Drinks
Pfizer steals indigenous knowledge
Pfizer ‘illegally tested drugs on children’
Pfizer sells dysfunctional heart valves
Heart attack link to arthritis drugs
Animal suffering
Luring doctors
Pfizer’s theory of philanthropy
Twelve billion dollar Business park –PfizerWorld
What Pfizer doesn’t tell you
Pfizer helps out the tobacco industry

Heavily Overpricing Pharmaceuticals

Most Profitable Industry
According to the Financial Times, five of the top ten companies with the most profitable foreign operations were pharmaceutical companies (27/4/2000). According to industry apologists, the profits are justified due to the unusual nature of the business: research and development costs for new drugs require huge investments (sometimes upwards of $300 million (£204,6 million) with equally large amounts of risk that the investment will pay off. Critics however, claim that prices are kept artificially high even when the initial investment is recovered.

Huge Marketing Expenditures
A new report (released on 10 July 2001) by the consumer health organization Families USA [33] refutes the pharmaceutical industry’s claim that high drug prices are needed to sustain research and development. The report documents that drug companies are spending more than twice as much on marketing, advertising, and administration than they do on research and development; that drug company profits, which are higher than all other industries, exceed research and development expenditures; and that drug companies provide lavish compensation packages for their top executives [34].

Among the nine pharmaceutical companies examined in the report (Merck, Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pharmacia, Abbott Laboratories, American Home Products, Eli Lilly, Schering-Plough, and Allergan) all but one (Eli Lilly) spent more than twice as much on marketing, advertising and administration than they did on research and development. Eli Lilly spent more than one and one-half times as much. Six out of the nine companies made more money in net profits than they spent on research and development last year. [See chart 1]

(According to its 1999 annual report, Pfizer spent 39,2% of its revenues on marketing and administration. The company legitimises these huge expenditures by claiming they serve an educational function: doctors and the public learn about new and useful drugs. See also the Pfizer publication ‘Economic Realities in Health Care Policies’, volume 2, issue 1, ‘Prescription Drug Advertising: Empowering Consumers Through Information’, at: http://www.pfizer.com/pfizerinc/policy/ERhealthcare.pdf)

Exorbitant pay for executives
The report also documents profligate spending on compensation packages for top pharmaceutical executives. The executive with the highest compensation package in the year 2000, exclusive of unexercised stock options, was William C. Steere, Jr., Pfizer’s Chairman, who made $40.2 million (£27,4 million). The executive with the highest amount of unexercised stock options was C.A. Heimbold, Jr., Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Chairman and CEO, who held $227.9 million (£155,4 million) in unexercised stock options. [See charts 2 and 3]

Publicly funded research
Another reason why the relationship between profits and innovation (R&D) isn’t as straightforward as the industry claims is that a large part of research is publicly funded. It is a general practice that research (in any given field) starts in the public sector. Only when corporations feel that research (results) will potentially create huge profits they become interested and involved.

The top ten drug companies in the US are reported to spend on average 20% of their revenues on R&D, of which 40% is paid by the (public) National Institute of Health (NIH) [35]. A study by the Boston Globe newspaper in 1998 found the National Institutes of Health (NIH) laboratories spent $1 billion on drug and vaccine development in the 1996 tax year, but only took $27m in royalties.

In September 1999, it was pointed out to the director of the NIH, Harold Varmus, that six HIV/Aids drugs, as well as anti-malarial treatments and other medicines of vital interest to developing countries, had been invented with public funds. The government therefore had the right under US law to use the drugs in public health initiatives.

Dr Varmus dismissed the suggestion, echoing the industry line that: “Undermining licensed intellectual property rights would, I believe, unnecessarily jeopardise the development of important therapeutic drugs.” James Love, who runs a Washington-based group called the Consumer Project on Technology, sees the response as nonsensical because it was the NIH which did the hard work of discovering and synthesising the drugs in question.’[36]

(James Loves blames both the US government and the US public. He elaborates on the absurd situation by saying: ‘The rest of the world will have to go however many years more of paying an astronomical sum for something invented by the United States government. How can we expect Glaxo SmithKline to share its intellectual property if the United States government won’t share its intellectual property to save millions of people? What does that say about the moral character of the American public? We are responsible.’)[37]

Creative Accounting
The Guardian reports that drug companies try to make their R&D budgets look bigger by means of creative accounting. ‘With a little creative accounting, all manners of expenditures have been logged under the R&D title, partly in the pursuit of tax rebates.’[38]

Protecting Profits through Patents
The US government tries to enforce strict patent laws all over the world. These Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) that protect newly invented drugs (up to 20 years), enforced by the World Trade Organisation, are preventing access to essential medicines by the developing world. And patent protection of drugs can prevent poor countries from producing cheaper local versions. In Thailand, for example, Pfizer used to be the sole supplier of fluconazole, used in treating cryptococcal meningitis, an opportunistic infection affecting 1 in 5 of the country’s AIDS patients. The company charged a daily price of £8.75 ($14), making the drug largely unaffordable. The market exclusivity on the drug expired in 1998, leading to its local production at 5% of the 1998 price [39].

Oxfam has recently accused Pfizer of moral bankruptcy by pricing life-saving drugs beyond the reach of millions of poor people. Oxfam particularly criticizes Pfizer’s aggressive enforcement of patents in poor countries, forcing prices up. ‘The company’s bottom line seems to matter more than the lives of the world’s poorest people’, said Oxfam Policy Director Justin Forsyth. ‘Pfizer’s market value exceeds the combined national incomes of the 18 biggest countries in sub-Saharan Africa, but it heartlessly continues to lead the industry’s campaign for global monopolies on life-saving drugs while people die from treatable diseases.’ [40]

2000 Financials for U.S. Corporations Marketing Top 50 Drugs for Seniors
Chart 1 Percent of Revenue Allocated to:
Private Company Revenue
Net Sales
in $ millions: Profit:
(Net Income) Marketing/
Advertising/
Administration Research and
Development (R&D)
Merck and Co. Inc 40,363 17% 15% 6%
Pfizer Inc 29,574 13% 39% 15%
Bristol-Myers
Squibb Company 18,216 26% 30% 11%
Pharmacia Corporation 18,144 4% 37% 15%
Abbott Laboratories 13,746 20% 21% 10%
American Home
Products Corporation 13,263 -18% 38% 13%
Eli Lilly and Co. 10,862 28% 30% 19%
Schering-Plough
Corporation 9,815 25% 36% 14%
Allergan, Inc 1,563 14% 42% 13%

Five Highest Paid Drug Company Executives Salaries
2000 Annual Compensation Exclusive of Unexercised Stock Options
Chart 2
Private Executive Company Compensation
Executive William C. Steere, Jr., Chairman Pfizer Inc $40,191,845
William C. Steere, Jr., Chairman; John R. Stafford, Chairman and CEO American Home Products Corporation $27,008,927
Edward M. Scolnick, Executive VP Merck and Co., Inc. $26,454,600
Richard Jay Kogan, Chairman and CEO Schering-Plough Corporation $21,444,020
David W. Anstice, President, the Americas Merck and Co., Inc. $19,600,975

The Five Drug Company Executives Salaries
with the Largest Unexercised Stock Options in 2000
Chart 3
Private Executive Company Compensation
C.A. Heimbold, Jr., Chairman and CEO Bristol-Myers Squibb Company $227,869,513
Raymond V. Gilmartin Chairman, Pres., and CEO Merck and Co., Inc. $181,252,976
William C. Steere, Jr., Chairman Pfizer Inc. $130,944,439
K.E. Weg, Vice Chairman Bristol-Myers Squibb Company $84,282,547
John R. Stafford, Chairman and CEO American Home Products Corporation $81,847,569

In sum, the pharmaceuticals industry’s claim that high profits (and strict patent laws, and high drug prices) are needed to secure the high costs of R&D (and ‘safeguard the development of new, life-saving drugs to fight diseases like cancer and Aids’) does not hold ground!

First, drug giants like Pfizer spent much more money on marketing and advertising than on R&D. Second, much money is being channeled to the Executive’s bank account. Third, large part of research is publicly funded. Fourth, by way of creative accounting corporations make their R&D look bigger. Fifth, it’s not true that the enormous corporate profits come from innovations (as is being claimed), it is the artificially high drug prices and strict patent laws (out-pricing drugs for poor people) that are securing the industry’s profits. Finally, one should not forget about the industry’s extensive influence on policymaking processes. The industry’s ability to push for regulations and laws that suit their own interests is obviously highly to the industry, and yet another critical way to secure its high profits.

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2. Price fixing (Pfizer labeled as Top Corporate Criminal)
Pfizer was listed as number 17 on the list of the ‘Top 100 Corporate Criminals of the 1990’s’. The company had been accused of participation in two international price fixing conspiracies in the food additives industry [41].

3. Pfizer cares for your health, as long as the company sees profit
‘The UK National Health Service (NHS) is suffering from increasing shortages of older but crucial medicines leaving patients at risk of being deprived of the most effective treatments. The medicines involved are most often those used in hospitals. Generally they no longer make much money for the makers, and in some cases, the drug firms may be struggling to make any profit on them.’[42]

4. Pfizer & Aids
Pfizer is proud to state the company has made huge donations to the National AIDS Fund since 1989 [43]. After all –in the words of CEO McKinnell– the HIV/Aids crisis is ‘a crisis of heartbreaking proportions, especially for those of us committed to serving patients’ (obviously referring to himself and the Pfizer company, but what about the HIV/Aids patients themselves? Shouldn’t they be mentioned first?). McKinnell continues: ‘We at Pfizer believe that the only realistic approach to solving this crisis is through partnerships. The pharmaceutical industry cannot do it alone…and the crisis can not be wished away. What we can do is build partnerships for a healthier world.’[44]

Pfizer’s latest contribution to the fight against Aids involves the free distribution of Diflucan (Diflucan is not a treatment for Aids, but it is highly effective in treating 2 opportunistic infections that afflict large numbers of people with Aids) in 50 poor, HIV/Aids-affected countries. Pfizer developed this program in cooperation with the United Nations and the World Health Organization. Additionally, Pfizer and the Pfizer Foundation are providing construction and seed funding for the first large-scale HIV/Aids medical training centre in Africa.

However, it’s rather grim (to put it subtly!) that at the same time, Pfizer’s unscrupulous practices (e.g. heavily overpricing medicines, enforcement of strict patent laws, focus on the development of drugs for the rich, western consumers (the bulk of research and investments is going to so-called ‘lifestyle’ drugs for wealthier consumers), ignoring poor people’s needs) take lives and cause misery on a large scale, especially in poor countries.

As mentioned above, Pfizer makes a AIDS drug called fluconazole (Diflucan). It treats a painful brain infection called Cryptococcal meningitis. Without treatment, the infection kills people with AIDS in two months. About 10% of the 34 million people with HIV worldwide will develop this brain infection. Pfizer’s fluconazole brings in more than one billion dollars in sales each year. Around the world poor people with AIDS suffer and die without this drug, because Pfizer’s price gouging keeps it out of reach of the countless people who need it.

