House of Commons, Health Committee The Influence of the Pharmaceutical Industry, 2004
Public relations is particularly important during times of bad publicity, especially when the safety of brands is called into question. Considerable resources are invested into building long-term, sustainable relationships with stakeholders and ‘key opinion leaders’ and journalists. These relationships are used to promote the use of certain brands and counter concerns relating to safety. Efforts to undermine critical voices in particular were identified, under terms of “issues management”. In later evidence, in response to the ISM’s memorandum, Pfizer stated that PR is entirely legitimate and can “help to educate and inform”. According to the PMCPA, PR activities may include “placing articles in the lay press, TV documentaries, soap operas etc”.
William Thompson MD is a Senior Scientist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Last month, Dr. Thompson revealed that he and his coauthors omitted statistically significant information in their 2004 article published in the journal Pediatrics. The omitted data suggested that African American males who received the MMR vaccine before age 36 months were at increased risk for autism.
Since then, the CDC and manufacturers have been in damage control, deploying pharmaceutical propagandists to attack critics and minimize the social implications of his disclosures. OMSJ hopes that this timeline (initially drafted/posted by HealthChoice) will inform concerned parents across the world to the gross misconduct and acquiescence of the CDC and their complicit employees.
8/8/14 – Dr. Brian Hooker publishes an article in the journal Translational Neurodegeneration entitled Measles-mumps-rubella vaccination timing and autism among young african american boys: a reanalysis of CDC data. The paper concludes that a second look at the data used in the 2002 CDC MMR/autism study Age at first measles-mumps-rubella vaccination in children with autism and school-matched control subjects: a population-based study in metropolitan Atlanta, finds that there is a significant association between giving the MMR vaccine to black males under the age of 3 and the development of autism. This association was not reported in the initial CDC study.
(This report was initially written by HealthChoice. Additional facts were added by OMSJ on or after 8 September.)
8/18/14 – A video is released on the internet with audio purported to be discussions between Dr. Brian Hooker and CDC senior research scientist and one of the original MMR paper’s authors, Dr. William Thompson. The video claims that Thompson told Hooker in phone conversations that the research team found the association between vaccines and autism, and then changed the parameters of the study to get rid of the association, so they would not have to report it to the public. In the audio Thompson expresses great shame and remorse for “lying” and for going along with what the “higher-ups wanted.” The autism and vaccine injury communities were outraged at the disclosure, and discussions on the matter began to flood the blogesphere and appear on social media under #CDCwhistleblower. More quotes by Thompson are released on the internet. A sample of the Thompson quotes:
Oh my God, I did not believe that we did what we did, but we did. It’s all there… This is the lowest point in my career, that I went along with that paper. I have great shame now when I meet families of kids with autism, because I have been part of the problem. We’ve missed ten years of research because the CDC is so paralyzed right now by anything related to autism. They’re not doing what they should be doing because they’re afraid to look for things that might be associated.
8/25/14 – CDC releases a statement on their web site confirming that the study parameters were changed and that there were two sets of children studied. One was all the children initially recruited for the study, the other was a subset of children who had Georgia birth certificates. The statement also confirmed that a higher association was found between MMR and autism in children given the vaccine before the age of 3.
8/27/14 – Dr. William Thompson releases a statement through his whistleblower attorneys confirming the claims made about him and about the paper. He expresses regret that he and his colleagues omitted statistically significant data on vaccine/autism risk, he confirms that it was he on the audio speaking to Dr. Hooker on the phone, and he states that he is providing information to Congressman Bill Posey and will continue to cooperate with Congress on the matter.
8/27/14 – The Journal Translational Neurodegeneration removes the Hooker article from its web site with the following statement, “This article has been removed from the public domain pending further investigation because the journal and publisher believe that its continued availability could cause public harm. Definitive editorial action will be taken once our investigation is complete.” The Journal then fell under criticism from members of the public who claimed that Translational Neurodegeneration did not follow its own research review policies in removing the article.
8/29/14 – More audio of Thompson is released in a video in which he discusses the firm belief inside the CDC that mercury in vaccines can cause tics, and should never be given to pregnant women. It includes Thompson saying that, “There is biologic plausibility right now to say that, Thimerosal causes autism-like features.”
