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Lawrence Solomon: Free the pharmaceutical market | Financial Post

Oct 31

Rolling back the government advantages given vaccines would level the R&D playing field and help end the drought in pharmaceutical breakthroughs
My comment:
 “… the government in 1986 had passed legislation absolving corporations of liability should a vaccine prove defective…. turning vaccines from risky, money-losing sidelines into often risk-free, government-guaranteed bread-and-butter products.” 
What this really means is that ever since 1986, pharmaceutical companies have had no real incentive to produce a truly safe vaccine.  Imagine an industry that produces a product that is required in order for children to attend school.  Then imagine that there is no liability for anyone involved in producing or administering the product.  This is pretty much what happened when the vaccine makers and doctors were indemnified against vaccine damage suits. 
Instead parents of a child injured by vaccines have to appeal to an arbitrary program most Americans have never heard of called the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.  Claimants are up against government lawyers defending the government’s vaccine schedule using government money.  Few people ever get their day in court, much less win their case. 
Those that do report that it took between 7 and 14 years to receive compensation. After the vaccine makers got a free pass on any responsibility for vaccine injury, the schedule of required vaccines more than tripled.   Currently, there are more then 270 vaccines at various stages of development.  The sky’s the limit with no end in sight.  In the U.S., the agency charged with approving, recommending and vigorously promoting vaccines, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is also in charge of vaccine safety.  In addition, it’s the place with hundreds of employees with conflict of interest waivers because of their direct financial ties to the industry they’re overseeing. 
The last head of the CDC, Dr. Julie Gerberding, a long time denier of any serious side effects from vaccines, left the CDC and her next job was head of the vaccine division at Merck.
We have the most vaccinated kids on the planet and some of the sickest.  We have skyrocketing rates of autism, learning disorders, seizure disorder, asthma, allergies, diabetes, sleep disorders, arthritis, bowel disease and more.  We have an open door policy between the regulatory agencies and the vaccine makers. 
The problem goes much deeper than just government control of industry.  It’s regulators under the control of the companies they’re supposed to oversee.

**Miami Herald: Paul Offit slams “the anti-vaccine faction”

Oct 31

…No word from Jenny McCarthy, the celebrity who started the anti-vaccine craze which, doctors say, led to outbreaks of whooping cough, measles, mumps and bacterial meningitis. “Still they (in the anti-vaccine faction) march on,” said Paul. A. Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Paul Offit was in both the LA Times and Miami Herald on the same day slamming parents who question vaccine safety. I posted five comments.  I’m not sure how long they’ll stay up.  I’m always amazing the we’re not allowed to consider that vaccines might possibly have side effects.

Indian doctors “appeal for mercury-free vaccines”

Oct 31

This is the second story on this from India that I’ve seen recently.  I can’t believe that all Indians aren’t furious over this horrible double standard. 
 
A deadly, untested neurotoxin has been removed from vaccines in developed countries to protect THOSE CHILDREN, while the poorest kids are still injected with this poison.  This isn’t  from a advocacy blog.  It’s from Moneylife and this is a finance magazine.  IT TALKS ABOUT DOCTORS WHO CHALLENGE THE ETHICS MERCURY USE AND IT CITES A PIECE IN THE INDIAN JOURNAL OF MEDICAL ETHICS. (A study by names very familiar to us. (Thimerosal as discrimination: vaccine disparity in the UN Minamata Convention on mercury | Sykes | Indian Journal of Medical Ethics)
 
The Moneylife Group consists of Moneylife, fortnightly personal finance magazine, a vibrant business and news website (www.moneylife.in) and a non-profit registered trust-Moneylife Foundation-to promote financial literacy and consumer and investor initiatives. These three organisations together empower individual to invest and spend wisely by offering hard facts, insightful opinions, unbiased options and useful tips. Moneylife, launched in March 2006 is driven primarily by the interests of customers and investors. This is evident in our long track record of reporting unbiased facts and opinion, innovative analysis and non-profit initiatives. Moneylife is among the most ethical media companies and is known for calling a spade a spade

Oct 31, 2014, Moneylife: Doctors appeal for mercury-free vaccines
 
The autism epidemic in the United States, starting in the 1980s, and the suspected link between autism and mercury in vaccines, led to the removal of most mercury containing vaccines in the West

Leading doctors have urgently called for an end to the use of mercury in vaccines to avoid potential threat to health of children.