In South Africa, where 4.5 million people have HIV, no one can afford Pfizer’s killer prices. AIDS activists in South Africa and the United States have been demanding that Pfizer drop the price or allow generic production of the drug. Instead, Pfizer opposes efforts by foreign companies to make and sell the same or similar medicines at considerably lower prices. In South Africa, Pfizer’s patent means that even the government must pay $4.15 (£2,83) per pill, while in Thailand, where Pfizer does not have a patent on fluconazole, the drug is only $0.29 (£0,19) per pill. In Kenya, where Pfizer also has exclusive rights, fluconazole costs $18.00 (£12,28) per pill — more expensive, even, than US prices.

While Pfizer blocks access to affordable, generic fluconazole, countless numbers of people with AIDS die preventable deaths. In an unprecedented resolution, the United Nations Subcommission for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights recently found that the WTO’s rules on pharmaceutical patents are anathema to human rights, and will effectively cripple efforts by developing countries to deal with epidemics of disease. The resolution states that there are “apparent conflicts between the intellectual property rights regime embodied in the (WTO rules), on the one hand, and international human rights law, on the other.”[45]

Pfizer keeps insisting that strict patent rules are needed to stimulate innovation. ‘Patent protection makes drug discovery possible and profitable. It is the incentive that justifies investing billions of dollars and decades of time to find new cures. Eliminate patent protection, and the incentive for original research is removed and every research-based pharmaceutical company becomes a generic drug manufacturer, and the discovery of new medicines slows to a trickle.’ [46] As pointed out earlier, this reasoning is based on nothing but false grounds.

Every time high-level, international meetings on health or drug-related issues come up, NGOs, activists and other concerned people seek extra attention for the pharmaceutical industry’s irresponsible and unscrupulous attitude towards the Aids crisis. At the same time, drug companies –being in the spotlight- take advantage of the opportunity to work on their image. Just before the AIDS2000 conference in Durban, Pfizer announced the company would donate fluconazole (Diflucan) free of charge to people with HIV/Aids.

The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) supported the donation. However, TAC was soon to find out that the Pfizer still considered profits more important than people’s lives. It seemed the donation was highly limited, and could not be considered something else than a fraud to protect the company’s profit. Pfizer insisted on limiting its donation to a period of two and a half years -the exact period when their fluconazole patent or exclusive licence to sell will expire. Second, Pfizer refused to extend the offer to treat thrush (see TAC leaflet). Third, Pfizer refused to include countries other than South Africa in the offer. And finally, Pfizer refused to reduce the price to lower than R4.00 per capsule for all other uses. On top of that, Pfizer’s unwillingness to negotiate is condemning countless people to suffering and possible death because they cannot afford the unreasonable price that the company is putting on the drug [47].

More recently, as mentioned earlier, Pfizer has announced that it will offer Diflucan at no charge to HIV/Aids patients in 50 poor countries where HIV/Aids is prevalent. No dollar or time limit this time. The Diflucan Partnership was developed in cooperation with the United Nations and the World Health Organization and expands on the aforementioned partnership with South Africa. The announcement came just weeks before the UN’s special session on HIV/Aids in June 2001. However, and this cannot be overstated, donations are meaningless as long as drug companies like Pfizer keep overpricing their drugs and enforcing strict patent laws.

Pfizer’s statement that the company supports donation programs ‘because medicines are unaffordable for many patients in the least developed countries’ is highly misleading. It is the practices of drug giants like Pfizer (see above) that cause this scandalous situation! The following paragraphs on the broadly publicised lawsuit (pharmaceutical industry vs. the South African government) clearly illustrate this.

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5. Lawsuit South Africa
For more than three years, the big pharmaceutical companies have been spit-shining their image as mankind’s saviors while simultaneously waging a legal battle to keep low-cost versions of lifesaving drugs from the millions of people dying of AIDS in Africa. On April 18, 2001, the 39 drug companies (including Bayer AG, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly Ltd, Glaxo Wellcome Ltd, Hoechst Ltd, Novartis Ltd, Novo Nordisk Ltd, Pharmacia & Upjohn Ltd, Rhone-Poulenc Ltd, Roche Ltd, Schering Ltd, Smithkline Beecham Ltd, Universal pharmaceutical, Zeneca Ltd, Merck & Co, Rhone-Poulenc Rorer SA, Warner-Lambert) suing the South African government dropped their lawsuit.

Typically, they’re spinning it as a humanitarian gesture, but it really is the only way to extricate themselves from the public relations nightmare their cold-blooded effort had become. From AIDS activists who started protesting two years ago to Nelson Mandela, who this week called the law suit a “gross error … that is completely wrong and must be condemned,” the public outcry had reached a crescendo the industry could no longer afford to ignore. This, after all, is the same industry that last year spent $1.7 billion (£1,159 billion) on TV ads promoting its products and painting itself as a paragon of virtue and compassion [48].

Arianna Huffington writes: Ironically, it was not long after I had seen for the umpteenth time Pfizer’s heartstring-tugging TV spot proclaiming “Life is our life’s work” that I heard the drug companies were waving the bloodstained white flag in Pretoria. That it took the world turning on them — and three long years of thousands of people dying — to get them to drop their suit proves that the industry’s collective slogan should be “Profit is our life’s work.”[49]

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6. Drugs = Soft Drinks
As mentioned before, Pfizer can attribute its economic success largely to its ability to turn drugs into multi-billion dollar products. The company generally spends more money on marketing than on research and development. The importance of marketing (Pfizer set the example) has rippled through the industry. It is manifested in the ‘arms race’ of escalating numbers of sales representatives, particularly in the US; the huge pre-launch marketing budgets when companies try to make as big a splash as possible; and the aggressive TV advertising campaigns with which some drugs, such as Claritin and Viagra, have been turned into household names.

Global launches are becoming increasingly possible as regulation between the US, Europe and Japan gradually harmonises. Companies spend increasing amounts of time and money developing a global brand name and a consistent message that can be delivered (with minor tweaks) anywhere in the world. Medicines are beginning to resemble any other consumer products. Certainly there will always be differences. New, powerful drugs will continue to be screened by trained physicians. People will never purchase chemotherapy medicines on impulse at the supermarket checkout (at least, this is what we assume…). But these days, as never before, drugs are created, branded and promoted with the consumers (note: wealthy consumers) very much in mind.

Corporations point out that the Internet and direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising is increasing the power of patients. ‘We are no longer in an age where an ill-informed patient goes to see a doctor for advice. More often than not the patient is already well informed before they go through the surgery door’, says David Baker, head of European life sciences at Computer Science’s Corporation, a consultancy. But an essential question is ‘by whom are patients informed?’ The answer is easy to find. The next important question should be ‘with what intentions do drug companies provide information?’ Are they genuinely concerned about people’s health, or do they consider profits more important?

David Baker –reflecting the industry’s vision- continues: ‘Time is money. If the patient wants a product and it’s indicated [licensed for that condition] and it’s a good product, then why should the doctor start a discussion.’ So the next step would be to leave the doctor out altogether. It seems that drug corporations like Pfizer want to remove as many links as possible between themselves and the consumer (by way of direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising, and use of the internet) in order to enlarge opportunities to influence the consumer. It’s unlikely that consumers, being dependent on the information provided by corporations and being the target of comprehensive PR and marketing efforts will find themselves in a more favourable, empowered position as the pharmaceutical industry predicts/promises.

(Further up in this profile you can find information on Pfizer’s latest, ambitious marketing effort (dangerously linking propaganda/public ‘education’ with amusement/fun) involving the building of 12 billion dollar Business Park)

According to Cap Gemini, a consultancy, direct-to-consumer advertising now accounts for 16 per cent of total promotional spending in the healthcare industry. In terms of TV advertising, medicines come third after cars and retail products. Such advertising is largely a US phenomenon following a relaxation in regulations in 1997, a change currently under review. But in Europe, where direct advertising of branded prescription products is banned, companies have not given up the chance of creating consumer pull. They do so through Internet sites, which can be viewed from anywhere in the world. (Warnings that information is intended for US audiences only tend to be in small type.) They also promote the use of their medicines through disease awareness campaigns, such as that of Pharmacia in the UK urging patients to seek treatment for urinary incontinence. Obviously Pharmacia has the leading medicine in this field.

When Mr Ebeling joined Novartis from the soft drinks industry, what struck him most were the similarities. ‘The same rules of differentiating your product, making sure you promote with the right message in the right media to the right people is really the same,’ he says. ‘What’s different is the product, which is more complicated. But the principles of marketing and sales are the same.’ Among Bayer’s best-selling medicines is a brand as familiar as Coke or Pepsi. The brand, of course, is aspirin, a drug that has just completed its one-hundredth anniversary [50].

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7. Pfizer steals indigenous knowledge
The profit incentive caused a sudden revival of interest in indigenous knowledge. The progression of biotechnology opens up new possibilities to exploit natural resources in the Third World. Pharmaceutical companies increasingly take genetic material and/or indigenous knowledge from the South to make fortunes from natural remedies, without asking for consent, let alone paying any kind of compensation. After patenting the ‘new inventions’, the Western drug industry can exploit the South even further by forcing developing countries to pay high royalties over the patented drugs imported from the West –drugs that originate from their soil and knowledge! The following case is just another sad example of this general practice, also labeled as bio-piracy.

Pfizer has recently been accused of stealing an ingredient of the Hoodia cactus which African tribesmen have used for thousands of years to stave off hunger and thirst on long hunting trips. The Kung bushmen who live around the Kalahari desert in southern Africa used to cut off a stem of the cactus about the size of a cucumber and much it over a couple of days. According to tradition, they ate together so they brought back what they caught and did not eat while hunting. Now the Hoodia is at the centre of a bio-piracy row.

Last April, Phytopharm, a small firm in Cambridgeshire, said it had discovered a potential cure for obesity derived from an African cactus. It emerged that the company had patented P57, the appetite-suppressing ingredient in the Hoodia, hoping it would become a slimming miracle. Phytopharm’s scientists boasted it would have none of the side effects of many other treatments because it was derived from a natural product. The discovery was immediately hailed by the press as a ‘dieter’s dream’ and Phytopharm’s share price rose as City traders expected rich returns from a drug which would revolutionise the £6bn market in slimming aids. Phytopharm acted quickly and sold the rights to license the drugs for $21m (£14,321m) to Pfizer.

