The Bitter Pill

The Official Blog of UNITE – uniteforlife.org

Evelyn Pringle July 24, 2007

On July 27, 2007, Bush’s Big Pharma friendly CDC issued a press release clearly aimed at increasing the sale of SSRIs to pregnant women. “Use of certain antidepressants, selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors most commonly known as SSRIs, during pregnancy does not significantly increase the risk for most birth defects,” the CDC wrote.

The press release cited a new CDC study released in the New England Journal of Medicine and further stated, “a second study on SSRI and birth defects, also published in the June 28 issue of NEJM, did not find such an association with birth defects overall, but did find significant associations between specific SSRIs and several birth defects.”

Since the CDC put out the press release, hundreds of headlines have flooded the internet citing the new studies as proof that there is a low risk of birth defects with SSRI use during pregnancy, and the results of the studies have been reported as breaking health care news by every major media outlet in the US.

The pharmaceutical industry as a whole has spent a fortune buying influence in the media since 1997, when the government lifted restrictions on direct-to-consumer advertising.

In an article titled, Physicians and Bribery, published by News Target on July 7, 2005, Dani Veracty says the real story about prescription drugs is not being told because the drug makers are controlling the budgets of the major media companies by pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into TV, magazine, newspaper and online advertising.

“Because of this,” he states, “the media companies out there don’t want to say anything bad about these prescription drugs.”

In the July-August Columbia Journalism Review, contributing editor Judy Lieberman, reported that at the end of 2004, drug-company ad revenue for Time Magazine totaled $67 million; for Newsweek $43 million; and for The New York Times took in $13 million.

By 2004, she reported, advertising revenues for the five networks including CNN and Fox news was $1.5 billion.

The drugs in the NEJM studies included Prozac by Eli Lilly, Zoloft from Pfizer; Paxil by GlaxoSmithKline, Celexa and Lexapro from Forest Labs; Luvox by Solvay, Effexor by Wyeth, and generic SSRI makers include Barr Pharmaceuticals, Ranbaxy Labs and Genpharm.

Prior to the arrival SSRIs on the market, depression was estimated to affect only 100 people per million and patients with depression sought help from a medical professional trained in psychiatry and the treatment of disorder.

However, the rate of depression is now estimated to be in the range of 50,000 to 100,000 cases per million, or between a 500 to 1,000-fold increase, according to Jane Currie in the Marketization of Depression, in the May 2005 journal Women and Health Protection.

In April 2004, the CDC reported that antidepressants topped the list of drugs prescribed to women at visits to doctor’s offices and outpatient departments, followed by estrogens and progestins, antiarthritics, and medicines for acid/peptic disorders, in the Journal of Women’s Health.

By 2005, the CDC recently reported, antidepressants were the most prescribed drugs in the US during visits to doctors and hospitals and were prescribed far more often than even medications used to treat high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, and headaches.

Yet, a recent analysis of studies on the efficacy of 12 second-generation antidepressants including SSRIs and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), released on January 25, 2007, by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ), a division of the US Department of Health and Human Services, offers little support for the wide-spread use of these medications.

The AHRQ reviewed efficacy in treating major depressive disorder, dysthymia and subsyndromal depression (including minor depression), and also evaluated comparative efficacy for maintaining remission and for treating accompanying symptoms such as anxiety or insomnia or neurovegetative symptoms.

The review included 187 studies deemed to be of good or fair quality, including 89 head-to-head randomized controlled trials, 57 placebo-controlled randomized studies, with 126 of the studies sponsored by drug companies and 17 funded by government agencies or independent sources, and analyzed the effectiveness of Cymbalta, Wellbutrin, Effexor, Celexa, Lexapro, Prozac, Luvox, Remeron, Serzone, Paxil, Zoloft, and Desyrel, many of which are now also sold in generic form.

Overall the analysis found that in controlled studies, during 6 to 12 weeks of treatment, well over a third of the patients, or 38%, saw no improvement in their condition and 54% had only partial improvement and did not achieve remission.

In light of this clear lack of efficacy, it should be noted that as early as August 2004, the FDA label for SSRIs warned that “anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, akathisia (psychomotor restlessness), hypomania, and mania have been reported in adult and pediatric patients being treated with antidepressants for major depressive disorder as well as for other indications, both psychiatric and nonpsychiatric”

According to one of the world’s leading experts on SSRIs, Dr Peter Breggin, author of The Antidepressant Fact Book, “few physicians realize that meta-analyses have shown that antidepressants work no better than placebo at lifting depression.”

So in the case of pregnant women he says, “The risk/benefit ration weighs a placebo effect against increased parental suicide and violence, and babies with congenital defects, babies undergoing withdrawal reactions, and babies whose brains have been forever changed by being soaked in SSRIs during their development.”

Dr Breggin also notes that the NEMJ researchers failed to consider the serious withdrawal reaction in newborns and the potentially disastrous consequences of SSRI use by pregnant women. “Withdrawal reactions confirm that the brain of the fetus has been bathed in SSRIs and that it has suffered significant functional changes,” he warns.

“It should be no surprise that it is not good to bath the growing brain in toxic drugs like SSRIs,” he says, “because serotonin is intimately involved in the development of the brain in utero and SSRIs inhibit normal brain cell development.”

Experts say, SSRI use creates an unnecessary risk for fetus. Dr David Healy, another leading authority on SSRIs, and the author of “The Creation of Psychopharmacology,” and “The Antidepressant Era,” says, “the overwhelming majority of women who are prescribed SSRIs are at little or no risk for suicide or other adverse outcomes from their nervous state.”

He points out that every pregnant woman may have symptoms of depression such as anxiety, disturbed sleep, fatigue, or a loss of interest in sex. “But having depressive symptoms and being depressed are two different things,” he states.

Dr Healy also notes the lack of efficacy shown with SSRIs, and says the risks of the neonatal withdrawal syndrome and serious birth defects to the infant far outweigh any benefits of their use by expectant mothers.

Houston Attorney, Robert S Kwok, is outraged by the new campaign to promote the use of SSRI with pregnant women. “It’s ludicrous to think a woman is at greater risk of depression during her pregnancy and should take antidepressants despite the proven risk to her developing fetus,” he states, “yet physician “opinion leaders” with industry ties are actively trying to convince doctors and patients of just that.”

Mr Kwok represents the family of Gavin Shore, a baby born with a severe cardiac defect known as Shone’s Anomaly after his mother was prescribed the SSRI Celexa during pregnancy and says Gavin’s mother was not warned that taking an SSRI could double the risk of her baby being born with a severe heart defect.

Although some of the reports citing the NEMJ studies in media mentioned that Glaxo money was involved in funding the CDC study, most neglected to mention the financial contributions of the other drug companies for the study, or the steady stream of drug money that flows to the medical facilities and researchers involved in the studies.

When combined, the named universities, hospitals and researchers involved have received money from Lilly, Pfizer, Wyeth, Glaxo, Aventis, Sanofi Pasteur, and the 3 companies that make generic versions of SSRIs.

The CDC study lists Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital as participating and the Harvard Medical School receives nearly 25% of its funding from non-government sources, including nearly $3.5 million from Aventis Pharmaceuticals, $2.5 million from Bristol-Myers Squibb, and $2.1 million from Merck, according to an April 12, 2006 report in The Phoenix.

In addition, The Phoenix noted, SEC filings showed Harvard stock holdings of $16 million with Merck, $8 million of Bristol Myers Squibb, $34 million of Johnson & Johnson, and $33 million of Pfizer.

In one NEJM study, Dr Jan Friedman reported receiving honoraria for consulting from I3 Research, which is actually a huge conglomerate of “research” firms with names that begin with i3. The April 12, 2006 Phoenix reported that a firm called i3 Innovus, which co-authored 16 medical-journal articles in 2005, “provides integrated scientific strategies and solutions throughout the pharmaceutical product lifecycle.”

The Phoenix also noted that this i3 firm had a Boston office for its vice-president of US operations, Milton Weinstein, who also happened to be a professor at Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health.