“Continuing to use this potentially toxic substance, when there is little justification for it, will erode the trust of the public and endanger many public health initiatives,” warn Jacob Puliyel and Ritika Chhawchharia of the Department of Paediatrics at St Stephens Hospital in New Delhi. Their warning is published as a commentary in the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics. 

LA Times: Paul Offit at UCLA

Oct 31

I’d love to see a video of Offit’s talk.  The doctor from CHOP (or Merck) is teaching doctors how to convince parents that vaccines are safe and they should vaccinate every child according to the ever-expanding schedule. 
Of course the Times DOESN’T mention that he’s a de facto pharma rep who made millions from one of the shots on that schedule.  
And nothing is said about the problems with the one-size-fits-all schedule:
It’s never been tested for its cumulative effect.
Thimerosal in the flu shot (and others) was never tested AT ALL, neither was the aluminum additive.
 
And let’s not forget that doctors don’t have to worry about what vaccines might really be doing to children—they have no liability for vaccine injuries.  They can just dismiss anything that happens after a vaccination as coincidence.
Actually I’m waiting for a group of concerned physicians to get together to discuss the fact that we have the most vaccinated kids on the planet and some of the sickest.
Have they even noticed that their waiting rooms are filled with chronically ill children?  While doctors love to take credit for all the autism everywhere, claiming it’s thanks to their “better diagnosing,” they can’t tell us why today’s kids have life-threatening allergies, asthma, diabetes, bowel disease, sleep disorders, seizure disorder, continuous ear and respiratory problems, arthritis and more. 
We have become a nation of the chronically ill and disabled.  We seemed to have accepted the fact that kids today are not well.
Doctors learn to push back, gently, against anti-vaccination movement
Dr. Paul Offit, a University of Pennsylvania pediatrician and the nation’s most outspoken childhood vaccine proponent, had come to the UCLA lecture hall to subject several dozen physicians to a faux parental grilling. He wanted to give them the kind of pushback doctors have come to expect in affluent parts of Los Angeles and California, where increasing numbers of parents are refusing to inoculate their kids against contagious, even life-threatening diseases for fear of complications…. If Offit, a rock star in his field, could give these doctors more factual ammunition – and a little practice on their delivery – could they help convince resistant parents that science is simply not on their side?

***UK questions flu vaccine

Oct 30

While NHS in Britain is FOR THE FLU VACCINE FOR EVERY CHILD, 
In the autumn/winter of 2014/15 the annual nasal spray flu vaccine will be available for children aged two, three and four years old as part of the NHS childhood vaccination programme.
The vaccine will be offered routinely to all children aged two, three and four on September 1 2014. That is, children with a date of birth on or after September 2 2009 and on or before September 1 2012. In some parts of the country all primary school-aged children and secondary school-aged children in years seven and eight will also be offered the vaccine as part of a pilot programme. Over time, as the programme rolls out, potentially all children between the ages of two and 16 will be offered vaccination against flu each year with the nasal spray.
AND NATURALLY, SO IS THE BBC… BBC News: Nasal spray flu vaccine for all children rolled out in Wales

A nasal spray flu vaccine will be be offered to all children from the age of two to stop the disease spreading.

there are challenges….

Oct 30, 2014 The Scotsman:
The Scottish Government says vaccinating children is a “cost-effective” way of cutting flu cases in adults, but campaigners said the proposed flu vaccine, Fluenz, a weakened form of the live virus which is administered using a nasal spray, is in fact “a very effective way to spread flu“. They highlighted warnings from the makers that there is a chance the virus in the vaccine could cause infection if it was transmitted to someone who has a weak immune system. They also question why children’s health should be put at risk from vaccine side-effects, when children rarely suffer severe health problems from flu itself.
And wow!….look at what the UK Guardian has to say….  They site Dr. Tom Jefferson, and anyone who has ever looked into this, knows Jefferson is the top expert on the flu vaccine. 
The Guardian: Is the government wrong about giving children the nasal spray flu vaccine?
If you’ve had a doctor’s letter inviting your children to have a nasal-spray flu vaccine – are you going to say yes? The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation advises UK government departments on vaccination issues, and has a programme to vaccinate all children between the ages of two and 16, starting with the youngest….
I’m a big fan of vaccines and feel anxious questioning any of them. But the BMJ (where I work) has published papers questioning the quality of evidence for the benefits of the influenza vaccine, and whether industry-funded trials have reported “over-optimistic” results. I ask Tom Jefferson, the lead author of the Cochrane Review on Vaccines for Preventing Influenza in Healthy Children, which looked at findings from 75 studies, if I should give my four-and-a-half-year-old the nasal vaccine spray.
 