While the drug companies were busy seducing the media, their shareholders and financiers about the wonders of their new drug, they had forgotten to tell the bushmen, whose knowledge they had used and patented. Phytopharm’s excuse appears to be that it believed the tribes, which used the Hoodia cactus, were extinct. The tribesmen were angry, saying their ancient knowledge had been stolen, and planned to launch a challenge and demand compensation. Speaking to the Observer, the lawyer for the bushmen Roger Chennells said: ‘They [the bushmen] are very concerned. It feels like somebody has stolen their family silver and cashed it in for a huge profit. The bushmen do not object to anybody using their knowledge to produce a medicine, but they would heave liked the drug companies to have spoken to them first and come to an agreement.’ [51]

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8. Pfizer ‘illegally tested drugs on children’
The Guardian reports that Pfizer has been accused of irregularities during a clinical trial in Nigeria. The company is said to have used an experimental drug on sick children during a major outbreak of meningitis, without official approval. A Nigerian doctor employed by Pfizer to run the clinical trial in Kano said that the letter certifying approval by the ethics committee at the hospital where the children were treated was probably written a year after the experiment took place. The hospital’s medical director, Sadiq S Wali, talking to the Washington Post, confirmed this. He told the Post that the document was ‘a lie’. He said the hospital had no ethics committee at the time of Pfizer’s trial.

The revelations were hugely embarrassing to Pfizer. The company still insists there was a philanthropic element to the trial. ‘Médecins Sans Frontièrs (MSF) was using the only drug that was available in Nigeria –one that had not been allowed in the west for 50 years because of the side-effects’, said Pfizer’s spokeswoman, Kate Robins, whereas Pfizer introduced not only its experimental drugs, but also the ‘gold standard’ drug used in the west. Asked why, in that case, Pfizer had treated only 200 children when the epidemic killed 15,000, she added: ‘Science governs our decisions.’ The experimental drugs used, Trovan, has since been licensed, but not for children. However, it is not marketed in Nigeria. Like all new drugs, which have a 20-year patent protection, the cost is too high for developing countries [52].

Obviously, the situations of drugs not allowed in the West being used in developing countries are highly immoral. Pharmaceutical companies have aggressively pushed for policies that allow for these kind of (dumping) practices to take place. In order not to let products (forbidden in the West presumably to protect the health of consumers or the environment, but more likely to prevent future damage to corporations caused by bad publicity and/or costly lawsuits) ‘get wasted’, corporations make sure regulations allow them to ship those products (for example, pesticides, genetic engineered foodstuffs, medicines) to the South. In addition, leverage of corporations can often guarantee that the responsible public officers, regulators or politicians temporarily close their eyes to it.

After several lawsuits in Nigeria, it was only last September that the first suit was filed in the US. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of 30 Nigerian families, alleges Pfizer violated their human rights when it set up the clinic to give Trovan to the 200 children. The families say Pfizer did not obtain “informed consent” before administering the treatment. “This test was conducted in violation of international laws and treaties,” the lawsuit says, “including the Nuremberg Code of 1947, which was enacted, in part, to prevent the horrors of medical experimentation performed during the holocaust from ever happening again.”

The affair is embarrassing for the world’s largest pharmaceutical company, as the industry is attempting to recover from months of bad publicity over prices and access to its medicines. Aid groups say the Trovan lawsuit highlights actions even more sinister. In the developing world, some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) allege, companies are conducting sub-standard clinical trials on potentially dangerous drugs. Pfizer heralded Trovan as a medicine capable of killing bugs that had grown resistant to antibiotics. But its promise was overshadowed by safety issues, and it was never approved by US regulators for use on children [53].

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9. Pfizer sells dysfunctional heart valves
Three ex-employees of Pfizer have alleged that the company’s subsidiary Shiley Inc. regularly produced artificial heart valves that workers and supervisors knew were unsafe. Their testimony confirms a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) report that claiming that the valve was manufactured under conditions ‘in serious violation’ of good manufacturing processes. Fractures occurred in at least 501 of the devices that were sold from 1979 to 1986, when Shiley ceased production due to ‘negative publicity’. At least 250 people have died from the fractures.

Victims of the valve or their relatives name Shiley Inc. in about 200 lawsuits. At least 30 cases have been settled. The terms of the settlements, however, remain secret. Facing tens of millions of dollars in potential court awards, Pfizer has not limited itself to making settlement offers. The company is pushing for legislation that would effectively deny access to the US judicial system to foreigners injured or killed by the valve. Because over half of the recipients of the valve are foreigners, Pfizer could escape significant financial liability if the bill becomes law. However, the bill would apply to all corporations, not just Pfizer. In essence, it would shield corporations from liability for dumping their wares on an unsuspecting and already disadvantaged foreign clientele. Currently, foreign victims may bring suit in the American State courts. The Pfizer-backed bill would allow US corporations to remove almost all such cases to US federal courts [54].

The Guardian tells the story of Elaine Levenson, a Cincinnati housewife, who is waiting for her heart to explode. In 1981, surgeons implanted a mechanical valve in her heart, the Bjork-Shiley, the ‘Rolls-Royce of valves’, her doctor told her. What neither she nor her doctor knew was that several Bjork-Shiley valves had fractured during testing, years before her implant was done. Pfizer’s offshoot Shiley Inc. never told the government. At Pfizer’s factory in the Caribbean, company inspectors found inferior equipment, which made poor welds. Rather than toss out bad valves, Pfizer management ordered the defects to be ground down, which weakened the valves further, but made them look smooth and perfect. Pfizer then sold them worldwide.

When the valve’s struts break, the heart contracts – and explodes. Two-thirds of the victims die, usually in minutes. In 1980, Dr Viking Bjork, whose respected name helped sell the products, wrote to Pfizer demanding corrective action. He threatened to publish cases of valve-strut failures. A panicked Pfizer executive telexed: ‘ATTN PROF BJORK. WE WOULD PREFER THAT YOU DID NOT PUBLISH THE DATA RELATIVE TO STRUT FRACTURE.’ He then gave his reason for holding off public exposure of the deadly valve failures: ‘WE EXPECT A FEW MORE.’ His expectations were realised. The fracture count has now reached 800, with 500 dead – so far. Bjork called it murder, but kept silent.

In Britain, The Guardian continues, Pfizer has little to fear. A London solicitor for the pharmaceuticals industry explains: ‘US legal excesses are not visited upon defendants here.’ And the drug companies want to keep it that way. If you happen to be in Blackpool today, you can drop by Pfizer’s booth at the Labour Party Conference. (For more discreet approaches to Downing Street, Pfizer retains GPC Access, Derek Draper’s former lobby firm.) Pfizer has two reasons to cuddle up to New Labour: it wants the National Health Service to pay a stiff price for its love potion, Viagra; and it wants to prevent a toughening of UK products liability law recently demanded by the European Union [55].

Back in the US, victims’ rights are under attack. Corporate America is funding an ad campaign portraying entrepreneurs held hostage by frivolous lawsuits. But proposed remedies stink of special exemptions from justice. Eight weeks ago, the Republican senate leader slipped into patients’ rights legislation a ban on all lawsuits against makers of parts for body implants, even those with deadly defects. The clause, killed by exposure, was lobbied by the Health Industries Manufacturers Association, supported by – you guessed it – Pfizer.

Now the industry seems to have won a new battle. After many debates and political tussle to define patients’ rights George W. Bush managed to get a good deal, formally labelled as a ‘compromise’ between him and Rep. House Member Norwood, but clearly in favour of the pharma industry. The new compromise will expose health plans to more lawsuits in state courts, but will limit when patients can sue and how much they can win in damages. The question of litigation was at the core of the White House negotiations with Norwood. In essence, the compromise allows Norwood to say he is giving patients freedom to sue in state courts but includes enough restrictions [New federal law will have to spell out the exact terms under which patients can bring suits in state courts. No doubt the industry will have a major hand in the definition of these new set of federal restrictions] for Bush to say it would not promote ‘frivolous lawsuits.’ The compromise will be brought to the Senate any time soon [56].

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10. Heart Attack link to Arthritis Drugs
Pfizer, Merck and Pharmacia have been put on the defensive over independent scientific evidence that their billion-dollar arthritis drugs could be linked to an increase in heart attacks.

‘An analysis of clinical trials by scientists from the Cleveland Clinic Foundation suggests that there is a potential increase in the rate of heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular events among patients on the drugs. The scientists, who report in the latest issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, say that the data “raise a cautionary flag”.’

Pharmacia and Pfizer have responded by saying: “The article . . . is not based upon any new clinical study. The companies believe it is essential to exercise extreme caution in drawing any conclusions from this type of analysis.” The two companies point out that the cardiovascular effects of the drug were studied by the FDA in February [57].

(Important to note is that FDA’s (= Food and Drug Authority) status is quite dubious.
The FDA is well known for its links with industry)

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11. Animal suffering
Pfizer uses animals to test its products. But of course, as a company with high stakes in animal health care, Pfizer claims to be “your pet’s best friend”. Pfizer gives its customers advice on ‘what to do when your best friend (your pet) is hurt.’ E.g., in case of osteoarthritis, when you notice the symptoms, you’re being encouraged to see your veterinarian and ask him/her about Rimadyl®, a pain relief medication that can help a dog suffering from arthritis. Rimadyl is supposed to relieve pain, ‘allowing for increased activity and freedom of movement, thereby improving a dog’s quality of life’.[58]

But many dog-owners saw the quality of their dog’s life deteriorate instead. Jean Townsend filed a class-action lawsuit was on Oct. 12 1999 on behalf herself and other dog owners whose dogs had suffered or died after taking Rimadyl® (the ‘miracle drug’ for arthritis heavily advertised by Pfizer). Jean Townsend’s dog’s situation deteriorated fast after taking Rimadyl, to the point where he had to be euthanized. Quite a few other dogs, it turned out, had suffered adverse reactions to Rimadyl as well. The class-action lawsuit alleged that Pfizer Inc. knew about the adverse side effects, and did little to communicate them to pet owners [59].

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12. Luring doctors
Sponsoring in order to increase the company’s influence, visibility and market shares is high on Pfizer’s agenda. Sponsoring doctors (a general practice in the pharma industry) is considered a very effective way to bring medicines to the public. Although there is drug advertising in the lay media and many drugs are sold unofficially over the counter, the majority of drug sales come from doctors’ prescriptions. Doctors are obliged to improve themselves through continued medical education (CME). Drug companies influence the content of medical education (for example, by giving false product information, by deciding on the venues, speakers, topics, and so on). They also ‘seduce’ doctors with gifts, sponsored meetings (including luxurious dinners, cocktail parties and comfortable overnight stays in top of the bill hotels), high payments for conducting research or publishing reports, etc [60].

Doctors are being enticed into, for example, the twisting of trial results or the groundless creation of data. A study conducted by the FDA has revealed that one in five doctors investigated, who carry out field research of new drugs, had invented the data they sent to the drug companies, and pocketed the fees. Citing case examples, Dr Braithwaite states: ‘The problem is that most fraud in clinical trials is unlikely to even be detected. Most cases which do come to public attention only do so because of extraordinary carelessness by the criminal physician…’

According to Dr Judith Jones, Director of the Division of Drug Experience at the FDA, if the data obtained by a clinician proves unsatisfactory towards the drug being investigated, it is quite in order for the company to continue trials elsewhere until satisfactory results and testimonials are achieved. Unfavourable results are very rarely published and clinicians are pressured into keeping quiet about such data.