The same group of industry backed research institutions credited in the NEJM CDC study, began the disinformation campaign to boost the sale of SSRIs to pregnant women more than a year ago when “experts” at Harvard and Mass General published a study to intentionally dilute the finding of a mounting number of studies that found serious birth defects to be associated with the use of the drugs by pregnant women.

In response to a study in the February 2006, New England Journal of Medicine that showed infants exposed to SSRIs in the womb were 6 times more likely to be born with the life-threatening lung disorder, persistent pulmonary hypertension, a study appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association the same month warning that stopping SSRIs could greatly increase the risk of pregnant women relapsing into depression.

On February 1, 2006, the Associated Press described the methods used by the Massachusetts gang when conducting the JAMA study and said researchers “followed 201 pregnant women with histories of major depression who were taking drugs such as Prozac, Zoloft, Effexor and Paxil.”

“Because of ethical concerns,” the article said, “the researchers did not randomly assign the women to either stop or continue medication.”

Instead, the AP reported, the women decided what to do and then the “researchers watched what happened.”

But the actual report on the study shows that of the 201 participants, 13 miscarried, 5 terminated their pregnancy, 12 were lost to follow-up prior to the end of pregnancy, and 8 chose to withdraw from the study.

So when reporting on the few pregnant women that remained, the study said mothers were 5 times more likely to suffer a relapse than those who continued taking the drugs.

However, a highly relevant finding rarely mentioned, in what turned out to be this wee little study, is that 26% of the women who remained on the drugs became depressed anyways.

The study authors noted that of the 82 women who continued antidepressant treatment throughout pregnancy, 21 or 26% relapsed. But there were only 65 women in the group that discontinued the drugs, so the results logically showed a higher rate of relapse when 45 became depressed.

Moreover, nearly 2 years before the study was published in JAMA, on January 13, 2004, the lead author, Dr Lee Cohen was quoted in the New York Times as saying about 75 to 80% of pregnant women who go off antidepressants will relapse during the pregnancy.

Six months after JAMA ran the study, the July 11, 2006 Wall Street Journal explained why the 13 “experts” might encourage pregnant women to keep taking SSRIs, in stating the lead author, Dr Cohen, who was a Harvard Medical School professor and director of the research program at Massachusetts General, was a longtime consultant to the 3 antidepressant makers, a paid speaker for 7, and his research work was funded by 4 drug companies.

In fact, the Journal reported, “the study and resulting television and newspaper reports of the research failed to note that most of the 13 authors are paid as consultants or lecturers by the makers of antidepressants,” and “the authors failed to disclose more than 60 different financial relationships with drug companies.”

And just like clock-work, the Cohen’s study was widely cited in other journals promoting the sale of SSRIs to pregnant women. “In summary, it seems clear that the risks of not receiving adequate antidepressant treatment thus far outweigh the risks of adverse events, not only in infants but in mothers as well,” wrote Dr Pierre Blier of the University of Ottawa in editorial in the Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, 2006;31(4):226-8.

“The population,” he warned, “should therefore learn to fear the illness more than the antidepressant.”

But as it turns out, Dr Blier conflicting interests included among others, being a consultant with Lilly, Forest Labs, Janssen, Wyeth and Sanofi-Aventis, and a contract employee with Forest Labs. He was also in the speaker’s bureau for Lilly, Forest Labs, and Wyeth, and received grant funding from Lilly, Forest Labs and Wyeth.

The JAMA study, along with a brief note from Dr Cohen himself, was also featured in the Spring 2006 issue of Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Women’s Health Newsletter, in a publication that downplayed the risk of just about all the birth defects discovered in recent years including heart birth defects and the infant withdrawal syndrome.

Since 1990, JAMA has required authors of studies to list all financial interests and has published the disclosures. In an online editorial in July 2006, JAMA editor, Dr Catherine DeAngelis announced her intention to enforce the policy in part by publicizing any author’s failure to follow the rules and specifically noted that 3 consecutive nondisclosures involved authors from Harvard Medical School and included Dr Cohen’s study.

On July 11, 2006, citing material promoting the events, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Massachusetts General psychiatry academy planned to conduct Continuing Medical Education seminars in a dozen cities across the US, with Dr Cohen overseeing a segment on the treatment of pregnant women with psychiatric disorders.

One of the funding sources for the seminars was revealed less than a year later on May 1, 2007, when the Journal reported the major recipients of the $11.8 million that Eli Lilly gave out during the first three months of 2007, and said the largest single grant “was $825,000 to Massachusetts General Hospital’s psychiatry department for a year-long educational program with more than 150,000 registrants.”

It should be noted that Lilly introduced the first SSRI, Prozac, in the late 1980s and its current best-selling antidepressant Cymbalta earned the company $1.3 billion in 2006.

The financial ties between the researchers and SSRI makers was brought to the attention of the JAMA editor by Dr Adam Urato and a letter from Dr Urato was also published in JAMA, stating that being the study dealt in part with the question of stopping antidepressants during pregnancy, the readers should be aware of the potential for pro-drug bias.

However, all that being said, the Cohen study is still being cited to promote the use of SSRIs with pregnant women, and as recently as April 26, 2007, in a paper by Dr Claudio Soares, director of Women’s Health Concerns Clinic, McMaster University, Ontario in Journal Watch Women’s Health, a publication put out by the NEJM.

“Results of a recent prospective study of pregnant women,” he wrote, “who were taking antidepressants at or near the time of conception demonstrated that women who opted to discontinue treatment during pregnancy were five times more likely to relapse than were those who stayed on treatment.”

“Despite the cautionary remarks commonly made by most regulatory agencies and medical societies about the use of psychotropic medications during pregnancy,” Dr Soares states, “considerable data supporting the efficacy and reproductive safety of antidepressants have accrued.”

“Conversely,” he warns, “evidence suggests that untreated depression has negative consequences for both mother and child.”

“In summary,” Dr Soares states, “clinicians should bear in mind the mounting evidence about the adverse effects of uncontrolled depression during pregnancy.”

But here too, Dr Urato, wrote a response to this obvious sales pitch objecting to the total lack of citations to studies that support the assertion that the risks of birth defects associated with SSRI are rare and that the benefits of SSRIs use to avoid relapse into depression outweigh the risks.

But most concerning, Dr Urato wrote, “is the complete lack of financial disclosure information to go along with the article.”

“As I was reading this piece,” he wrote, “I kept thinking to myself “‘Boy, this sounds like it was written by someone working for the antidepressant makers.’”

And sure enough, Dr Urato found that Dr Soares is on the Speaker’s Bureau for Forest Labs, Wyeth, Glaxo, and Pfizer and has received honoraria as a research consultant for Sepracor, Glaxo, Wyeth, and Neurocrine.

Mr Kwok is also highly critical of the increasingly common practice of using “opinion leaders” like Dr Soares to sell SSRIs to pregnant women, but states, “there will come a time when the drug manufacturers will have to face the music on SSRIs causing PPHN, and that time is coming soon.”

He says his firm has an abundance of new cases that prove it’s no coincidence that pregnant mothers on SSRIs have an increased likelihood of giving birth to babies with PPHN in families where there is no history of respiratory illness.

“Just yesterday,” Mr Kwok states, “I spoke to a mother who birthed a baby with a serious breathing disorder that requires regular use of a nebulizer, a device used to administer medication via liquid mist to the airways, commonly used in treating asthma and other respiratory diseases.”

“This young mother is now at risk of losing her job,” Mr Kwok reports, “since her infant requires full time care.”

He says doctors should be instructed to screen patients who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant and inform them of the risks of SSRIs to a developing fetus. “At least educate this “class” of women,” he says, “so they may make informed personal decisions.”

“Sure, the loss of this “class” may cost the drug manufacturers some profit,” he notes, “but it’s the right thing to do and it will save many families a lifetime of torture caring for a sick child like we see over and over again.”