8/28/14 – Reporter Sharyl Attkisson investigates the story and reports that, “A spokesman for the journal Pediatrics today said the publication stands by the study despite the news. “There’s a standard process that journals follow when an article is questioned,” said the spokesman. “Those discussions took place between the editors of Pediatrics and the authors of this study, and the editors concluded the research was appropriately conducted.” Pediatrics is published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which accepts vaccine industry funding.” Further, Attkisson reports that, “The Director of the CDC Immunization Safety Office, Dr. Frank DeStefano, is a co-author of the now-questioned study which has been widely-cited to dispel an MMR-autism link. DeStefano is frequently quoted as an expert who debunks vaccine-autism ties. I stand by the research and the conclusions in our 2004 paper, and I’ll reiterate that the evidence, thus far, the weight of the evidence, is against a causal association between vaccines and autism,” DeStefano told me in a telephone interview this week.
8/29/14 – Sharyl Attkisson issues a second report on the story, this time reporting that, “In a statement, Thompson implies his CDC employer and colleagues have not always been forthright with the public about vaccine safety issues. But DeStefano argues their final analysis produced more valid results.” Attkisson also includes the complete audio with her interview with DeStefano, which includes his statement that, “at 36 months, an exposure around that time period is just not biologically plausible to have a causal association with autism.”
9/2/14 – Atkisson issues a third report, highlighting a seeming reversal from DeStephano “biologically implausible” stance and an admission that they are not looking for cases where vaccines can or have caused autism: “A coauthor of the questioned study is Dr. Frank DeStefano, Director of the CDC Immunization Safety Office. In a telephone interview last week, DeStefano defended the study and reiterated the commonly accepted position that there’s no “causal” link between vaccines and autism. But he acknowledged the prospect that vaccines might rarely trigger autism. I guess, that, that is a possibility,” said DeStefano. “It’s hard to predict who those children might be, but certainly, individual cases can be studied to look at those possibilities.” DeStefano is the head of the CDC Immunization Safety Office, so it would have been his job to look for cases of vaccine induced autism. This facts seems lost on DeStefano.
9/4/14 – The “ScienceBlog” posted this story to raise questions about the report. ScienceBlog was created in 2006 by the Seed Media Group (Seed), a “social marketing” (e.g. propaganda, also called “public relations”) website, which is contracted to respond to and control public perceptions of corruption scandals among client organizations. Seed’s involvement belies deep concern about this legitimate scandal. Seed’s legal disclaimer speaks for itself:
(ScienceBlog is) not responsible if information made available on this site is not accurate, complete or current. The material on this site is provided for general information only and should not be relied upon or used as the sole basis for making decisions without consulting primary, more accurate, more complete or more timely sources of information. Any reliance on the material on this site is at your own risk… Where data or visual representations of data that are provided on the site relate to health or the healthcare industry, you acknowledge and agree that such data and Visualizations are strictly for informational purposes and must not be construed as rendering a medical opinion or medical advice by Seed. You agree to consult a qualified healthcare professional whenever evaluating your own health or that of any other person.
9/10/2014 – Sharyl Attkisson reports that internationally recognized medical ethicist Dr. Michael Carome says that if the journal Pediatrics stands by a questioned vaccine-autism study without interviewing the coauthor who confessed to and exposed alleged scientific misconduct, their failure would deviate from what should be standard procedure…”
“Upon receiving such an allegation, the journal editors should ask the co-author making the allegations to submit them in writing along with the supporting evidence,” says Carome. “In this case, that should include the data that was allegedly withheld improperly.”
However, it appears officials with Pediatrics may have disregarded Thompson’s allegations without speaking to him or examining his documentation. That would mean they interviewed only the co-authors who are accused of improprieties. When asked about its review process, Pediatrics spokeswoman Susan Stevens Martin initially seemed to imply that the journal had interviewed Thompson.
“There’s a standard process that journals follow when an article is questioned,” Martin said in an email. “Those discussions took place between the editors of Pediatrics and the authors of this study, and the editors concluded the research was appropriately conducted.”
When repeatedly pressed on whether Thompson was consulted, Martin avoided a direct answer.
“The editors followed our normal protocol and are satisfied with the responses by the CDC authors,” she stated, again implying Thompson—a CDC author—was among those consulted.
But a source familiar with Thompson claims that Pediatrics officials never contacted him about his allegations.
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