It is very easy for the drug company to arrange appropriate clinical trials by approaching a sympathetic clinician to produce the desired results that would assist the intended application of the drug. The incentive for clinical investigators to fabricate data is enormous. As much as $1000 per subject is paid by American companies, which enables some doctors to earn up to $1 million a year from drug research, and investigating clinicians know all too well that if they don’t produce the desired data, the loss of future work is inevitable [61].

Thirteen of the world’s leading medical journals have recently (September 2001) mounted an outspoken attack on the rich and powerful drug companies, accusing them of distorting the results of scientific research for the sake of profits. The Lancet, the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association and other major journals accused the drug giants of using their money – or the threat of its removal – to tie up academic researchers with legal contracts so that they are unable to report freely and fairly on the results of drug trials [62].

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13. Pfizer’s theatre of philanthropy
In addition to the sponsorship of doctors, education, research, politicians, etc., Pfizer is keen to donate to charity. Pfizer even has a philanthropy home page and the company has set up its own charitable, ‘independent’ foundation, the Pfizer Foundation, Inc (www.pfizer.com/pfizerinc/philanthropy/) established by Pfizer in 1953. The Foundation’s mission is ‘to promote access to quality health care and education, to nurture innovation and to support the community involvement of Pfizer people’. In 2000, Pfizer Inc and the Pfizer Foundation donated more than $300 million (£204,6 million) in product and cash donations worldwide, making it, in its own words, ‘one of America’s most generous companies in the US.’

Given Pfizer’s criminal record, and all its serious and life-threatening consequences [Most appalling is probably Pfizer’s refusal to cut drug prices in poor countries and Pfizer’s aggressive efforts to safeguard its patents and pricing drugs out of reach of countless people] Pfizer’s donations to charity can only be labelled as a façade. Although some intentions and concerns might be sincere, and although Pfizer is (set alongside other companies) relatively generous, problems run so much deeper. And Pfizer knows it. But the fact remains that charity (preoccupation with profits and self-interest being cleverly masked up) is a good venue for brushing up the corporate image.

Besides, donations to charity are negligible in comparison to the amounts of money spent on other projects such as the 12 billion dollar business park (see below) or in comparison to Pfizer’s profits. (In the first half of 2001 Pfizer’s total revenue increased with 11% and equated $15.6 billion (£10,6 billion), its net income rose by 33%).[62]

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14. Twelve billion dollar Business park –PfizerWorld
On 23 April 2001 Pfizer announced that it would be building a 12 billion dollar (£8,2 billion) (!) theme park in central Florida. Funded by a consortium of Health Maintenance Organisations (HMOs) and government agencies, the park would serve as a vehicle to introduce and promote new drugs to the public. The announcement was made by the chief executive officer of Pfizer, Hank McKinnell, surrounded by such notables as chairman of HMO Kaiser Permanente David Lawrence, attorney general John Ashcroft, and vice president Dick Cheney.

Named PfizerWorld, the park will be comprised of a combination of rides, entertainment, and educational exhibits, geared at both adults and children. ‘It will be a collage of information and fun,’ McKinnell remarked. Ride names already proposed include The Gonococcal Caves and Heart Attack Mountain.

Also planned are a series of cute animal characters for the park, designed to excite children about science and health. With names such as Alan the Alcoholic Alligator and Diana the Diabetic Dog, each character would have a theme disease that would then serve as a bridge to information regarding a specific Pfizer product. ‘What better way to educate kids about Viagra than with Mo the Impotent Mouse?’ a Pfizer PR spokeswoman remarked. Pfizer has already contracted toy manufacturer Hasbro to release a series of PfizerWorld dolls and action figures to accompany the live characters.

McKinnell fended off early criticism that the park was merely an excessive advertising ploy. ‘Despite what one might be thinking, this is not an extravagant corporate ploy designed to trick the easily led masses into using our overpriced drugs despite the availability of cheaper, more effective alternatives. Our only interest is in educating the public. And if Pfizer gets a little free advertising along the way, well, of course we won’t complain.’

Also of some concern was the source of the 12 billion dollars needed to build PfizerWorld. One insider remarked, “Who do you think will be paying for this monstrosity? All those CEO’s and politicians? No no, that money is coming right out of the public’s pockets. This has to be the biggest racket this nation has seen since the JFK assassination, but all it’s going to take is one look at those huggable little animals and everyone will decide that they just don’t give a damn.”

Despite the visible presence of the Bush administration during the announcement, government officials and politicians were surprisingly tight-lipped. ‘My only comment on the issue is that both the president and I support any endeavor to teach young people about capitalism…wait…I mean about health’, Cheney remarked as he was hurried into the presidential helicopter [63].

Pfizer is scheduled to break ground on the project in about two months, with an estimated completion date of Spring 2003 [64].

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15. What Pfizer doesn’t tell you…

New London, Connecticut, US (2001)
Pfizer proudly told the people of New London that the company would play a big role in revitalizing New London. Pfizer had made a deal with some federal and state agencies in which Pfizer would build a global development facility on a brownfield on the bank of the river Thames. Pfizer also committed to returning a polluted, festering waterway called Bentley Creek to its original pristine condition. Not only was Pfizer going to build a 270,000-square-foot facility, but also it was to become the Pfizer Global Research and Development World Headquarters. More prestige and jobs for the people of New London…

This is what Pfizer said: ‘Our Central Research group is currently developing the former New London Mills site, a 22-acre abandoned industrial property. With assistance from the State of Connecticut, the City of New London, and the New London Development Corporation, we will transform the mill site into a new Pfizer research facility, which is expected to serve as a catalyst for additional development in downtown New London. The project resulted from a successful partnering between Pfizer and numerous federal and state agencies to negotiate solutions for site contamination, wetlands, coastal area management, storm water, and other environmental issues. Because of the economic confidence that our commitment has inspired, the State of Connecticut is providing funding to rejuvenate and remediate the surrounding area, along with state and local commitments to upgrade the nearby municipal wastewater treatment facility. Besides the tangible benefits of employment and tax revenues, we believe this redevelopment will bring inspiration, innovation, and new energy that will enrich the life of New London.’

Pfizer neglects to mention the following:

That they have received a 10 year tax abatement on their new Global Research Facility
That the majority of employees at their new facility will not be New London residents but current Pfizer employees
That the residents of New London may only hope to be employed in the cafeteria and janitorial sections of Pfizer
That Pfizer has been instrumental in attempting to destroy the Fort Trumbull neighborhood. According to Claire Gaudiani, outgoing president of Connecticut College and NLDC, on whose board George Milne, Jr sits, the destruction of this neighborhood is meant to complement Pfizer’s world class facility.
That George Milne, Jr. (head of Pfizer) has committed Pfizer to 100 rooms daily in a planned hotel [65].

16. Pfizer helps out Tobacco Industry
Pfizer and Boehringer Ingelheim are about to market a new treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD is a debilitating lung disease caused primarily by smoking. It kills three million people a year worldwide, is the fourth leading cause of death in the US, and the fifth-leading cause of death in the world.[66]
Source

 


Pfizer Corporate Crimes: Animal and Human suffering

 

Heavily Overpricing Pharmaceuticals
Price fixing (Pfizer labeled as Top Corporate Criminal)
Pfizer cares for your health, as long as the company sees profit
Pfizer & Aids
Lawsuit South Africa
Drugs = Soft Drinks
Pfizer steals indigenous knowledge
Pfizer ‘illegally tested drugs on children’
Pfizer sells dysfunctional heart valves
Heart attack link to arthritis drugs
Animal suffering
Luring doctors
Pfizer’s theory of philanthropy
Twelve billion dollar Business park –PfizerWorld
What Pfizer doesn’t tell you
Pfizer helps out the tobacco industry

Heavily Overpricing Pharmaceuticals

Most Profitable Industry
According to the Financial Times, five of the top ten companies with the most profitable foreign operations were pharmaceutical companies (27/4/2000). According to industry apologists, the profits are justified due to the unusual nature of the business: research and development costs for new drugs require huge investments (sometimes upwards of $300 million (£204,6 million) with equally large amounts of risk that the investment will pay off. Critics however, claim that prices are kept artificially high even when the initial investment is recovered.

Huge Marketing Expenditures
A new report (released on 10 July 2001) by the consumer health organization Families USA [33] refutes the pharmaceutical industry’s claim that high drug prices are needed to sustain research and development. The report documents that drug companies are spending more than twice as much on marketing, advertising, and administration than they do on research and development; that drug company profits, which are higher than all other industries, exceed research and development expenditures; and that drug companies provide lavish compensation packages for their top executives [34].

Among the nine pharmaceutical companies examined in the report (Merck, Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pharmacia, Abbott Laboratories, American Home Products, Eli Lilly, Schering-Plough, and Allergan) all but one (Eli Lilly) spent more than twice as much on marketing, advertising and administration than they did on research and development. Eli Lilly spent more than one and one-half times as much. Six out of the nine companies made more money in net profits than they spent on research and development last year. [See chart 1]

(According to its 1999 annual report, Pfizer spent 39,2% of its revenues on marketing and administration. The company legitimises these huge expenditures by claiming they serve an educational function: doctors and the public learn about new and useful drugs. See also the Pfizer publication ‘Economic Realities in Health Care Policies’, volume 2, issue 1, ‘Prescription Drug Advertising: Empowering Consumers Through Information’, at: http://www.pfizer.com/pfizerinc/policy/ERhealthcare.pdf)

Exorbitant pay for executives
The report also documents profligate spending on compensation packages for top pharmaceutical executives. The executive with the highest compensation package in the year 2000, exclusive of unexercised stock options, was William C. Steere, Jr., Pfizer’s Chairman, who made $40.2 million (£27,4 million). The executive with the highest amount of unexercised stock options was C.A. Heimbold, Jr., Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Chairman and CEO, who held $227.9 million (£155,4 million) in unexercised stock options. [See charts 2 and 3]

Publicly funded research
Another reason why the relationship between profits and innovation (R&D) isn’t as straightforward as the industry claims is that a large part of research is publicly funded. It is a general practice that research (in any given field) starts in the public sector. Only when corporations feel that research (results) will potentially create huge profits they become interested and involved.

The top ten drug companies in the US are reported to spend on average 20% of their revenues on R&D, of which 40% is paid by the (public) National Institute of Health (NIH) [35]. A study by the Boston Globe newspaper in 1998 found the National Institutes of Health (NIH) laboratories spent $1 billion on drug and vaccine development in the 1996 tax year, but only took $27m in royalties.