The need to recapture pregnant women as customers is crucial for some SSRI makers. For instance, Forest Labs reported that Lexapro and Celexa accounted for 68% of the firm’s total sales for the year ending March 31, 2006, in its Annual Report filed with the SEC.

Back in May 2005, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh estimated that in any given year at least 80,000 pregnant women in US are prescribed SSRIs, in JAMA.

(This article is written as part of a series on Celexa related litigation and is sponsored by Robert Kwok & Associates, LLP)

Filed under: 2007, Birth Defects, Breggin, CDC, DTC, KOL, Kwok, SSRIs

CDC Leads SSRI Disinformation Media Blitz

Evelyn Pringle July 20, 2007

In a June 27, 2007 press release that made headlines all over the world the US Centers for Disease Control announced that birth defects associated with the use of antidepressants by pregnant women are rare. As proof for this claim, the CDC cited two new studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Over the following 2 weeks hundreds of stories magically appeared in newspapers with headlines splashed all over the internet and “medical experts” appeared live on all the major television networks to tout the new studies as major health “news” in a well-coordinated media blitz clearly aimed at promoting the sale of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressants (SSRIs) to pregnant women.

The well-coordinated blitz downplayed all the serious birth defects that have been reported in numerous studies over the past several years and all the warnings issued by the FDA over the past several years about the fetal harm known to be associated with the drugs.

The antidepressants included in the NEJM studies included Paxil by GlaxoSmithKline, Zoloft marketed by Pfizer; Prozac sold by Eli Lilly; Celexa and Lexapro by Forest Laboratories, Effexor marketed by Wyeth, Luvox by Solvay, and the generic makers of these drugs include Barr Pharmaceuticals, Ranbaxy Labs and Genpharm.

The public needs to know that the CDC study was funded in part by GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of Paxil, which carries the strongest FDA warnings about birth defects developing in infants exposed to the drug in the womb.

Experts point out that the hundreds of headlines failed to disclose the best kept secret about SSRIs – that the drugs do not work. “When tested in head-to-head competition it would take more space than a newspaper article will permit to explain how hard the researchers have to “work” to “prove” that these antidepressants work at all,” says SSRI expert, Dr Grace Jackson, author of “Rethinking Psychiatric Drugs: A Guide for Informed Consent.”

A fact also not mentioned in the headlines is that the studies were limited to women who took the drugs during the first trimester of pregnancy and the research consisted of mostly phone conversations that took place years ago with women who relied on their own memories without reviewing any medical records or actual pharmacy prescription data.

Most importantly, experts say, the researchers diluted the FDA warning about studies that found babies exposed to SSRIs after the 20th week of pregnancy, have a 6-fold increased risk of developing persistent pulmonary hypertension, a life-threatening lung disorder.

On July 19, 2006, the agency issued a Public Health Advisory and said, “the FDA has asked the sponsors of all SSRIs to change prescribing information to describe the potential risk for PPHN.”

The Advisory warned that: “Babies born with PPHN have abnormal blood flow through the heart and lungs and do not get enough oxygen to their bodies” and “Babies with PPHN can be very sick and may die.”

On October 16, 2006, the first PPHN related lawsuit was filed against Glaxo on behalf of the family of an infant born with the disorder after exposure to Paxil in the womb, by Attorney Karen Barth Menzies, a partner in the Baum Hedlund law firm and the leader of the firm’s Antidepressant Litigation Department.

According to Ms Menzies, “FDA regulations require Glaxo to issue stronger warnings whenever there is reasonable evidence of an association between a serious risk and Paxil.”

She points out that research indicated the risk of PPHN in a study published more than 10 years ago on October 3, 1996, in the New England Journal of Medicine, lead by Dr Christina Chambers of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of California-San Diego.

“FDA regulations specifically state that a causal link need not be proven and allow Glaxo to issue a new warning without prior FDA approval,” Ms Menzies notes.

She reports that infants born with PPHN often require mechanical assistance to breath but 10% to 20% of infants do not survive even when they receive treatment.

The PPHN babies that do survive often experience developmental delays, brain abnormalities and hearing loss, experts say.

The headlines about the NEJM studies in the media were also misleading because the researchers did find that Zoloft and Paxil were associated with “significant increases” in specific birth defects, and stated the “current study suggests that specific SSRIs may increase the risk of specific birth defects, and further studies will need sufficient power to pursue these important clinical questions.”

Heart birth defects in infants exposed to Paxil were found to occur 3 times more often and heart defects were 2 times higher in newborns exposed to Zoloft. The CDC researchers reported that by using an “embryologically based classification” of heart defects, “we found a doubling of the risk of septal defects” associated with Zoloft use, and “a tripling of the risk of right ventricular outflow tract obstruction defects” associated with Paxil.

The studies also found a nearly 6-fold rise in the risk of clubfoot in children of women who used Paxil and reported other birth defects including (1) anencephaly, (2) craniosynostosis; and (3) omphalocele.

Anencephaly, a neural tube defect where much of the brain does not develop, was found to be 2.4 times higher, and omphalocele, a condition in which the infant’s intestine or other abdominal organs protrude from the navel was 2.8 times more prevalent overall and 6.4 times higher with Paxil.

Craniosynostosis, an abnormality in which connections of the skull bones close prematurely, was found to be 2.5 times greater, and the neural tube defect, spina bifida, a condition where the spinal column does not completely close in the first month of pregnancy, was also noted.

Experts warn that far more infants will be born with birth defects in the coming years as a result of tens of thousands of infants being exposed to SSRIs in the womb every year.

In addition to birth defects, many other serious adverse events have been found to be associated with SSRIs over the past decade. Studies have shown the drugs to be linked to suicidality, violent and homicidal behavior, abnormal gastrointestinal and uterine bleeding, fertility problems, sexual dysfunction, a decrease in bone density, and a severe withdrawal syndrome in patients and infants born to mothers taking the drugs.

The risk associated with depression in pregnancy is suicidality. But one of the world’s leading authorities on SSRIs, Dr Peter Breggin, reports that SSRIs are known to increase the risks of suicide. “In fact,” he says, “the new FDA labels for antidepressants specifically warn about SSRI-induced suicidality in youth and in young adults, the very group most likely to become pregnant.”

“The SSRIs not only threaten to cause the death of the mother through suicide but the death of the child through lethal birth defects as well,” Dr Breggin advises.

As a direct result of the industry’s control over the mainstream media, the public is never properly warned about serious risks found to be associated with a drug because if the story gets told at all, it will only be in the news for a day or two, and then “medical experts” will suddenly show up on “news” programs for 2 or 3 days in a row to present what amounts to an infomercial to discount the risks reported in the study.

The industry’s control of the media began back in the late 1990s when the ban on direct-to-consumer advertising was lifted. Since then, the industry has invested so much money in advertising that all the media companies in the US are now dependent on drug money.

Due to this control, the industry paid shills are now dispatched on a regular basis to disseminate false information about the risks and benefits of a drug using the public airwaves even when an advertisement that contained the same bogus information would result in the sanction of a drug company for presenting false and misleading information to the public.

Drug companies basically bribe the medial journals to print their studies because the editors know the company will purchase thousands of copies for distribution to prescribing doctors, with full knowledge that most doctors will never read the whole study, but will remember the misleading headline because it was published in the “reputable” medical journal.

And Big Pharma funnels money to researchers in a variety of ways. Dr Marcia Angell, a nationally recognized authority on medical ethics and a former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, had this to say in a the NEJM in 2000, about the financial ties between the industry and researchers:

“The ties between clinical researchers and industry include not only grant supports, but also a host of other financial arrangements.

“Researchers also serve as consultants to companies whose products they are studying, join advisory boards and speakers bureaus, enter into patent and royalty arrangements, agree to be the listed authors of articles ghostwritten by interested companies, promote drugs and devices at company sponsored symposiums, and allow themselves to be plied with expensive gifts and trips to luxurious settings”

After a rigged study is planted in a medical journal, the next step in the marketing scam is to provide a favorable report on the findings, also ghost-written by the drug maker or a PR firm, in a press release that is sent out to all the major news outlets which guarantees that headlines about the results will appear all over the world.