NYTimes: Another autism death in NY schools

Oct 30

Think about the way the media presents autism.  Every April we celebrate Autism Awareness Month and light everything up in blue.  There are no calls to prevent autism or cure autism.  Autism is now an accepted part of childhood.  The press also likes to show us autism light—kids eagerly interacting with speech therapists or climbing on playground equipment.  They’re usually happy and verbal and look like typical kids.  Maybe autism has always been around like this.  It doesn’t look so bad. 
The media loves to define autism as “a lack of communication skills and an inability at social interaction.”  We all know people like that–for sure.
So how do the severe ones figure in? Our schools are filled with teenagers in diapers, nonverbal students prone to bolting and who are a danger to themselves and to others.  It hasn’t always been like this.  In my little town of 14,000, the grade schools where I work with kids have ones so disabled that they have one-on-one aides all day.  Decades ago, when I started teaching, it was never like this.  Where were all these kids back then? 
And they’re getting older.  This is the same population we’ll have to provide for as adults for the rest of their lives.  The prospect don’t look good

Catherine Smith, the mother of Dyasha Smith, 21, said she had told her daughter’s school that her food had to be cut up for her. Credit Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

Student, 21, With Autism Dies After She Chokes at Brooklyn School

The investigator for the city schools is investigating the death of a 21-year-old student with autism who choked on a muffin at her school in Brooklyn at lunchtime on Tuesday.

The student, Dyasha Smith, was nonverbal and wore diapers, according to her mother, Catherine Smith, 70, who took Dyasha in as a foster child when she was 3 and later adopted her. She said her daughter was supposed to have full-time supervision on the bus and at her school, Star Academy in Cobble Hill.

She said she had told the school’s staff members that they needed to cut up her daughter’s food, because otherwise she would put too much in her mouth at once. “She will take a handful of something and put it in her throat and swallow it at once,” she said, adding, “She’s like a child, like a baby child.”

After a school safety agent called 911 at 12:11 p.m., paramedics were called to the school, where they found a nurse performing CPR, according to a Fire Department employee who insisted on anonymity because he had not been given permission to speak. It was not clear if anyone performed the Heimlich maneuver. She was declared dead at New York Methodist Hospital.

“If somebody was with this child, they could have been able to save her from choking,” Ms. Smith said, saying that she believed the school staff had been careless.

“This child went to school healthy,” she added.

It is the second time in a little over a year that the special commissioner of investigation for the school system has had to investigate the death of a student with autism. In October 2013, Avonte Oquendo, 14, slipped out an open door at his school in Queens, leading to months of searching.

Big news everywhere: It’s still GENETICS

Oct 30

Here is a sampling of the BIG STORY on autism.  Check out the headlines.  NPR and Newsweek come right out and say genes cause autism.  Others use the terms “contributing,” “linked” and “risks.”
Three years ago California researchers were saying that based on studies of twins, it was clear environment was the main link to the development of autism.
Study finds environment more important to predicting autism risk than genetics
According to a recent study by researchers at the UC-San Francisco and Stanford on autism in twins, environmental factors are more predictive of autism risk than genetic factors. The study found that environmental factors make up 62 percent of the risk of autism while genetics, originally thought to have been 90 percent, make up 38 percent.
Now with the theory of the strange, mutating genes that are not inherited, we’re back to genetics.  CNN does note that there are environmental triggers and the age of the dad is a factor. 
The findings could explain 30 percent of the autism out there.  We’re told 30, 60, or 100 genes are linked to autism depending on which headline you read.  (NBC News throws in a video from an older broadcast that reports on finding the signs of autism in infants.  Hint-hint, kids are born with autism, we just need to find it earlier.)
These stories have words like “amazing,” “incredible,” and “great” and there is no sense of urgency. 
According to TIME, the mutations “present spontaneously just before a child is conceived in either the sperm or egg.”  “Spontaneously” sounds like something falls out of the sky and just happens on its own.  The egg and sperm bit puts the blame back on mom and dad.  Add this to the studies linking autism to old moms, fat moms, moms who marry old dads, moms who drink, moms who smoke, moms who take antidepressants, moms who don’t get enough folic acid, moms who have babies too close together, moms who have C-sections, and of course, moms who live too close to freeways, and you can pretty much account for 100 percent of the autism out there. 