In September 1999, it was pointed out to the director of the NIH, Harold Varmus, that six HIV/Aids drugs, as well as anti-malarial treatments and other medicines of vital interest to developing countries, had been invented with public funds. The government therefore had the right under US law to use the drugs in public health initiatives.

Dr Varmus dismissed the suggestion, echoing the industry line that: “Undermining licensed intellectual property rights would, I believe, unnecessarily jeopardise the development of important therapeutic drugs.” James Love, who runs a Washington-based group called the Consumer Project on Technology, sees the response as nonsensical because it was the NIH which did the hard work of discovering and synthesising the drugs in question.’[36]

(James Loves blames both the US government and the US public. He elaborates on the absurd situation by saying: ‘The rest of the world will have to go however many years more of paying an astronomical sum for something invented by the United States government. How can we expect Glaxo SmithKline to share its intellectual property if the United States government won’t share its intellectual property to save millions of people? What does that say about the moral character of the American public? We are responsible.’)[37]

Creative Accounting
The Guardian reports that drug companies try to make their R&D budgets look bigger by means of creative accounting. ‘With a little creative accounting, all manners of expenditures have been logged under the R&D title, partly in the pursuit of tax rebates.’[38]

Protecting Profits through Patents
The US government tries to enforce strict patent laws all over the world. These Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) that protect newly invented drugs (up to 20 years), enforced by the World Trade Organisation, are preventing access to essential medicines by the developing world. And patent protection of drugs can prevent poor countries from producing cheaper local versions. In Thailand, for example, Pfizer used to be the sole supplier of fluconazole, used in treating cryptococcal meningitis, an opportunistic infection affecting 1 in 5 of the country’s AIDS patients. The company charged a daily price of £8.75 ($14), making the drug largely unaffordable. The market exclusivity on the drug expired in 1998, leading to its local production at 5% of the 1998 price [39].

Oxfam has recently accused Pfizer of moral bankruptcy by pricing life-saving drugs beyond the reach of millions of poor people. Oxfam particularly criticizes Pfizer’s aggressive enforcement of patents in poor countries, forcing prices up. ‘The company’s bottom line seems to matter more than the lives of the world’s poorest people’, said Oxfam Policy Director Justin Forsyth. ‘Pfizer’s market value exceeds the combined national incomes of the 18 biggest countries in sub-Saharan Africa, but it heartlessly continues to lead the industry’s campaign for global monopolies on life-saving drugs while people die from treatable diseases.’ [40]

2000 Financials for U.S. Corporations Marketing Top 50 Drugs for Seniors
Chart 1 Percent of Revenue Allocated to:
Private Company Revenue
Net Sales
in $ millions: Profit:
(Net Income) Marketing/
Advertising/
Administration Research and
Development (R&D)
Merck and Co. Inc 40,363 17% 15% 6%
Pfizer Inc 29,574 13% 39% 15%
Bristol-Myers
Squibb Company 18,216 26% 30% 11%
Pharmacia Corporation 18,144 4% 37% 15%
Abbott Laboratories 13,746 20% 21% 10%
American Home
Products Corporation 13,263 -18% 38% 13%
Eli Lilly and Co. 10,862 28% 30% 19%
Schering-Plough
Corporation 9,815 25% 36% 14%
Allergan, Inc 1,563 14% 42% 13%

Five Highest Paid Drug Company Executives Salaries
2000 Annual Compensation Exclusive of Unexercised Stock Options
Chart 2
Private Executive Company Compensation
Executive William C. Steere, Jr., Chairman Pfizer Inc $40,191,845
William C. Steere, Jr., Chairman; John R. Stafford, Chairman and CEO American Home Products Corporation $27,008,927
Edward M. Scolnick, Executive VP Merck and Co., Inc. $26,454,600
Richard Jay Kogan, Chairman and CEO Schering-Plough Corporation $21,444,020
David W. Anstice, President, the Americas Merck and Co., Inc. $19,600,975

The Five Drug Company Executives Salaries
with the Largest Unexercised Stock Options in 2000
Chart 3
Private Executive Company Compensation
C.A. Heimbold, Jr., Chairman and CEO Bristol-Myers Squibb Company $227,869,513
Raymond V. Gilmartin Chairman, Pres., and CEO Merck and Co., Inc. $181,252,976
William C. Steere, Jr., Chairman Pfizer Inc. $130,944,439
K.E. Weg, Vice Chairman Bristol-Myers Squibb Company $84,282,547
John R. Stafford, Chairman and CEO American Home Products Corporation $81,847,569

In sum, the pharmaceuticals industry’s claim that high profits (and strict patent laws, and high drug prices) are needed to secure the high costs of R&D (and ‘safeguard the development of new, life-saving drugs to fight diseases like cancer and Aids’) does not hold ground!

First, drug giants like Pfizer spent much more money on marketing and advertising than on R&D. Second, much money is being channeled to the Executive’s bank account. Third, large part of research is publicly funded. Fourth, by way of creative accounting corporations make their R&D look bigger. Fifth, it’s not true that the enormous corporate profits come from innovations (as is being claimed), it is the artificially high drug prices and strict patent laws (out-pricing drugs for poor people) that are securing the industry’s profits. Finally, one should not forget about the industry’s extensive influence on policymaking processes. The industry’s ability to push for regulations and laws that suit their own interests is obviously highly to the industry, and yet another critical way to secure its high profits.

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2. Price fixing (Pfizer labeled as Top Corporate Criminal)
Pfizer was listed as number 17 on the list of the ‘Top 100 Corporate Criminals of the 1990’s’. The company had been accused of participation in two international price fixing conspiracies in the food additives industry [41].

3. Pfizer cares for your health, as long as the company sees profit
‘The UK National Health Service (NHS) is suffering from increasing shortages of older but crucial medicines leaving patients at risk of being deprived of the most effective treatments. The medicines involved are most often those used in hospitals. Generally they no longer make much money for the makers, and in some cases, the drug firms may be struggling to make any profit on them.’[42]

4. Pfizer & Aids
Pfizer is proud to state the company has made huge donations to the National AIDS Fund since 1989 [43]. After all –in the words of CEO McKinnell– the HIV/Aids crisis is ‘a crisis of heartbreaking proportions, especially for those of us committed to serving patients’ (obviously referring to himself and the Pfizer company, but what about the HIV/Aids patients themselves? Shouldn’t they be mentioned first?). McKinnell continues: ‘We at Pfizer believe that the only realistic approach to solving this crisis is through partnerships. The pharmaceutical industry cannot do it alone…and the crisis can not be wished away. What we can do is build partnerships for a healthier world.’[44]

Pfizer’s latest contribution to the fight against Aids involves the free distribution of Diflucan (Diflucan is not a treatment for Aids, but it is highly effective in treating 2 opportunistic infections that afflict large numbers of people with Aids) in 50 poor, HIV/Aids-affected countries. Pfizer developed this program in cooperation with the United Nations and the World Health Organization. Additionally, Pfizer and the Pfizer Foundation are providing construction and seed funding for the first large-scale HIV/Aids medical training centre in Africa.

However, it’s rather grim (to put it subtly!) that at the same time, Pfizer’s unscrupulous practices (e.g. heavily overpricing medicines, enforcement of strict patent laws, focus on the development of drugs for the rich, western consumers (the bulk of research and investments is going to so-called ‘lifestyle’ drugs for wealthier consumers), ignoring poor people’s needs) take lives and cause misery on a large scale, especially in poor countries.

As mentioned above, Pfizer makes a AIDS drug called fluconazole (Diflucan). It treats a painful brain infection called Cryptococcal meningitis. Without treatment, the infection kills people with AIDS in two months. About 10% of the 34 million people with HIV worldwide will develop this brain infection. Pfizer’s fluconazole brings in more than one billion dollars in sales each year. Around the world poor people with AIDS suffer and die without this drug, because Pfizer’s price gouging keeps it out of reach of the countless people who need it.

In South Africa, where 4.5 million people have HIV, no one can afford Pfizer’s killer prices. AIDS activists in South Africa and the United States have been demanding that Pfizer drop the price or allow generic production of the drug. Instead, Pfizer opposes efforts by foreign companies to make and sell the same or similar medicines at considerably lower prices. In South Africa, Pfizer’s patent means that even the government must pay $4.15 (£2,83) per pill, while in Thailand, where Pfizer does not have a patent on fluconazole, the drug is only $0.29 (£0,19) per pill. In Kenya, where Pfizer also has exclusive rights, fluconazole costs $18.00 (£12,28) per pill — more expensive, even, than US prices.

While Pfizer blocks access to affordable, generic fluconazole, countless numbers of people with AIDS die preventable deaths. In an unprecedented resolution, the United Nations Subcommission for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights recently found that the WTO’s rules on pharmaceutical patents are anathema to human rights, and will effectively cripple efforts by developing countries to deal with epidemics of disease. The resolution states that there are “apparent conflicts between the intellectual property rights regime embodied in the (WTO rules), on the one hand, and international human rights law, on the other.”[45]

Pfizer keeps insisting that strict patent rules are needed to stimulate innovation. ‘Patent protection makes drug discovery possible and profitable. It is the incentive that justifies investing billions of dollars and decades of time to find new cures. Eliminate patent protection, and the incentive for original research is removed and every research-based pharmaceutical company becomes a generic drug manufacturer, and the discovery of new medicines slows to a trickle.’ [46] As pointed out earlier, this reasoning is based on nothing but false grounds.

Every time high-level, international meetings on health or drug-related issues come up, NGOs, activists and other concerned people seek extra attention for the pharmaceutical industry’s irresponsible and unscrupulous attitude towards the Aids crisis. At the same time, drug companies –being in the spotlight- take advantage of the opportunity to work on their image. Just before the AIDS2000 conference in Durban, Pfizer announced the company would donate fluconazole (Diflucan) free of charge to people with HIV/Aids.

The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) supported the donation. However, TAC was soon to find out that the Pfizer still considered profits more important than people’s lives. It seemed the donation was highly limited, and could not be considered something else than a fraud to protect the company’s profit. Pfizer insisted on limiting its donation to a period of two and a half years -the exact period when their fluconazole patent or exclusive licence to sell will expire. Second, Pfizer refused to extend the offer to treat thrush (see TAC leaflet). Third, Pfizer refused to include countries other than South Africa in the offer. And finally, Pfizer refused to reduce the price to lower than R4.00 per capsule for all other uses. On top of that, Pfizer’s unwillingness to negotiate is condemning countless people to suffering and possible death because they cannot afford the unreasonable price that the company is putting on the drug [47].

More recently, as mentioned earlier, Pfizer has announced that it will offer Diflucan at no charge to HIV/Aids patients in 50 poor countries where HIV/Aids is prevalent. No dollar or time limit this time. The Diflucan Partnership was developed in cooperation with the United Nations and the World Health Organization and expands on the aforementioned partnership with South Africa. The announcement came just weeks before the UN’s special session on HIV/Aids in June 2001. However, and this cannot be overstated, donations are meaningless as long as drug companies like Pfizer keep overpricing their drugs and enforcing strict patent laws.