From there, the company uses the media to plant feature stories to reinforce the headline of the press release and in many cases, the news articles will quote the information verbatim from the drug maker’s press release.

In the final act, the media provides the company with a platform for the “medical experts” to reach consumers to tout the new study on all the major networks in “news” segments which in turn sends patients running to their doctors with news of the miraculous new findings and demanding a prescription for the drug.

In the book, “Trust Us We’re Experts,” by Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber, the authors document the many techniques used by PR firms hired to pump out propaganda through the press and refer to the mainstream media as the “disinfotainment industry.”

They report that the psychiatric manipulation industry is enormous and pays out about $10 billion a year to propaganda experts and that about 40% of all stories in the media are planted by PR firms.

Because most news stories on radio and TV are nothing more than a rehashing of stories published in newspapers, the book notes, the news Americans receive every day amounts to nothing but propaganda.

The success of the media backed campaign to sell SSRIs to pregnant women by discounting the years of studies showing serious harm to the fetus is clear evidence that “disinfotainment industry” is still paying high dividends to all shareholders in the US.

Filed under: 2007, Baum, Birth Defects, Breggin, CDC, KOL, Paxil, PPHN, SSRIs

Lawmakers Sever Ties Between CDC and Big Pharma

Evelyn Pringle August 21, 2006

In the wake of overhauling the FDA, lawmakers are also cracking down on conflicts of interest within the Centers for Disease Control.

Last month, Representatives, Dr Dave Weldon (R-FL), and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), held a press conference to announce the introduction of a bill that would give responsibility for vaccine safety to an independent agency within the Department of Health and Human Services, and remove most vaccine safety research from the CDC.

Specifically, they said on July 26, 2006, the “Vaccine Safety and Public Confidence Assurance Act of 2006,” will create an independent office to address, investigate, and head off potential safety problems like the use of mercury in vaccines, in an objective and non-conflicted office whose sole purpose is vaccine safety and evaluation.

According to Dr Weldon in a prepared statement, Federal agencies charged with overseeing vaccine safety research have failed. They have failed to provide sufficient resources for vaccine safety research. They have failed to fund extramural research and they have failed to free themselves from conflicts of interest that serve to undermine public confidence in the safety of vaccines, he said.

“The American public deserves better,” Dr Weldon stated, “and increasingly parents and the public at large are demanding better.”

“There’s an enormous inherent conflict of interest within the CDC,” he said, “and if we fail to move vaccine safety to a separate independent office, safety issues will remain a low priority and public confidence in vaccines will continue to erode.”

He said that similar conflicts have been remedied in other federal agencies, but in the vaccine program the conflicts persist unchecked. “This bill will provide the independence necessary,” Dr Weldon said, “to ensure that vaccine safety research is robust, unbiased, and broadly accepted by the public at large.”

“Vaccines do wonders for public health, but when the government requires them, it must also ensure that they’re safe,” Ms Maloney said in her statement. “We need adequate, unbiased research on vaccines, and this legislation would deliver that.”

She applauded Dr Weldon for his tremendous commitment and leadership on the issue. “He is truly dedicated,” she said, “to protecting our children and the public at large.”

While announcing the new bill, Dr Weldon and Ms Maloney were joined by several groups advocating vaccine safety reform, including the National Autism Association, A-Champs, and safeMINDS.

According to the National Autism Association: “This landmark legislation will provide critical government agency oversight and implementation of vaccine safety research, which has not kept pace with the rise in the number of vaccines routinely prescribed to consumers including pregnant women and young children.”

Additionally, the Act calls for $80 million in funding to conduct vaccine analysis and safety research.

Currently the CDC oversees vaccine research, safety and promotion, a situation that has been drawing more and more public criticism in recent years. The CDC compiles the list of vaccines that doctors are to give all children in the US, based on the recommendations of an advisory panel, and in many states kids can not attend day care or public schools unless they have received the CDC-endorsed vaccines.

A recommendation by the CDC guarantees a huge market for a vaccine and enables the drug company to use the government as a marketing device for its product. The annual global market for vaccines is expected to be over $10 billion this year.

On July 21, 2003, United Press International published a report based on a four-month investigation that found a pattern of problems linked to vaccines recommended by the CDC, as well as a web of close ties between the agency’s advisory panel and the pharmaceutical industry.

By investigating members of an advisory panel of outside experts that make vaccine recommendations, UPI found that members of the panel received money from vaccine makers through relationships that included: sharing a vaccine patent; owning stock in a vaccine company; payments for research; money to monitor vaccine testing; and funding for academic departments.

In fact, according to UPI, the CDC itself is in the vaccine business. Under a 1980 law, UPI found the CDC had 28 licensing agreements with drug companies and one university for vaccines or vaccine-related products and eight ongoing projects to collaborate on new vaccines.

For instance, the CDC and SmithKline Beecham worked together on the Lyme-disease vaccine. A 1992 CDC activity report, obtained by UPI, says the agency had an agreement “with SmithKline Beecham that currently funds three positions at (the CDC) for the purpose of providing information of use in developing advanced test methods and vaccine candidates.”

In June 2001, the General Accounting Office delivered a report on the issue to Senator Chris Dodd, (D-Conn), that noted that CDC employees “are listed on two Lyme-disease related patents” including “a 1993 joint patent between CDC and SmithKline Beecham Corporation.” The report also said that six of 12 consultants working for the CDC on Lyme vaccines “reported at least one interest related to a vaccine firm.”

According to CDC meeting transcripts where the committee weighed its recommendation, 3 had conflicts of interest with SmithKlineBeecham. The LYMERIX lyme-disease vaccine was approved by the CDC on February 18, 1999, and by October of 2000, more than 1.4 million people had received the vaccine.

But 18 months later, according to UPI, in February 2002, SmithKline Beecham pulled the vaccine off the market claiming that sales of LYMERIX were insufficient to justify the continued investment. However, according to UPI, the company also faced hundreds of lawsuits by people who said they suffered side effects from the vaccines.

The government’s database at the time, listed possible side effects from LYMERIX as 640 emergency room visits, 34 life-threatening reactions, 77 hospitalizations, 198 disabilities and six deaths after people took the shots since the CDC endorsed it, according to UPI.

UPI also found other cases where vaccines endorsed by the panel were pulled off the market after a number of people suffered devastating side effects, and some died.

Congressman Dan Burton, (R-Ind), had already been investigating the advisory panel for several years, and told UPI that the conflicts of interest were a major problem. “This presents a real paradox,” he said, “when the CDC routinely allows scientists with blatant conflicts of interest to serve on influential advisory committees that make recommendations on new vaccines, as well as policy matters.”

“All the while these same scientists,” Representative Burton said, “have financial ties, academic affiliations, and other vested interests in the products and companies for which they are supposed to be providing unbiased oversight.”

An August 2001 report on the investigation by Rep Burton’s House Government Reform Committee, stated that “four out of eight CDC advisory committee members who voted to approve guidelines for the rotavirus vaccine in June 1998 had financial ties to pharmaceutical companies that were developing different versions of the vaccine.”

Critic say the conflicts of interest of Dr Paul Offit while sitting on the advisory panel could not be more blatant. He was part of the team that mandated the use of the RotaVirus vaccine, even though he received a $350,000 grant from Merck to develop the vaccine, shared the patent, and was paid to go around the country teaching doctors that vaccines were safe, according to the Wall Street Journal.

UPI discovered that Merck also had bought and distributed copies of a book written by Dr Offit titled, “What Every Parent Should Know About Vaccines,” to physicians with a Dear Doctor letter that stated:”Merck Vaccine Division is pleased to present you with a copy of the recent publication, ‘What Every Parent Should Know About Vaccines.’”

“The authors designed the book,” Merck’s letter told doctors, “to answer questions parents have about vaccines and to dispel misinformation about vaccines that sometimes appears in the public media.”