 No one is concerned about regressive autism.  Definitely something happened to a child who was happy, healthy, and talking one day and suddenly gets sick, stops making eye contact, stops talking, and disappears into autism.  In 2008, Dr. Bernadine Healy said we need to study these children.  No one wants to do that.  Instead, top scientists from 37 research institutions in nine countries have gotten together to blame bad genes once again.
NPR: Scientists Implicate More Than 100 Genes In Causing Autism

The hunt to find genes that cause autism has been a long slog, one hampered by a lack of technology and families willing to be tested. But those efforts are starting to pay off. On Tuesday, researchers at more than 50 laboratories said they had identified more than 100 genes that are mutated in children with autism, dozens more than were known before. These are mutations that crop up spontaneously, not ones that parents pass down to their children. At least 30 percent of autism cases are caused by these spontaneous mutations, according to researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory…. Because many of the mutations affect the same biological functions, it’s not like hundreds of different treatments would be needed. “If we have better genetic screening when a child is diagnosed with autism we might be able to say, here is the behavioral intervention they need,” Ronemus says. “We already know that if you intervene early on you can produce a more optimal outcome.”

TIME: Major Autism Studies Identify Dozens of Contributing Genes Both studies show through genomic sequencing that many of these mutations are de novo, meaning that parents do not have the gene mutation, but they present spontaneously just before a child is conceived in either the sperm or egg. It’s long been believed that autism is genetic, but a lack of large studies and advanced genomic sequencing has precluded any sort of consensus about what genes might be at play. But in the last couple years, scientists have been able to look at the genetic mutations in hundreds of people with autism and identify genes that likely factor into a child’s development of the disorder. In the two new studies, scientists were able to expand their work and look at thousands of people…. This kind of genetic research has been used to treat all kinds of disorders and diseases, State says, but before now had not been applied to psychiatric disorders.

CNN: Scientists link 60 genes to autism risk

Though other studies have shown the importance of genetics in the development of autism, experts say these new studies zero in on the exact nature of the genetic mutations that cause the disorder…
Further studies could determine what environmental factors cause those genes to mutate.

“This is going to begin to give us an opportunity to study the interactions between genes and environment,” State said. “The rate of new mutation increases with age, specifically fathers, because a lot of these mutations are in sperm.”

The genetic cards a child is dealt at birth play an important role in determining their risk of developing autism. Up until now, scientists have only been able to identify nine gene mutations linked to the disorder. But new research finds evidence that the number is in fact much higher.
The National Autistic Society said we were still “a long way” from knowing the cause of autism.
The study suggested a number of different risk factors for the condition, according to the lead author of the paper Prof Joseph Buxbaum, from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York. “The smoking gun is genetics – but there are quite a lot of different bullets in the gun,” said Prof Buxbaum…. “Up until now we’ve really not been able to understand the mechanisms that lead to autism,” he said. “This [study] is getting down to much finer detail.”… “However, we are still a long way from knowing what causes autism. What people with the condition, their families and carers need most of all, is access now to the right kind of support to be able to lead full lives,” she added.