Pfizer’s statement that the company supports donation programs ‘because medicines are unaffordable for many patients in the least developed countries’ is highly misleading. It is the practices of drug giants like Pfizer (see above) that cause this scandalous situation! The following paragraphs on the broadly publicised lawsuit (pharmaceutical industry vs. the South African government) clearly illustrate this.

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5. Lawsuit South Africa
For more than three years, the big pharmaceutical companies have been spit-shining their image as mankind’s saviors while simultaneously waging a legal battle to keep low-cost versions of lifesaving drugs from the millions of people dying of AIDS in Africa. On April 18, 2001, the 39 drug companies (including Bayer AG, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly Ltd, Glaxo Wellcome Ltd, Hoechst Ltd, Novartis Ltd, Novo Nordisk Ltd, Pharmacia & Upjohn Ltd, Rhone-Poulenc Ltd, Roche Ltd, Schering Ltd, Smithkline Beecham Ltd, Universal pharmaceutical, Zeneca Ltd, Merck & Co, Rhone-Poulenc Rorer SA, Warner-Lambert) suing the South African government dropped their lawsuit.

Typically, they’re spinning it as a humanitarian gesture, but it really is the only way to extricate themselves from the public relations nightmare their cold-blooded effort had become. From AIDS activists who started protesting two years ago to Nelson Mandela, who this week called the law suit a “gross error … that is completely wrong and must be condemned,” the public outcry had reached a crescendo the industry could no longer afford to ignore. This, after all, is the same industry that last year spent $1.7 billion (£1,159 billion) on TV ads promoting its products and painting itself as a paragon of virtue and compassion [48].

Arianna Huffington writes: Ironically, it was not long after I had seen for the umpteenth time Pfizer’s heartstring-tugging TV spot proclaiming “Life is our life’s work” that I heard the drug companies were waving the bloodstained white flag in Pretoria. That it took the world turning on them — and three long years of thousands of people dying — to get them to drop their suit proves that the industry’s collective slogan should be “Profit is our life’s work.”[49]

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6. Drugs = Soft Drinks
As mentioned before, Pfizer can attribute its economic success largely to its ability to turn drugs into multi-billion dollar products. The company generally spends more money on marketing than on research and development. The importance of marketing (Pfizer set the example) has rippled through the industry. It is manifested in the ‘arms race’ of escalating numbers of sales representatives, particularly in the US; the huge pre-launch marketing budgets when companies try to make as big a splash as possible; and the aggressive TV advertising campaigns with which some drugs, such as Claritin and Viagra, have been turned into household names.

Global launches are becoming increasingly possible as regulation between the US, Europe and Japan gradually harmonises. Companies spend increasing amounts of time and money developing a global brand name and a consistent message that can be delivered (with minor tweaks) anywhere in the world. Medicines are beginning to resemble any other consumer products. Certainly there will always be differences. New, powerful drugs will continue to be screened by trained physicians. People will never purchase chemotherapy medicines on impulse at the supermarket checkout (at least, this is what we assume…). But these days, as never before, drugs are created, branded and promoted with the consumers (note: wealthy consumers) very much in mind.

Corporations point out that the Internet and direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising is increasing the power of patients. ‘We are no longer in an age where an ill-informed patient goes to see a doctor for advice. More often than not the patient is already well informed before they go through the surgery door’, says David Baker, head of European life sciences at Computer Science’s Corporation, a consultancy. But an essential question is ‘by whom are patients informed?’ The answer is easy to find. The next important question should be ‘with what intentions do drug companies provide information?’ Are they genuinely concerned about people’s health, or do they consider profits more important?

David Baker –reflecting the industry’s vision- continues: ‘Time is money. If the patient wants a product and it’s indicated [licensed for that condition] and it’s a good product, then why should the doctor start a discussion.’ So the next step would be to leave the doctor out altogether. It seems that drug corporations like Pfizer want to remove as many links as possible between themselves and the consumer (by way of direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising, and use of the internet) in order to enlarge opportunities to influence the consumer. It’s unlikely that consumers, being dependent on the information provided by corporations and being the target of comprehensive PR and marketing efforts will find themselves in a more favourable, empowered position as the pharmaceutical industry predicts/promises.

(Further up in this profile you can find information on Pfizer’s latest, ambitious marketing effort (dangerously linking propaganda/public ‘education’ with amusement/fun) involving the building of 12 billion dollar Business Park)

According to Cap Gemini, a consultancy, direct-to-consumer advertising now accounts for 16 per cent of total promotional spending in the healthcare industry. In terms of TV advertising, medicines come third after cars and retail products. Such advertising is largely a US phenomenon following a relaxation in regulations in 1997, a change currently under review. But in Europe, where direct advertising of branded prescription products is banned, companies have not given up the chance of creating consumer pull. They do so through Internet sites, which can be viewed from anywhere in the world. (Warnings that information is intended for US audiences only tend to be in small type.) They also promote the use of their medicines through disease awareness campaigns, such as that of Pharmacia in the UK urging patients to seek treatment for urinary incontinence. Obviously Pharmacia has the leading medicine in this field.

When Mr Ebeling joined Novartis from the soft drinks industry, what struck him most were the similarities. ‘The same rules of differentiating your product, making sure you promote with the right message in the right media to the right people is really the same,’ he says. ‘What’s different is the product, which is more complicated. But the principles of marketing and sales are the same.’ Among Bayer’s best-selling medicines is a brand as familiar as Coke or Pepsi. The brand, of course, is aspirin, a drug that has just completed its one-hundredth anniversary [50].

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7. Pfizer steals indigenous knowledge
The profit incentive caused a sudden revival of interest in indigenous knowledge. The progression of biotechnology opens up new possibilities to exploit natural resources in the Third World. Pharmaceutical companies increasingly take genetic material and/or indigenous knowledge from the South to make fortunes from natural remedies, without asking for consent, let alone paying any kind of compensation. After patenting the ‘new inventions’, the Western drug industry can exploit the South even further by forcing developing countries to pay high royalties over the patented drugs imported from the West –drugs that originate from their soil and knowledge! The following case is just another sad example of this general practice, also labeled as bio-piracy.

Pfizer has recently been accused of stealing an ingredient of the Hoodia cactus which African tribesmen have used for thousands of years to stave off hunger and thirst on long hunting trips. The Kung bushmen who live around the Kalahari desert in southern Africa used to cut off a stem of the cactus about the size of a cucumber and much it over a couple of days. According to tradition, they ate together so they brought back what they caught and did not eat while hunting. Now the Hoodia is at the centre of a bio-piracy row.

Last April, Phytopharm, a small firm in Cambridgeshire, said it had discovered a potential cure for obesity derived from an African cactus. It emerged that the company had patented P57, the appetite-suppressing ingredient in the Hoodia, hoping it would become a slimming miracle. Phytopharm’s scientists boasted it would have none of the side effects of many other treatments because it was derived from a natural product. The discovery was immediately hailed by the press as a ‘dieter’s dream’ and Phytopharm’s share price rose as City traders expected rich returns from a drug which would revolutionise the £6bn market in slimming aids. Phytopharm acted quickly and sold the rights to license the drugs for $21m (£14,321m) to Pfizer.

While the drug companies were busy seducing the media, their shareholders and financiers about the wonders of their new drug, they had forgotten to tell the bushmen, whose knowledge they had used and patented. Phytopharm’s excuse appears to be that it believed the tribes, which used the Hoodia cactus, were extinct. The tribesmen were angry, saying their ancient knowledge had been stolen, and planned to launch a challenge and demand compensation. Speaking to the Observer, the lawyer for the bushmen Roger Chennells said: ‘They [the bushmen] are very concerned. It feels like somebody has stolen their family silver and cashed it in for a huge profit. The bushmen do not object to anybody using their knowledge to produce a medicine, but they would heave liked the drug companies to have spoken to them first and come to an agreement.’ [51]

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8. Pfizer ‘illegally tested drugs on children’
The Guardian reports that Pfizer has been accused of irregularities during a clinical trial in Nigeria. The company is said to have used an experimental drug on sick children during a major outbreak of meningitis, without official approval. A Nigerian doctor employed by Pfizer to run the clinical trial in Kano said that the letter certifying approval by the ethics committee at the hospital where the children were treated was probably written a year after the experiment took place. The hospital’s medical director, Sadiq S Wali, talking to the Washington Post, confirmed this. He told the Post that the document was ‘a lie’. He said the hospital had no ethics committee at the time of Pfizer’s trial.

The revelations were hugely embarrassing to Pfizer. The company still insists there was a philanthropic element to the trial. ‘Médecins Sans Frontièrs (MSF) was using the only drug that was available in Nigeria –one that had not been allowed in the west for 50 years because of the side-effects’, said Pfizer’s spokeswoman, Kate Robins, whereas Pfizer introduced not only its experimental drugs, but also the ‘gold standard’ drug used in the west. Asked why, in that case, Pfizer had treated only 200 children when the epidemic killed 15,000, she added: ‘Science governs our decisions.’ The experimental drugs used, Trovan, has since been licensed, but not for children. However, it is not marketed in Nigeria. Like all new drugs, which have a 20-year patent protection, the cost is too high for developing countries [52].

Obviously, the situations of drugs not allowed in the West being used in developing countries are highly immoral. Pharmaceutical companies have aggressively pushed for policies that allow for these kind of (dumping) practices to take place. In order not to let products (forbidden in the West presumably to protect the health of consumers or the environment, but more likely to prevent future damage to corporations caused by bad publicity and/or costly lawsuits) ‘get wasted’, corporations make sure regulations allow them to ship those products (for example, pesticides, genetic engineered foodstuffs, medicines) to the South. In addition, leverage of corporations can often guarantee that the responsible public officers, regulators or politicians temporarily close their eyes to it.

After several lawsuits in Nigeria, it was only last September that the first suit was filed in the US. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of 30 Nigerian families, alleges Pfizer violated their human rights when it set up the clinic to give Trovan to the 200 children. The families say Pfizer did not obtain “informed consent” before administering the treatment. “This test was conducted in violation of international laws and treaties,” the lawsuit says, “including the Nuremberg Code of 1947, which was enacted, in part, to prevent the horrors of medical experimentation performed during the holocaust from ever happening again.”

The affair is embarrassing for the world’s largest pharmaceutical company, as the industry is attempting to recover from months of bad publicity over prices and access to its medicines. Aid groups say the Trovan lawsuit highlights actions even more sinister. In the developing world, some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) allege, companies are conducting sub-standard clinical trials on potentially dangerous drugs. Pfizer heralded Trovan as a medicine capable of killing bugs that had grown resistant to antibiotics. But its promise was overshadowed by safety issues, and it was never approved by US regulators for use on children [53].