The book had a list price of $14.95, and Dr Offit told UPI that he did not know how many copies Merck had purchased.

In 2001, Congressman Burton’s investigation also found conflicts of interest with the then chairman of the advisory panel, Dr John Modlin, a Professor at Dartmouth Medical School, who owned $26,000 worth of Merck stock.

In a phone interview in 2003, Dr Modlin told UPI that he had sold the Merck stock, but that he had recently agreed to chair a committee to oversee Merck vaccine clinical trials.

“Meeting transcripts over the past decade,” UPI says, “showed that at some meetings, half of the members present had potential conflicts with vaccine manufacturers.”

For instance, at a June 2002 meeting, four of the 11 members on the panel acknowledged conflicts with Wyeth, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Pfizer, Aventis Pasteur, and Bayer. Two of the four conducted research or vaccine trials and one member was a co-holder of a patent.

The agency is currently facing a major credibility crisis over the issue of whether vaccines containing the mercury-based preservative, thimerosal, are responsible for the epidemic of neurological disorders ranging from ADHD to autism in children all across the country.

The CDC is being accused of research manipulation and cover-ups of vaccine maker culpability by an ever increasing number of activist groups and is also facing tough questions from some of the powerful members of Congress, both Republicans and Democrats alike.

The CDC continues to claim that there is no evidence to support a connection between the epidemic and thimerosal, which they say is no longer used in most pediatric vaccines.

It is however, included in the flu vaccine currently recommended for all pregnant women and children more than 6 months old.

Earlier this year, a group of lawmakers initiated a new investigation of the matter and basically directed the CDC to butt out. On February 22, 2006, they stated in a letter: “If the federal government is going to have a study whose results will be broadly accepted, such a study cannot be led by the CDC,” in a letter to Dr David Schwartz, Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

The letter was signed by Senators, Joe Lieberman (D-Conn) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich), and members of the House Representatives including, Dr Dave Weldon, (R-Fla) Chris Smith, (R-NJ), Carolyn Maloney, (D-NY), Dan Burton, (R-Ind), Joseph Crowley, (D-NY), and Maurice Hinchey, (D-NY).

The Institute of Environmental Health Sciences is part of the National Institutes of Health, and was asked to convene a panel to decide how to analyze the CDC database to determine whether autism rates have dropped since thimerosal was removed from most vaccines.

The controversy picked up traction in April, “National Autism Month,” when world renowned heavy metal experts, researchers, and physicians traveled to Washington and rallied on Capital Hill moving the debate beyond just the parents of autistic children.

This spring, a full-page ad appeared in USA Today, the most widely-circulated newspaper in the US, and accused the CDC of “causing an epidemic of autism” by recommending that kids receive a series of vaccinations that contained thimerosal at least as late as 2001.

The ad quoted one of the most recent and famous advocates to join the cause, environmental lawyer, Robert F Kennedy Jr, as saying: “It’s time for the CDC to come clean with the American public.”

The ad was funded by a coalition of advocacy groups led by Generation Rescue, and directed readers to the web site, http://www.PutChildren First.org, to view internal CDC documents, many of which were obtained under the FOIA, that includes transcripts of meetings and e-mails that the groups contend support their allegations of a CDC cover-up.

Congressman Weldon has a theory about why the CDC continues the charade of denying the link between vaccines and autism. “If it is eventually determined that an entire generation of kids was essentially poisoned,” he says, “a class-action suit against the federal government could be on the order of hundreds of billions of dollars, and so there’s very good reason for them to try to cover this up.”

And Dr Weldon’s prediction is proving true. Vaccine injury lawsuits are being filed and won against the vaccine makers and the government. Implemented in 1988, the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, established a mandatory, federally administered no-fault claims process for individuals who allege that they were harmed by the administration of childhood vaccines.

The vaccine compensation fund was created to supposedly ensure an adequate supply of vaccines, and to stabilize vaccine costs. A small fee charged on each vaccines funds the program. According to statistics on the vaccine compensation web site, in fiscal year 2006, a total of $38.2 million has been paid out in cases involving 47 awards.

In what is reported to be one of the largest settlements ever, in July 2006, a quadriplegic boy was awarded $43.1 million. The case alleged that now 7-year-old, Mario Rodriguez, became a quadriplegic after receiving a measles, mumps and rubella vaccine on January. 25, 2000.

Under the guidelines of the vaccine compensation fund program, the lawsuit was filed against the Department of Health and Human Services. Kansas City attorney, Leland Dempsey, who represented the child, told the Kansas City Star: “One unusual aspect of the case is that Mario is expected to have a normal lifespan, and therefore will require more years of care that will cost more money.”

“He will need round-the-clock care, including extensive medical intervention, throughout his life,” Mr Dempsey said.

Many other vaccine related lawsuits have been filed against drug makers. For instance, Eli Lilly, the company that invented thimerosal back in the 1930s, informed its shareholders in its 2005 Annual Report filed with the SEC on April 1, 2006: “We have been named as a defendant in approximately 340 actions in the U.S., involving approximately 1,020 claimants, brought in various state courts and federal district courts on behalf of children with autism or other neurological disorders.”

Lilly also stated, we believe that “the majority of the cases should not be prosecuted in the courts in which they have been brought because the underlying claims are subject to the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986.”

Under the Act, claims must first be brought before the US Court of Claims for an award determination under the guidelines established by the Act. However, as Lilly points out in its filing, “Claimants who are unsatisfied with their awards under the Act may reject the award and seek traditional judicial remedies.”

Filed under: 2006, autism, CDC, CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, GAO, Offit, prices, rotavirus, thimerosal, vaccines

Profit Driven Swine Flu Propaganda – Pump Up the Volume Part 1

Evelyn Pringle October 2009

For Natural News

The pharmaceutical industry, with public health officials and the mainstream media acting as a mass marketing team, is about to pull off the biggest profiteering scheme in the history of the world. The swine flu hoax, perpetrated on a global level, will generate unheard of profits from a non-existent pandemic.

The Obama administration declared the spread of swine flu a public health emergency on April 26, 2009. The Associated Press reported that “Swine flu is now formally a pandemic, a declaration by U.N. health officials that will speed vaccine production and spur government spending to combat the first global flu epidemic in 41 years,” on June 11, 2009.

“WHO chief Dr. Margaret Chan made the long-awaited declaration after the U.N. agency held an emergency meeting with flu experts and said she was moving to phase 6 — the agency’s highest alert level — which means a pandemic is under way,” the AP advised.

Since the “highest alert” warning was issued, the only estimation that has turned out to be true is that the drug companies are experiencing a windfall of tax dollars pouring into their coffers.

The US government “has committed $1.8 billion to companies to make a swine flu vaccine,” Reuters reported on September 30, 2009, in an article with the headline, “Big pharma jumps back into flu business.”

“Three big U.S. pharmaceutical companies announced vaccine deals this week,” Reuters noted, for companies that included Johnson & Johnson, Abbott Laboratories and Merck.

“Abbott Labs bought a Belgian drug business, along with its flu vaccine facilities, for $6.6 billion. Johnson & Johnson invested $444 million in a Dutch biotech firm (Crucell) that makes and develops flu vaccines. Merck which already makes vaccines for shingles and other diseases, struck a deal to distribute flu shots made by Australian CSL,” ABC News reported on October 14, 2009

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

Dr Robert Belshe, director of Saint Louis University’s Center for Vaccine Development, told Reuters that the US is on the verge of recommending that all citizens get a flu shot. “We’re at 270 million people who should get vaccinated. It’s a big market. I think manufacturers are just now catching up,” he said.

“The vaccine market is booming. It’s an enormous growth area for pharmaceuticals at a time when other areas are not doing so well,” Bruce Carlson, a spokesperson for the market research firm Kalorama, told ABC News.

On October 1, 2009, under the headline, “Vical shares soar on Navy’s H1N1 contract,” Fierce Vaccines advised that: “Anyone doubting just how hot H1N1 news is right now should check out Vical’s stock price this morning.”