Newsweek: Autism Could Be Caused By Genetic Mutations in Over 100 Genes, According to

Although genetics have long been thought to influence autism, researchers have struggled to concretely link individual genes with the condition, as many children who develop it have parents who did not.
 …And researchers say they are on their way to discovering up to 1,000 genes overall that may contribute to the disorder….
These discoveries could lead to tools offering more accurate diagnoses and new directions for therapies, they added.The findings also reveal how much more research needs to be done, said David Cutler, an assistant professor of genetics at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, and a co-author of the study.“These findings tell us that there are a relatively large number of genes that, when damaged, substantially increase an individual’s chance of developing autism,” Cutler said. “Autism does not have one cause, but a very, very large number of potential causes.”He said it has been difficult for researchers to uncover possible genetic and environmental causes of autism primarily because there are so many of them. “It is now beyond doubt that autism is usually caused by the combined effort of many small factors, both genetic and environmental,” he said.The researchers suspect that small changes in up to 1,000 genes interact to contribute to autism. Some of these changes are inherited while others, including most of the gene mutations identified in this study, occur for the first time when the sperm and egg merge.

ScienceDaily: Has there been a real increase in autism?

Oct 30

The very fact that anyone is still asking the question is proof of the abject disregard out there when it comes to autism.  There is ONLY THING THAT WILL MAKE AUTISM A NATIONAL ISSUE–THE COST. 
This is so elementary and obvious.  Notice that while health officials and doctors are still scratching their collective heads over the autism rate, ECONOMISTS are saying “at least part of the increase is real.”
They don’t say why, and after all, why should economists even care.
September 9, 2014, Science Daily: Economic study confirms growth in autism
The number of autism cases has soared over the past three decades, leading some to wonder if mental health professionals might be overdiagnosing the disorder.

Two economists who used market theory to study the trend in autism growth, however, have confirmed that at least part of the increase is real.

Researchers Jose Fernandez and Dhaval Dave analyzed the number and wages of auxiliary health providers based on California Department of Developmental Services data from 2002 to 2011. Each time autism cases doubled, the number of autism health providers grew by as much as 14 percent over that of non-autism health providers, they found.

The wages of autism health providers also rose higher, increasing up to 11 percent more.

“We focused on auxiliary providers because, unlike physicians and psychologists who can diagnose autism, these workers cannot induce their own demand,” Fernandez said.

The pair also found that although autism supplanted mental retardation in one of every three diagnoses during the period, actual autism cases still grew from 50 percent to 65 percent.

Fernandez is an economics associate professor

**Oct 29, 2014, Fox News: The Ebola vaccine: Are we there yet?

Oct 29

The GlaxoSmithKline vaccinewas designed using a chimpanzee adenovirus vector, a genetically engineered adenovirus that does not infect or reproduce itself in humans, Paul Offit, professor of pediatrics and infectious diseases at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and developer of rotavirus vaccine RotaTeq, told FoxNews.com. This gene codes for one of the proteins in Ebola that may trigger the virus, and it therefore prompts an immune response in the individual being vaccinated. This immune response is thought to protect the person from contracting the virus….

No mention of side effects, of course.  There never is.  No one cares, injuries would all be for the “greater good.”  Paul Offit is the go-to-guy, of course.

MSNBC: “On Jonas Salk’s birthday,”

Oct 28

“Anti-vaxxers continue to perpetuate the autism-link myth “

Of course. How dare they!

Here’s some added info on Jonas Salk and his vaccine:

“American scientist Jonas Salk came forward with a new idea to eliminate all three strains of polio. He would grow the live virus in a lab and then kill the virus and inject the dead virus into children. Being dead, they could not produce, but would create antibodies against the virus. Thus the immune system would be armed against polio.

“Bernice Eddy was a bacteriologist at the NIH (National Institute of Health) and was told to safety-test the new vaccine. What she found was that the virus in the vaccine was not dead but still alive and able to breed. When she tried it on her monkeys, they were paralyzed. She sent pictures and warned the NIH.

“Several prominent physicians stepped into the fray to state the vaccine was safe. One of these doctors was Dr. Alton Ochsner who was Dr. Mary Sherman’s boss. To demonstrate his faith in the vaccine, Dr. Ochsner inoculated his own grandchildren with it. The mass inoculation proceeded on schedule and within days children fell sick from polio, some crippled, and some died. Ochsner’s grandson died of polio and his granddaughter was crippled with it. The director of the NIH resigned, the Secretary of Health resigned, it was a huge failure by public health.”

 

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