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9. Pfizer sells dysfunctional heart valves
Three ex-employees of Pfizer have alleged that the company’s subsidiary Shiley Inc. regularly produced artificial heart valves that workers and supervisors knew were unsafe. Their testimony confirms a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) report that claiming that the valve was manufactured under conditions ‘in serious violation’ of good manufacturing processes. Fractures occurred in at least 501 of the devices that were sold from 1979 to 1986, when Shiley ceased production due to ‘negative publicity’. At least 250 people have died from the fractures.

Victims of the valve or their relatives name Shiley Inc. in about 200 lawsuits. At least 30 cases have been settled. The terms of the settlements, however, remain secret. Facing tens of millions of dollars in potential court awards, Pfizer has not limited itself to making settlement offers. The company is pushing for legislation that would effectively deny access to the US judicial system to foreigners injured or killed by the valve. Because over half of the recipients of the valve are foreigners, Pfizer could escape significant financial liability if the bill becomes law. However, the bill would apply to all corporations, not just Pfizer. In essence, it would shield corporations from liability for dumping their wares on an unsuspecting and already disadvantaged foreign clientele. Currently, foreign victims may bring suit in the American State courts. The Pfizer-backed bill would allow US corporations to remove almost all such cases to US federal courts [54].

The Guardian tells the story of Elaine Levenson, a Cincinnati housewife, who is waiting for her heart to explode. In 1981, surgeons implanted a mechanical valve in her heart, the Bjork-Shiley, the ‘Rolls-Royce of valves’, her doctor told her. What neither she nor her doctor knew was that several Bjork-Shiley valves had fractured during testing, years before her implant was done. Pfizer’s offshoot Shiley Inc. never told the government. At Pfizer’s factory in the Caribbean, company inspectors found inferior equipment, which made poor welds. Rather than toss out bad valves, Pfizer management ordered the defects to be ground down, which weakened the valves further, but made them look smooth and perfect. Pfizer then sold them worldwide.

When the valve’s struts break, the heart contracts – and explodes. Two-thirds of the victims die, usually in minutes. In 1980, Dr Viking Bjork, whose respected name helped sell the products, wrote to Pfizer demanding corrective action. He threatened to publish cases of valve-strut failures. A panicked Pfizer executive telexed: ‘ATTN PROF BJORK. WE WOULD PREFER THAT YOU DID NOT PUBLISH THE DATA RELATIVE TO STRUT FRACTURE.’ He then gave his reason for holding off public exposure of the deadly valve failures: ‘WE EXPECT A FEW MORE.’ His expectations were realised. The fracture count has now reached 800, with 500 dead – so far. Bjork called it murder, but kept silent.

In Britain, The Guardian continues, Pfizer has little to fear. A London solicitor for the pharmaceuticals industry explains: ‘US legal excesses are not visited upon defendants here.’ And the drug companies want to keep it that way. If you happen to be in Blackpool today, you can drop by Pfizer’s booth at the Labour Party Conference. (For more discreet approaches to Downing Street, Pfizer retains GPC Access, Derek Draper’s former lobby firm.) Pfizer has two reasons to cuddle up to New Labour: it wants the National Health Service to pay a stiff price for its love potion, Viagra; and it wants to prevent a toughening of UK products liability law recently demanded by the European Union [55].

Back in the US, victims’ rights are under attack. Corporate America is funding an ad campaign portraying entrepreneurs held hostage by frivolous lawsuits. But proposed remedies stink of special exemptions from justice. Eight weeks ago, the Republican senate leader slipped into patients’ rights legislation a ban on all lawsuits against makers of parts for body implants, even those with deadly defects. The clause, killed by exposure, was lobbied by the Health Industries Manufacturers Association, supported by – you guessed it – Pfizer.

Now the industry seems to have won a new battle. After many debates and political tussle to define patients’ rights George W. Bush managed to get a good deal, formally labelled as a ‘compromise’ between him and Rep. House Member Norwood, but clearly in favour of the pharma industry. The new compromise will expose health plans to more lawsuits in state courts, but will limit when patients can sue and how much they can win in damages. The question of litigation was at the core of the White House negotiations with Norwood. In essence, the compromise allows Norwood to say he is giving patients freedom to sue in state courts but includes enough restrictions [New federal law will have to spell out the exact terms under which patients can bring suits in state courts. No doubt the industry will have a major hand in the definition of these new set of federal restrictions] for Bush to say it would not promote ‘frivolous lawsuits.’ The compromise will be brought to the Senate any time soon [56].

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10. Heart Attack link to Arthritis Drugs
Pfizer, Merck and Pharmacia have been put on the defensive over independent scientific evidence that their billion-dollar arthritis drugs could be linked to an increase in heart attacks.

‘An analysis of clinical trials by scientists from the Cleveland Clinic Foundation suggests that there is a potential increase in the rate of heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular events among patients on the drugs. The scientists, who report in the latest issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, say that the data “raise a cautionary flag”.’

Pharmacia and Pfizer have responded by saying: “The article . . . is not based upon any new clinical study. The companies believe it is essential to exercise extreme caution in drawing any conclusions from this type of analysis.” The two companies point out that the cardiovascular effects of the drug were studied by the FDA in February [57].

(Important to note is that FDA’s (= Food and Drug Authority) status is quite dubious.
The FDA is well known for its links with industry)

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11. Animal suffering
Pfizer uses animals to test its products. But of course, as a company with high stakes in animal health care, Pfizer claims to be “your pet’s best friend”. Pfizer gives its customers advice on ‘what to do when your best friend (your pet) is hurt.’ E.g., in case of osteoarthritis, when you notice the symptoms, you’re being encouraged to see your veterinarian and ask him/her about Rimadyl®, a pain relief medication that can help a dog suffering from arthritis. Rimadyl is supposed to relieve pain, ‘allowing for increased activity and freedom of movement, thereby improving a dog’s quality of life’.[58]

But many dog-owners saw the quality of their dog’s life deteriorate instead. Jean Townsend filed a class-action lawsuit was on Oct. 12 1999 on behalf herself and other dog owners whose dogs had suffered or died after taking Rimadyl® (the ‘miracle drug’ for arthritis heavily advertised by Pfizer). Jean Townsend’s dog’s situation deteriorated fast after taking Rimadyl, to the point where he had to be euthanized. Quite a few other dogs, it turned out, had suffered adverse reactions to Rimadyl as well. The class-action lawsuit alleged that Pfizer Inc. knew about the adverse side effects, and did little to communicate them to pet owners [59].

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12. Luring doctors
Sponsoring in order to increase the company’s influence, visibility and market shares is high on Pfizer’s agenda. Sponsoring doctors (a general practice in the pharma industry) is considered a very effective way to bring medicines to the public. Although there is drug advertising in the lay media and many drugs are sold unofficially over the counter, the majority of drug sales come from doctors’ prescriptions. Doctors are obliged to improve themselves through continued medical education (CME). Drug companies influence the content of medical education (for example, by giving false product information, by deciding on the venues, speakers, topics, and so on). They also ‘seduce’ doctors with gifts, sponsored meetings (including luxurious dinners, cocktail parties and comfortable overnight stays in top of the bill hotels), high payments for conducting research or publishing reports, etc [60].

Doctors are being enticed into, for example, the twisting of trial results or the groundless creation of data. A study conducted by the FDA has revealed that one in five doctors investigated, who carry out field research of new drugs, had invented the data they sent to the drug companies, and pocketed the fees. Citing case examples, Dr Braithwaite states: ‘The problem is that most fraud in clinical trials is unlikely to even be detected. Most cases which do come to public attention only do so because of extraordinary carelessness by the criminal physician…’

According to Dr Judith Jones, Director of the Division of Drug Experience at the FDA, if the data obtained by a clinician proves unsatisfactory towards the drug being investigated, it is quite in order for the company to continue trials elsewhere until satisfactory results and testimonials are achieved. Unfavourable results are very rarely published and clinicians are pressured into keeping quiet about such data.

It is very easy for the drug company to arrange appropriate clinical trials by approaching a sympathetic clinician to produce the desired results that would assist the intended application of the drug. The incentive for clinical investigators to fabricate data is enormous. As much as $1000 per subject is paid by American companies, which enables some doctors to earn up to $1 million a year from drug research, and investigating clinicians know all too well that if they don’t produce the desired data, the loss of future work is inevitable [61].

Thirteen of the world’s leading medical journals have recently (September 2001) mounted an outspoken attack on the rich and powerful drug companies, accusing them of distorting the results of scientific research for the sake of profits. The Lancet, the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association and other major journals accused the drug giants of using their money – or the threat of its removal – to tie up academic researchers with legal contracts so that they are unable to report freely and fairly on the results of drug trials [62].

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13. Pfizer’s theatre of philanthropy
In addition to the sponsorship of doctors, education, research, politicians, etc., Pfizer is keen to donate to charity. Pfizer even has a philanthropy home page and the company has set up its own charitable, ‘independent’ foundation, the Pfizer Foundation, Inc (www.pfizer.com/pfizerinc/philanthropy/) established by Pfizer in 1953. The Foundation’s mission is ‘to promote access to quality health care and education, to nurture innovation and to support the community involvement of Pfizer people’. In 2000, Pfizer Inc and the Pfizer Foundation donated more than $300 million (£204,6 million) in product and cash donations worldwide, making it, in its own words, ‘one of America’s most generous companies in the US.’

Given Pfizer’s criminal record, and all its serious and life-threatening consequences [Most appalling is probably Pfizer’s refusal to cut drug prices in poor countries and Pfizer’s aggressive efforts to safeguard its patents and pricing drugs out of reach of countless people] Pfizer’s donations to charity can only be labelled as a façade. Although some intentions and concerns might be sincere, and although Pfizer is (set alongside other companies) relatively generous, problems run so much deeper. And Pfizer knows it. But the fact remains that charity (preoccupation with profits and self-interest being cleverly masked up) is a good venue for brushing up the corporate image.

Besides, donations to charity are negligible in comparison to the amounts of money spent on other projects such as the 12 billion dollar business park (see below) or in comparison to Pfizer’s profits. (In the first half of 2001 Pfizer’s total revenue increased with 11% and equated $15.6 billion (£10,6 billion), its net income rose by 33%).[62]

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14. Twelve billion dollar Business park –PfizerWorld
On 23 April 2001 Pfizer announced that it would be building a 12 billion dollar (£8,2 billion) (!) theme park in central Florida. Funded by a consortium of Health Maintenance Organisations (HMOs) and government agencies, the park would serve as a vehicle to introduce and promote new drugs to the public. The announcement was made by the chief executive officer of Pfizer, Hank McKinnell, surrounded by such notables as chairman of HMO Kaiser Permanente David Lawrence, attorney general John Ashcroft, and vice president Dick Cheney.

Named PfizerWorld, the park will be comprised of a combination of rides, entertainment, and educational exhibits, geared at both adults and children. ‘It will be a collage of information and fun,’ McKinnell remarked. Ride names already proposed include The Gonococcal Caves and Heart Attack Mountain.