“The developer announced a modest $1.3 million contract with the Navy to fund the manufacturing and testing of its swine flu vaccine and the company’s stock shot up 22 percent,” the report said.

On September 29, 2009, Reuters noted that the H1N1 flu pandemic is not “the first flu outbreak to have lifted the shares of small vaccine makers.”

“The H5N1 bird flu scare that began in 2005 fueled a similar rise,” the reports said. “And the media statements issued by companies then are similar to many of those issued today.”

“In May 2006, Vical, for example, announced that its bird flu vaccine protected mice and ferrets against H5N1,” Reuters recalled.

“This year, it said its H1N1 pandemic flu vaccine protected rabbits and mice. The news sent its shares soaring,” the report noted.

Vaccine Makers Fund Studies

On September 10, 2009, MedPage Today ran the headline: “H1N1 Vaccines Safe, Immunogenic in Single Dose”.

“Two investigational vaccines against the pandemic H1N1 flu appear to be safe and to yield a robust immune response with a single dose,” MedPage reported.

“Those findings,” it said, “contained in two preliminary reports published online today in the New England Journal of Medicine — are reassuring, experts said.”

The first report is from an Australian study supported by CSL and the Department of Health and Aging of the Australian government. “All authors report being employees of CSL and several report having an equity interest in the company,” according to MedPage.

The second report is from a British study supported by University Hospitals Leicester and Novartis. Study leader, Dr Iain Stephenson, “reported financial links with Novartis Vaccines, Sanofi Pasteur, Baxter Vaccines, Hoffmann–La Roche, and GlaxoSmithKline,” MedPage noted.

Profits Galore

On September 21, 2009, Reuters reported that the United States had ordered 222 million doses of H1N1 vaccine from five drug makers that include GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi-Pasteur, Australia’s CSL, AstraZeneca’s MedImmune division and Novartis.

CSL has contracts to supply $180 million worth of bulk antigen to the US. Sanofi-Pasteur is providing more than 100 million doses to the US, in a $690 million order.

On September 25, 2009, MedImmune said it has “received a federal order for 29 million more doses of its nasal H1N1 flu vaccine, bringing its total order to more than 40 million doses, with a value of about $453 million,” according to Gazette.net.

Seeking Alpha reported on August 24, 2009, that the “Swiss company Novartis received an order for $346 million for antigen and $343.8 million for adjuvant totalling $690 million in July.”

The most recent estimates have GlaxoSmithKline “reaping some $4.8 billion from the pandemic, between its Pandemrix vaccine, its Relenza antiviral drug, and other products such as antiviral face masks and flu diagnostics,” Fierce Pharma reported on October 9, 2009.

On June 11, 2009, Kalorama Information issued a press release with the headline, “New Report Forecasts More Than Doubling of Vaccine Sales by 2013.”

The new report titled, “Vaccines 2009: World Market Analysis, Key Players, and Critical Trends in a Fast-Changing Industry,” forecasts the market “to more than double by 2013 due to a strong pipeline of new products and rising usage of current products around the world,” Kalorama wrote.

In the press release, Kalorama described 2008 as another “stellar year for the world vaccine market,” in which sales “grew 21.5% since 2007 to reach $19.2 billion.”

“Few areas of pharmaceuticals have seen the fast-moving developments in the marketplace that the vaccine market has,” Kalorama noted.

Antiviral Drug Hype

On October 15, 2009, the Financial Times ran the headline: “Tamiflu boosts Roche sales figures,” and reported that sales figures “were boosted by bumper demand for Tamiflu amid persistent fears about a global flu pandemic.”

Tamiflu sales of $1.9 billion in the first nine months were more than four times ahead of the same period last year and third quarter sales figures were “nearly 10 times more than in the same period last year.”

On July 22, 2009, Business Week reported that GlaxoSmithKline “expects to increase annual production of its inhalable anti-viral flu treatment Relenza threefold, to 190 million doses, by year end.”

“Relenza sales for the three months ended June 30 were $99 million, up from just $5 million in the second quarter of 2008,” the report noted.

The price of Tamiflu at a middle dose at DrugStore.com on August 26, 2009, was $93 for a packet of ten 75mg capsules. One inhaler of Relenza costs $64 at DrugStore.com.

Any good that will come from the swine flu propaganda campaign will accumulate solely with the profits of pharmaceutical industry.

Filed under: 2009, autism, CDC, drugging children, flu, front groups, Natural News, prices, vaccines, WHO

Profit Drive Swine Flu Propaganda – Pump Up the Volume – Part 2

Evelyn Pringle October 2009

Back on May 9, 2009, Robin Robinson, a director at the Department of Health and Human Services who oversees pandemic responses, told the Washington Post that even as officials take steps to develop a swine flu vaccine with sufficient doses for every “man, woman and child,” those plans would be dialed back if the pandemic “fizzles out.”

The pandemic has fizzled out but the gravy train toward vaccine profits is still rolling. On September 16, 2009, Reuters reported that the death rate from the pandemic H1N1 swine flu was likely lower than earlier estimates.

“Barring any changes in the virus, I think we can say we are in a category 1 pandemic. This has not become clear until fairly recently,” said Dr Marc Lipsitch of Harvard, an expert in infectious diseases, told a meeting of flu experts convened by the US Institute of Medicine.

“The news is certainly better than it was in May and even better than it was at the beginning of August,” he noted.

The US government’s Pandemic Severity Index has five categories, with a category 1 comparable to a seasonal flu epidemic. Seasonal flu has a death rate of less than 0.1 percent, Reuters reports. A category 5 would compare to the 1918 flu pandemic, which had an estimated death rate of 2% or more.

Lipsitch gathered information on how many people had reported influenza-like illness around the world, which may or may not actually be influenza; government reports of actual hospitalizations and confirmed deaths, and “came up with a range of mortality from swine flu from 0.007 percent to 0.045 percent,” Reuters advises.

Having new information about how many people were infected and did not become severely ill or die makes the pandemic look very mild, Lipsitch said.

Minimal Swine Flu Deaths

The CIA World Factbook estimates the world population to be close to 6. 8 billion and the US population a little over 307 million. At the beginning of the swine flu propaganda campaign, it was predicted that the strength of the pandemic could be measured by watching statistics from the Southern Hemisphere, where flu season runs from May to September, the southern autumn and winter months.

The Southern Hemisphere holds between 10 and 12% of the world’s population, meaning the Southern Hemisphere population would be roughly 760 million people, at 11% of the world’s total.

According to population numbers for 2008 from Nation Master.com, and statistics from the FluCount.org website, the total number of swine flu deaths, as of September 30, 2009, was only 2,386, for thirteen countries in the Southern Hemisphere, and three countries that are mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a total population of 628.3 million people who would have received no vaccine against the swine flu.

India’s population of approximately 1.17 billion people amounts to about one-sixth of the world’s population, according to the World Factbook. As of October 11, 2009, India’s swine flu death toll was a mere 385, according to the Times of India.

On October 6, 2009, the Associated Press reported that the “CDC doesn’t have an exact count of swine flu deaths and hospitalizations, but existing reports suggest the infection has caused more than 600 deaths and more than 9,000 hospitalizations since the virus was first identified in April.”

But yet the article further notes that “U.S. health authorities hope to give swine flu vaccinations to more than half the 300 million-plus population in just a few months.”

The first swine death in the army, the largest military branch with 552,425 soldiers, did not occur until September 10, 2009, according to the Associated Press on October 1, 2009. It was reported to be the only death among the 1.4 million men and women in uniform at that time.

Yet all military personnel are required to receive the new swine flu vaccine. “The Pentagon has bought 2.7 million doses of vaccine, and 1.4 million of those will go to active-duty military personnel,” the AP reported on September 29, 2009.

“National Guard troops on active duty are also required to receive the vaccine, as are civilian Defense Department employees who are in critical jobs,” the article noted.

