If you are, like me, fully convinced that Big Pharma is doing everything to discredit so called “anti-vaxxers” or researchers critical about vaccines and aware of the side effects, you might still need good arguments every time you discuss the subject.
Unfortunately many people do not understand how this game works.
Why are pediatricians and doctors in general so sure that vaccines have almost no side effects? Why do they believe that vaccines have a positive impact on society and cause almost no harm?
Why? The answer is unfortunately obvious to all who are involved… it’s called conflicts of interest!
Nobody will bite the hand that feeds them!
Just read the following excerpts of a very well done article (link at the end) by Gayle DeLong.
“Conflicts of Interest in Vaccine Safety Research”
“Conflicts of interest (COls) cloud vaccine safety research. Sponsors of research have competing interests that may impede the objective study of vaccine side effects. Vaccine manufacturers, health officials, and medical journals may have financial and bureaucratic reasons for not wanting to acknowledge the risks of vaccines.
“Much research is sponsored by vaccine manufacturers and public health bodies, who have financial and bureaucratic interests that could impede the objective study of vaccine safety.”
“Such research is often disseminated by medical journals that have financial reasons to promote the views of the research sponsors.”
“Moreover, vaccine manufacturers do not face the threat of lawsuits that might motivate other industries to seek to improve safety. The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 protects vaccine companies in the United States from being sued.“
“The influence of industry is wide-spread: It affects individuals as well as institutions and study outcomes as well as research initiatives. In a survey of faculty at top U.S.medical research institutions, Tereskerz et al. (2009) found over two-thirds of researchers (338 out of 506) received some support from industry.
Studies show that the financial interests of researchers are positively associated with outcomes favorable to the sponsor in medical studies (Friedman and Richter, 2004; Jefferson et al., 2009; Yank et al., 2007). Not only individual researchers, but also research institutions can be influenced by industry sponsorships such as grants, endowed chairs, and other gifts (Tereskerz, 2003).
“Besides receiving research funds from industry, researchers are sometimes paid to put their names on articles they did not write.”
“… many vaccine manufacturers also produce prescription drugs. The user fees paid by drug manufacturers provide incentives for the FDA to be more friendly to the industry since it is dependent upon industry funding.“
“… Dr. Marie McCormick, then Chair of the Immunization Safety Review Committee of the laM, said (p, 33), “[The CDC] wants us to declare, well, these things [vaccines] are pretty safe on a population basis.”
Later in this planning discussion, Dr. McCormick decided (p. 97), “[W]eare not ever going to come down that [autism] is a true side effect [of vaccines] … “, thereby declaring a conclusion before the study was undertaken. In its final report, the raM stated that although a link between vaccines and autism was
possible theoretically, epidemiological studies favored no causal link and suggested funds be channeled to more promising areas of research (laM, 2004). Other researchers who receive grants from the CDC may also be leery of investigating problems their benefactor may have created.”
” Finally, officials at the CDC may see working for the government as a stepping stone to employment at a vaccine manufacturer. A year after leaving as director of CDC in 2009, Dr. Julie Gerberding took a position as president of Merck Vaccines. During her tenure as CDC director from 2002 to 2008, Dr. Gerberding supported the above-mentioned IOM study as well as other studies that concluded no link between vaccines and neurological disorders could be found (see CDC, 2010, for an overview of the studies).”
“Another former CDC employee, Dr. Thomas Verstraeten, began working for GlaxoSmithKline when he was in the process of completing a major study on the potential negative side effects of thimerosal at the CDC (Verstraeten, 2004); the study found no consistent significant associations between thimerosal and negative neurological outcomes (Verstraeten et aI., 2003).
“Members of Congress may be reluctant to sponsor research into vaccine safety for at least two reasons: contributions and prospects of future employment. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the pharmaceutical/health products industry spent over $2.3 billion between 1998 and 2011 to lobby elected officials and candidates, more than any other industry (CRP, 2011).
“Not only authors, but also journals themselves can be conflicted. Washington (2011) details the reliance of medical journals on advertising from pharmaceutical companies, which can account for up to 99% of a journal’s advertising revenue.”
“Although many parents report that vaccines have caused or are associated with autism, no research sponsor has launched a major investigation of the children who are alleged to have developed autism from vaccines.
One study found at least 83 vaccine-injured people who received compensation from the US. Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) had autism along with other disabilities (Holland et al., 2011).”
“Although authors of research articles are supposed to declare COls, authors do not always fully disclose important information. For example, the tobacco industry was adept at recruiting medical researchers to refute any link between smoking and cancer without having the researchers reveal their sources of the funding (Drope and Chapman, 2001).”
Conflicts of interest can influence the objectivity of vaccine safety researchers. Using the vaccine-autism debate as an illustration, this article describes the COls faced by various research sponsors. Vaccine manufacturers have financial motives and public health officials have bureaucratic reasons that might lead them to sponsor research that concludes vaccines are safe. Advocacy groups have members with legal and financial reasons to support studies that find adverse effects in vaccines. These conflicts do not mean the research is incorrect, but the research could be selective and biased.
Currently, most vaccine safety researchers face conflicts, which contribute to consumer confusion as well as more studies concerned with vaccine safety. Reported injuries from vaccines COls in Vaccine Safety Research 83 are not investigated and both the public as well as some health workers question vaccine safety research. Ameliorating the conflicts of interest–through bureaucratic restructuring and enforced transparency-could lead to less bias, more investigation into reported injuries and increased trust in vaccine safety research.”