And I’m the pharma shill?

One of the continuing accusations that the anti-vaccine groups and their members keep launching at me when I go and comment on a news article about vaccines is that I am being paid off by “Big Pharma”. They write that I “must” be a pharma shill because no one in their right mind, after googling like a mother[expletive], would say that vaccines are good. Oh, no, no, no. According to them, anyone with half a brain would have figured out the conspiracy and not believe in the science behind vaccines.

The biggest deity in the anti-vaccine movement is Andrew Wakefield. You may remember him as the British physician who did a “study” on the association of the MMR vaccine and gut disease in children with autism. He then attributed the autism on the gut disease and the gut disease on the MMR vaccine. This caused a scare in Europe that has “attenuated” the interest in MMR vaccination. As vaccine rates dropped, cases and outbreaks of measles in the whole of Europe have been on the rise. Well, the “study” — which was actually just a case series with a few kids involved — the “study” turned out to be an elaborate fraud.


CNN reported the fraud this way:

“An investigation published by the British medical journal BMJ concludes the study’s author, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, misrepresented or altered the medical histories of all 12 of the patients whose cases formed the basis of the 1998 study — and that there was “no doubt” Wakefield was responsible.
“It’s one thing to have a bad study, a study full of error, and for the authors then to admit that they made errors,” Fiona Godlee, BMJ’s editor-in-chief, told CNN. “But in this case, we have a very different picture of what seems to be a deliberate attempt to create an impression that there was a link by falsifying the data.”
Britain stripped Wakefield of his medical license in May. “Meanwhile, the damage to public health continues, fueled by unbalanced media reporting and an ineffective response from government, researchers, journals and the medical profession,” BMJ states in an editorial accompanying the work.”

As their deity, anti-vaccine individuals defended Wakefield the best way they know: RABIDLY.

One such rabid defender follows a vaccine advocate across state lines to ask the same tired, conspiracy-filled questions over and over:

“You said that Dr. Andrew Wakefield said that the MMR vaccine causes autism. He never said that actually. He said that the safety data to back up the MMR vaccine’s use was inadequate and seven years later the Cochrane Review basically came to that same conclusion. What do you have to say to that?”

You know, if you’re going to go through the trouble of finding out where your target is going to speak, missing class, jumping on a train, and then stand in line to ask a question, you might want to not ask such stupid questions. I really hope this kid’s research skills get better because the best he can do is hassle scientists at talks and see monsters under the bed.

See, Andrew Wakefield did indeed state many times that the MMR vaccine causes autism. Anti-vaccine advocates like to twist words around. Just because he didn’t say “MMR causes autism” doesn’t mean he didn’t say it, you know, without saying it. But perhaps the best bit of evidence that he said it is his own patent application for a measles vaccine. Oh, yes, dear reader(s), Mr. Wakefield applied for a patent for his own version of the vaccine he so vilified.

And his cult followers have the audacity to say that I’m the one with the conflict of interest?

In the application, Wakefield attributes what he calls “Regressive Behavioural Disorder” to the MMR vaccine. Now, what the hell do you think he means by “Regressive Behavioural Disorder”? Does he mean an ingrown toenail? No. A sore throat? No. No. No. He [expletive] means “AUTISM”.

Page 3, line 9:

“I have also found that regressive behavioural disorder (RBD) in children is associated with measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination.”

Let that sink in for a second.

Ah, all sunk in? Now, how will you respond next time someone says to you that Wakefield didn’t say that MMR causes autism? I hope you respond by waving this patent application in the face of the Wakefieldite. Because not only are they endangering public health by scaring people away from MMR immunization by citing a fraud of a “study”, they seem to be outright lying when they say that he didn’t say what he says right there in his own words.

Not only that, dear reader(s), Wakefield had a clear conflict of interest in publishing his “study”. The patent application above is from 1997. His paper in The Lancet was published in 1998. All this time, he knows that he has an interest in the MMR vaccine falling out of favor so that his vaccine can take over, and he and his proxies still have the audacity to say that he was doing this out of his desire to help children with autism? Really?

I’ll leave you with a bit of advice. You know how you’ll be able to recognize Wakefieldites when you see them? They’ll be the ones walking into the room with their testicles on a wheelbarrow… Because it takes a really big pair of brass ones to say what they say with a straight face in light of the evidence.

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9 thoughts on “And I’m the pharma shill?

  1. Thanks, Skewed. Are you going to take on the gene testing story? Because you know I don't like to step on your toes. I'd rather stand on the shoulders of giants.

  2. Lord Draconis Zeneca sometimes posts on another science blog to encourage us *Pharma Shills* and to notify us when our filthy lucre checks will be deposited in our off-shore banks.His lordship has been known to entertain *special requests*. I feel honored that my filthy lucre remuneration is in the form of Proof Krugerrands.

  3. I agree, thank you for the study. Yes, they'll spin it. Just watch, someone on that study will have links to big pharma, by the reasoning of the petulant little cub scout reporter.

  4. Anonymous, that notorious anti-vaccine website that I always refer to, should be *spinning* that study, right about now. I *predict* that their *science journalists* will be stating that vaccines given to the great-grandparents, caused genetic defects.Thanks for the link to that excellent study.

  5. Well I have been called a *Pharma Shill* and a *Pharma Whore*, as well. I post under one 'nym on many of the science blogs. I've been known to lurk over at that notorious anti-vax website, where the stalker details his exploits for the benefit of his sycophants. I've never posted there, because of the stalker's behaviors and because of their campaigns to silence science bloggers, by deluging emails directed at science bloggers' places of employment.Dr. Gupta is not high on their fecal roster; higher up on that roster are Anderson Cooper and other TV reporters. The numero uno slot is, of course, reserved for Brian Deer.This is a great article about what specifically Wakefield has stated publicly about the *link between MMR vaccine and autism*. Your locating and your screen shot of Wakefield's patent application is a gem. I'm still looking for the documents for the two off-shore companies that listed his wife as owners of the businesses. The first company was set up to develop a single antigen measles vaccine. The second company, which had investors, was to develop tests and to market those laboratory tests to diagnose "autistic enterocolitis".I refer to the Wakefieldites as "having bigger ones than a brass monkey".

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