In 2007, people under 20 years of age made up 27.6% of the US population, according to the US Census Bureau, meaning roughly 82.8 million people were under 20. At the end of September, the CDC was reporting only 76 deaths from swine flu among children in the US.

Dr Anne Schuchat, director of the agency’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters that the number of pediatric deaths ranged from 46 to 88 during the past three flu seasons, which is hard to reckon with the fact that the CDC is always claiming that 36,000 people die of the seasonal flu each year in the US.

But then experts say the CDC’s 36,000 flu death statistic, echoed by the media each year, is greatly distorted. In a 2006 paper in the “Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons,} Dr David Ayoub and Dr F Edward Yazbak report that a review of the mortality data from the CDC’s National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) reveals “these estimates are grossly exaggerated.”

The NVSS reports preliminary mortality statistics and distinguishes between influenza-related deaths and pneumonia-related mortality, they explain.

“When the final report is issued, influenza mortalities are combined with the far more frequent pneumonia deaths, yielding an exaggerated representation of “influenza” deaths,” they report.

“Pneumonia related mortality due to immunosuppression, AIDS, malnutrition, and a variety of other predisposing medical conditions is therefore combined with seasonal influenza deaths,” the doctors point out.

“The actual influenza related deaths for the years 1997 to 2002 ranged from 257 to 1,765 annually,” they advise.

“These values are further overestimated by combining deaths from laboratory-confirmed influenza infections with cases lacking laboratory confirmation,” they say. “There were fewer than 100 annual cases of viral-confirmed deaths during this same period.”

“Deaths occurring in women of reproductive ages were rare, approximately one per year,” they note.

On the CDC’s main flu page they state that about 36,000 people die from the flu in the US each year. But if you search a little harder, he says, you find the actual number of people who died from the flu in 2005 was 1,805, the most recent data available.

“In 2004, there were just 1,100 actual flu deaths,” Dr Mercola reports on his website.

“The statistics the CDC gives are skewed partly because they classify those dying from pneumonia as dying from the flu, which is inaccurate,” he says.

As of October 2, 2009, the World Health Organization was reporting only 4,108 swine flue deaths globally, five months into the pandemic, without any vaccines.

To put these numbers in perspective, consider that in 2005, more than 43,000 people died in motor vehicle accidents in the US, according to the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Risks Outweigh Benefits

Studies also show flu vaccines do not work, and especially with children. On May 19, 2009, researchers at the International Conference of the American Thoracic Society in San Diego, presented a study that found children who received the trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine [TIV] had a three times greater risk of hospitalization for the flu than kids who were not vaccinated.

To determine whether the flu vaccine was effective in reducing the number of hospitalizations over consecutive flu seasons for 8 years, the researchers conducted a study of 263 children between the ages of 6 months and 18, evaluated at the Mayo Clinic between 1996 and 2006, with laboratory-confirmed influenza and reviewed records to determine which kids had received a flu shot before the illness and hospitalization.

According to the study, not only did the vaccine not prevent the flu, the children who received it got sicker than those who did not. Which means that for the 8 year period studied, health insurance companies, government programs and parents paid the cost of useless vaccines, doctors office calls and three times more flu-related hospitalizations, with the children suffering the harshest consequences.

On the “Healthy Skepticism” website, in a September 21, 2009 paper titled, “In the Face of Swine Flu, Common Sense and Science,” Juan Gérvas, Honorary Professor, Public Health, School of Medicine, Autonomous University, in Madrid, Spain, reports that the “seasonal flu vaccine is relatively ineffective in children and adolescents, with a success rate of 33%, and is absolutely useless for children under 2 years.”

“There are doubts about how effective it is in preventing flu in adults and the elderly,” he added.

“We don’t know anything about the effectiveness and safety of the swine flu vaccine which is ready to be marketed,” Professor Gervas points out.

On April 29, 2008, Psychorg.com ran the headline, “Flu shot does not reduce risk of death,” and reported that the “widely-held perception that the influenza vaccination reduces overall mortality risk in the elderly does not withstand careful scrutiny,” according to researchers in Alberta, Canada.

The study, published in the September, 2008, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, a publication of the American Thoracic Society, included more than 700 matched elderly subjects, half of whom had taken the vaccine and half of whom had not.

“After controlling for a wealth of variables that were largely not considered or simply not available in previous studies that reported the mortality benefit, the researchers concluded that any such benefit ‘if present at all, was very small and statistically non-significant and may simply be a healthy-user artifact that they were unable to identify.’,” the report said.

“Over the last two decades in the United Sates, even while vaccination rates among the elderly have increased from 15 to 65 percent, there has been no commensurate decrease in hospital admissions or all-cause mortality,” said Dean Eurich, PhD, clinical epidemiologist and assistant professor at the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta.

“Further, only about 10 percent of winter-time deaths in the United States are attributable to influenza, thus to suggest that the vaccine can reduce 50 percent of deaths from all causes is implausible in our opinion,” he advised.

On May 2, 2006, the National Post reported that, “Canada’s first experiment in universal, free flu vaccine has cost Ontario taxpayers more than $200-million, but appears to have done nothing to cut the spread of influenza,” a new study suggests.

“The Ontario initiative, the world’s first universal flu campaign, distributes about five million vaccine doses a year at a current cost of $50- to $55-million, including promotion,” the Post said, citing the Health Ministry.

The highly publicized offer of free flu shots to all 12 million Ontarians was launched in 2000 to try to ease pressure on emergency wards from flu patients, and cut the incidence and severity of the illness, the Post noted.

“Per-capita flu rates in the province have not fallen at all since the program was introduced in 2000, concluded the University of Ottawa research, published in the journal Vaccine,” the Post reported.

“In fact,” the Post said, “the average monthly incidence of the virus jumped over the first five years of the program, though researchers say it is too early to say that numbers are really on the rise.”

“All we do know is rates haven’t decreased, and there has been a lot of money spent,” said Dianne Groll, the University of Ottawa professor who led the study. “The program was designed to reduce the incidence of flu, and this hasn’t yet happened.”

Dr Groll looked at the number of cases of laboratory-diagnosed flu reported to Health Canada between 1990 and 2005, and found that the rate between 1990 and 2000, when the program started, was 109 per 100,000 Ontarians. Since the launch of the campaign, “it jumped to 164.” the Post said.

It’s worth noting that the study also found the Ontario flu rates did not change relative to other provinces.

Filed under: 2009, autism, CDC, drugging children, flu, front groups, thimerosal, vaccines, WHO

Profit Driven Swine Flu Propaganda – Pump Up the Volume Part 3

Evelyn Pringle October 2009

Public health officials now say they have quit keeping tabs on swine flu deaths because it is too difficult. A more likely explanation is that fear mongering would be impossible if they continued to announce the low rates of swine flu deaths and vaccine profits would take a nose dive.

“It’s absurd to panic about swine flu, especially since it won’t cause severe disease in many people,” says Juan Gérvas, Honorary Professor, Public Health, School of Medicine, Autonomous University in Madrid, Spain, in the September 21, 2009 paper titled, “In the Face of Swine Flu, Common Sense and Science,” on the Healthy Skepticism website.

“The current WHO messages, which are increasing fear of swine flu is a form of disease mongering,” he warns.

“We need a health policy of common sense and self-control,” Professor Gérvas advises.

“The present messages by Governments, the WHO and the media focusing on the worst case scenario and the detailed description of each death is the completely wrong approach,” he says.

On July 21, 2009, Spiegel Online interviewed epidemiologist, Dr Tom Jefferson, who has worked for the Cochrane Collaboration, an international team of scientists, for 15 years.

“Sometimes you get the feeling that there is whole industry almost waiting for a pandemic to occur,” Jefferson said.

He then listed the WHO, public health officials, virologists and the pharmaceutical companies. “They’ve built this machine around the impending pandemic,” he said. “And there’s a lot of money involved, and influence, and careers, and entire institutions!”

“And all it took was one of these influenza viruses to mutate to start the machine grinding,” Jefferson pointed out.