Also planned are a series of cute animal characters for the park, designed to excite children about science and health. With names such as Alan the Alcoholic Alligator and Diana the Diabetic Dog, each character would have a theme disease that would then serve as a bridge to information regarding a specific Pfizer product. ‘What better way to educate kids about Viagra than with Mo the Impotent Mouse?’ a Pfizer PR spokeswoman remarked. Pfizer has already contracted toy manufacturer Hasbro to release a series of PfizerWorld dolls and action figures to accompany the live characters.

McKinnell fended off early criticism that the park was merely an excessive advertising ploy. ‘Despite what one might be thinking, this is not an extravagant corporate ploy designed to trick the easily led masses into using our overpriced drugs despite the availability of cheaper, more effective alternatives. Our only interest is in educating the public. And if Pfizer gets a little free advertising along the way, well, of course we won’t complain.’

Also of some concern was the source of the 12 billion dollars needed to build PfizerWorld. One insider remarked, “Who do you think will be paying for this monstrosity? All those CEO’s and politicians? No no, that money is coming right out of the public’s pockets. This has to be the biggest racket this nation has seen since the JFK assassination, but all it’s going to take is one look at those huggable little animals and everyone will decide that they just don’t give a damn.”

Despite the visible presence of the Bush administration during the announcement, government officials and politicians were surprisingly tight-lipped. ‘My only comment on the issue is that both the president and I support any endeavor to teach young people about capitalism…wait…I mean about health’, Cheney remarked as he was hurried into the presidential helicopter [63].

Pfizer is scheduled to break ground on the project in about two months, with an estimated completion date of Spring 2003 [64].

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15. What Pfizer doesn’t tell you…

New London, Connecticut, US (2001)
Pfizer proudly told the people of New London that the company would play a big role in revitalizing New London. Pfizer had made a deal with some federal and state agencies in which Pfizer would build a global development facility on a brownfield on the bank of the river Thames. Pfizer also committed to returning a polluted, festering waterway called Bentley Creek to its original pristine condition. Not only was Pfizer going to build a 270,000-square-foot facility, but also it was to become the Pfizer Global Research and Development World Headquarters. More prestige and jobs for the people of New London…

This is what Pfizer said: ‘Our Central Research group is currently developing the former New London Mills site, a 22-acre abandoned industrial property. With assistance from the State of Connecticut, the City of New London, and the New London Development Corporation, we will transform the mill site into a new Pfizer research facility, which is expected to serve as a catalyst for additional development in downtown New London. The project resulted from a successful partnering between Pfizer and numerous federal and state agencies to negotiate solutions for site contamination, wetlands, coastal area management, storm water, and other environmental issues. Because of the economic confidence that our commitment has inspired, the State of Connecticut is providing funding to rejuvenate and remediate the surrounding area, along with state and local commitments to upgrade the nearby municipal wastewater treatment facility. Besides the tangible benefits of employment and tax revenues, we believe this redevelopment will bring inspiration, innovation, and new energy that will enrich the life of New London.’

Pfizer neglects to mention the following:

That they have received a 10 year tax abatement on their new Global Research Facility
That the majority of employees at their new facility will not be New London residents but current Pfizer employees
That the residents of New London may only hope to be employed in the cafeteria and janitorial sections of Pfizer
That Pfizer has been instrumental in attempting to destroy the Fort Trumbull neighborhood. According to Claire Gaudiani, outgoing president of Connecticut College and NLDC, on whose board George Milne, Jr sits, the destruction of this neighborhood is meant to complement Pfizer’s world class facility.
That George Milne, Jr. (head of Pfizer) has committed Pfizer to 100 rooms daily in a planned hotel [65].

16. Pfizer helps out Tobacco Industry
Pfizer and Boehringer Ingelheim are about to market a new treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD is a debilitating lung disease caused primarily by smoking. It kills three million people a year worldwide, is the fourth leading cause of death in the US, and the fifth-leading cause of death in the world.[66]

 


News from the Big Pharma Africa Lab

 

Who says Merck and GlaskoSmithKline don’t care? They just funded a major rotavirus vaccine trial in Malawi and South Africa to determine if two or three doses of their vaccine are more effective at preventing rotavirus infections than a placebo is. Clinical trials of this scale can’t be done in the US because, being an industrilaized nation, hardly anyone gets the gastro associated with rotavirus. But with hundreds of millions of dollars from health agencies on the line, it would be silly not to use Africans as their guinea pigs- you can only run so many trials on the military, after all.

First the transparency: “Dr. Madhi reports receiving lecture fees from GlaxoSmithKline and consulting fees from Merck; Dr. Cunliffe, receiving lecture fees and grant support from Sanofi Pasteur and GlaxoSmithKline; Dr. Gillard, owning shares in GlaxoSmithKline; and Dr. Han, owning shares in GlaxoSmithKline.”

Next, their results: “This study shows that a live, oral rotavirus vaccine significantly reduces the episodes of severe rotavirus gastroenteritis in African children during the first year of life.” Well, almost. NEJM generously supplied the full text of the article and its appendix, which allows us to discover that there were no significant differences between those children hospitalized who had been given either amount of vaccine and those given a placebo, and there were no significant differences in adverse events such as gastroenteritis (emphasis added), pneumonia, bronchopneumonia, a slightly higher rate of sepsis in the vaccinated group and, of course, vaccine-related adverse events. But there were less incidences of the babies’ bowels glueing themselves together in this trial than with the previous rotavirus vaccine, so the authors thought that was a plus.

Oh, and the death thing. There were no significant differences betweent the vaccinated group and the placebo group in the number of infants who died during the trial.

Almost forgot- there wasn’t a signifcant difference between giving the babies two and three doses.

A wonderfully enlighted passage of the paper points to why this trial wasn’t as successful as previous trials of the rotavirus vaccine around the world: “Several mechanisms have been proposed to explain why live oral rotavirus vaccines may not be as efficacious in populations of infants from low-income countries. Possible reasons include host characteristics, such as poor nutritional status and enteric coinfections; levels of antirotavirus antibodies in breast milk; and interference by maternal antibody or by coadministration of the oral poliovirus vaccine, which may reduce rotavirus antibody levels…”

Imagine that.

Shabir A. Madhi, M.D., Nigel A. Cunliffe, M.B., Ch.B., Ph.D., Duncan Steele, Ph.D., Desirée Witte, M.D., Mari Kirsten, M.D., Cheryl Louw, M.D., Bagrey Ngwira, M.D., John C. Victor, Ph.D., M.P.H., Paul H. Gillard, M.D., Brigitte B. Cheuvart, Ph.D., Htay H. Han, M.B., B.S., and Kathleen M. Neuzil, M.D., M.P.H. (2010). “Effect of Human Rotavirus Vaccine on Severe Diarrhea in African Infants.” New England Journal of Medicine 362(4): pages 289-298.

 


WHO swine flu advisors had links to drug companies

 

The World Health Organisation has come under fire for its handling of the recent global influenza pandemic.

A joint investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and the British Medical Journal (BMJ) has revealed that key scientists advising the WHO on pandemic influenza had financial links to the drug companies which stood to profit from the organisation’s decisions.

But, despite strict internal rules on conflicts of interest, the WHO did not declare these links. As a result, in part, of the WHO guidelines, billions were spent on antivirals, many of which now lie unused and nearing expiry.

The Bureau’s findings came as a Council of Europe report criticised the WHO for “grave shortcomings” in the “transparency of its decision-making processes” during the recent influenza pandemic, risking a “disastrous plummet in public confidence” when the next pandemic strikes.

Paul Flynn, MP and author of the report, raised concerns about the influence wielded by pharmaceutical companies over the WHO: an organisation designed to be independent.

“The role of the WHO is supreme,” he told the Bureau. “They’re the ones who declare the pandemic…all the countries in the world are listening to them and following their advice. If that advice is tainted by commercial needs, that advice is of no value.”

Pandemic preparations

In 2004, the WHO issued guidelines to countries on preparing for a major influenza pandemic. They predicted that the next pandemic would “be associated with a high death toll”, and urged nations to stockpile antivirals to treat the disease.

These antivirals were Tamiflu, produced by Roche, and Relenza, made by GlaxoSmithKline.

The guidelines were distributed throughout the world and prompted mass sales of the drugs: since 2004 orders of Tamiflu topped ten billion dollars, while sales of Relenza reached two billion dollars.

Sales peaked during last year’s swine flu outbreak, with over $2.7 billion being spent on Tamiflu alone.

Commercially influenced decisions?

The Bureau and BMJ can reveal that the three key scientists advising the WHO for their 2004 guidelines had, at that time, clear financial links to Roche and GlaxoSmithKline.

Despite risks of commercial influence, the scientists were engaged by the world health organisation to provide authority for the recommendations outlined in the guidelines.

In addition, the WHO did not declare any conflicts of interest.

Professors Frederick Hayden, Arnold Monto, and Karl Nicholson, who prepared the annexes for the guidelines, had been paid consultants and speakers for the companies.

Professor Hayden, a respected US virologist, produced a section on the benefits of antiviral drugs and the need for global stockpiles. But Hayden was receiving funds from Roche until late 2004.

In a press conference last year, he revealed: “I actually was an investigator and at one time a paid consultant for Roche and some other companies also including GSK and others that were involved in antiviral and drug or vaccine development.”

Professor Karl Nicholson, based at the University of Leicester, produced a section describing the potential dangers of pandemic flu.

In a 2003 academic paper, Nicholson declared previous funding from Roche and GSK. He had received consultancy and speaking fees, in addition to research funding, from both companies.

The third advisor, Professor Arnold Monto, of the University of Michigan, produced the section of the guidelines that discussed the need for, and difficulties in, producing vaccines.

But in 2004, the same year that the guidelines were produced, Monto declared a “professional relationship” with Roche.

WHO response

The WHO told the Bureau that a declaration of interest statement relating to its 2004 antiviral and vaccine guidelines had been taken.

Greg Hartl, WHO spokesman, emphasized that the WHO had procedures to ensure “robustness” of its guidelines, and that the organisation has a “personal commitment to transparency”.

But Director General Margaret Chan’s office has refused to release any details of the 2004 declarations that they say were taken. Hartl gave the explanation that: “We have to balance…the privacy of the individual versus the robustness of the guidelines.”

Critics were unconvinced. Sir Iain Chalmers, editor of the James Lind Initiative and medical expert, said:

“If I don’t understand what competing interests might have influenced the way that they came out, then it’s of no interest to me at all that Margaret Chan knows what they are. I need to know as the customer for her products. And her products are guidelines.”

Reporter: Dr Deborah Cohen (British Medical Journal). Producer: Phillip Carter. Editor: Andy Kemp, Researcher: Emma Slater, additional research: Adele Waters. Directed and filmed by Chris Woods. Executive Producer: Iain Overton

 


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