“It’s true that influenza viruses are unpredictable, so it does call for a certain degree of caution,” he advised.

“But one of the extraordinary features of this influenza — and the whole influenza saga,” he said, “is that there are some people who make predictions year after year, and they get worse and worse.”

“None of them so far have come about, and these people are still there making these predictions,” he pointed out.

“For example,” he asked, “what happened with the bird flu, which was supposed to kill us all?”

“Nothing,” he said. “But that doesn’t stop these people from always making their predictions.”

Big Pharma Bonanza

On August 13, 2009, Dr Joseph Mercola, author of “The Great Bird Flu Hoax,” explained how swine flu vaccine makers were set to profit by $50 billion.

“According to Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), vaccine makers could produce nearly FIVE BILLION pandemic flu shots per year in the best-case scenario,” he wrote.

“And according to Business Week, wealthier countries like the U.S. and the U.K. will pay just under $10 per dose, while developing countries would pay less,” he said. “If these facts hold true, Big Pharma stands to gain up to $49 billion a year on the swine flu vaccine alone.”

As of 2009, “there has been no funding of a compensation program for children or adults injured or killed by vaccines or drugs used under an EUA (Emergency Use Authorization),” according to the National Vaccine Information Center.

In March 2008, Roche and Glaxo added new labels to Tamiflu and Relenza to warn of abnormal psychiatric behavior in some patients.

The drug makers said the revisions reflected recommendations made in November 2007 by an FDA advisory panel that reviewed the cases, which have been seen mostly in Japan.

“At that meeting, FDA staff described reports of about 700 cases of psychiatric adverse events for both drugs and 25 pediatric deaths from various causes in patients taking Tamiflu, reported to the agency through May 2007. No fatalities were reported for Relenza,” the Guardian reported on March 4, 2008.

On August 10, 2009, the Financial Times reported that the “medicine now being widely handed out by the government for treating pandemic flu offers only modest benefit in children and adults in seasonal outbreaks of the virus,” according to British researchers.

In an article in the British Medical Journal, a group led by Matthew Thompson at Oxford University said use in children under 13 of Tamiflu or Relenza reduced the duration of flu symptoms by an average of 12 to 36 hours with no decline in asthma or the need for antibiotics.

The authors concluded that the drugs “provide a small benefit by shortening the duration of illness in children with seasonal influenza and reducing household transmission”.

“The findings came after a separate article published last week in Lancet Infectious Diseases, by researchers led by Jane Burch at the University of York, concluded that otherwise healthy adults showed a reduction in symptoms of just over half a day earlier when taking the drugs,” the Gardian pointed out.

On August 20, 2009, The Indepedent reported that the Oxford researchers said children should not be given Tamiflu or Releza to combat swine flu.

They warned that Tamiflu could cause vomiting in some children, which could lead to dehydration and the need for hospital treatment.

Overall, “the researchers said, children who were otherwise healthy could suffer more harm than benefit from taking Tamiflu or another anti-viral, Relenza,” the Independent advised.

Study co-author, Dr Carl Heneghan, a clinical lecturer at Oxford, said the current policy of giving Tamiflu for mild illness was an “inappropriate strategy”.

Dr Heneghan said the only benefit found in the study was that children were back to normal half a day to one day earlier if taking Tamiflu or Relenza.

“The downside of the harms outweigh the one-day reduction in symptomatic benefits,” he advised

“And he warned that widespread use of Tamiflu could result in the flu becoming resistant to the drug,” the Independent reported.

Although the children in the studies analyzed were being treated for normal seasonal flu, Dr Thompson said the findings would extend to the current swine flu pandemic.

“I don’t think we have got any reason to think our results would be any different,” he told the Independent.

“The current swine flu is generally a mild flu illness…it does not seem that different from current seasonal flu,” he said. “We would be happy to say our results apply to the current swine flu strain.”

The research published in the BMJ “follows two recent studies which found that more than half of children taking Tamiflu suffered side-effects such as nausea, insomnia and nightmares,” the Independent reported.

Tamiflu was banned by the Japanese ministry in 2007 for use with 10- to 19-year-olds.

1976 Swine Flu Replay

As a kick-off to the 1976 swine flu propaganda campaign, Salon Magazine reports that in February 1976, F David Mathews, Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare told Americans:

“There is evidence there will be a major flu epidemic this coming fall. The indication is that we will see a return of the 1918 flu virus that is the most virulent form of the flu. In 1918 a half million Americans died. The projections are that this virus will kill one million Americans in 1976.”

On March 24, 1976, President Gerald Ford asked Congress to appropriate $135 million “for the production of sufficient vaccine to inoculate every man, woman, and child in the United States.”

“I am directing the Secretary of HEW David Mathews, and Assistant Secretary, Dr. Cooper, to develop plans that would make this vaccine available to all Americans during the 3-month period from September to November of this year,” he said.

“I am asking each and every American to make certain he or she receives an inoculation this fall,” Ford added.

“The reaction to the shot, I am told, may mean a few sore arms for a day or two–a very small price to pay for this vital protection,” he advised.

The swine flu vaccination program began on October 1, 1976. Ten weeks later, after more than 40 million people were vaccinated, the government halted the program on December 16, 1976, due to the high number of severe adverse events occurring with the vaccine.

“The federal government ultimately reached court settlements and paid more than $90 million to hundreds of victims who said the 1976 vaccine caused neurological problems,” according to a May 9, 2009 report in the Washington Post.

This time around, the Department of Health and Human Services “plans to eventually vaccinate at least 160 million people by December, with pregnant women, healthcare workers, children and young adults at the front of the line,” Reuters reported on August 24, 2009.

Filed under: 2009, autism, CDC, drugging children, flu, front groups, vaccines, WHO

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Matthew Schultz killed by Effexor. Two hours old.

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  • I haven't been on in awhile thanks to all those who followed 3 years ago
  • @LindsayRush yay IOWA! 4 years ago
  • Another rainy day here in IOWA. Well at least i had a good time swimmin yesterday. 4 years ago
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The Indiana Star

Christiane Schultz

  • Is not coping well at all. Loss sucks! 4 years ago
  • is scared to bond with this baby, just in case. 4 years ago
  • Happy 6 months today baby. I love you Matthew. 4 years ago
  • Living with loss, sucks. 4 years ago
  • Thinking I need to discuss plans for this baby soon or I will be having it in my doctors office. Where do I deliver? 5 years ago

Amery Schultz

Seeking Parents in Missouri for Celexa / Lexapro Class Action – Call 800-827-0087

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  • Untitled
    Originally posted on The Bitter Pill:Kickstarter is a website for artists to use to raise money and complete awesome projects. The best thing to come to the informed consent movement since Thomas Szasz could just be the new, upcoming film by Dan Jenski, “ADDicted” which basically gives Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta and the like a…
  • Untitled
    Originally posted on The Bitter Pill:In the studies submitted to the FDA for approving Zoloft (a drug that has killed numerous families, babies, mothers, children), the drug maker covered up the fact that Zoloft failed to outperform placebo, according to a new consumer fraud lawsuit filed by the firms Baum, Hedlund Aristei & Goldman…
  • Antidepressants Again Linked to Preterm Birth & Seizures
    In what was more than likely originally an attempt to prove that depression causes birth complications, researchers from Yale, Tufts, et al found in two new studies that antidepressants increase the risk of preterm birth and seizures. Read more at this link on the newly redesigned UNITE website.
  • Who Could Do This On Purpose
    Read this blog to find out
  • Canadian Regulation on Fetal Exposure to Psychotropic Drugs – Public Input Needed
    Canadian Regulation on Fetal Exposure to Psychotropic Drugs – Public Input Needed (Cross-Posted on The Bitter Pill blog) Amery and Christiane Schultz have been asked to provide input on proposed recommendations regarding psychotropic drugs in pregnancy in Canada. Amery & Christiane are hard-working activists affiliated with UNITE and MADNAP. Please send […]

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