Justinian Lane

Something to consider in the debate over whether childhood vaccines are safe

Vaccine manufacturers claim that the science and scientists are on their side.  That could be because the scientists are bought:

Every Child By Two, a group that promotes early immunization for all children, admits the group takes money from the vaccine industry, too - but wouldn't tell us how much.

A spokesman told CBS News: "There are simply no conflicts to be unearthed." But guess who's listed as the group's treasurers? Officials from Wyeth and a paid advisor to big pharmaceutical clients.

Then there's Paul Offit, perhaps the most widely-quoted defender of vaccine safety. He's gone so far as to say babies can tolerate "10,000 vaccines at once."

This is how Offit described himself in a previous interview: "I'm the chief of infectious disease at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and a professor of pediatrics at Penn's medical school," he said.
Offit was not willing to be interviewed on this subject but like others in this CBS News investigation, he has strong industry ties. In fact, he's a vaccine industry insider.

Offit holds in a $1.5 million dollar research chair at Children's Hospital, funded by Merck. He holds the patent on an anti-diarrhea vaccine he developed with Merck, Rotateq, which has prevented thousands of hospitalizations.

And future royalties for the vaccine were just sold for $182 million cash. Dr. Offit's share of vaccine profits? Unknown.

Source: How Independent Are Vaccine Defenders?, Sharyl Attkisson Investigates Vaccine Advocates Taking Funding From The Companies Whose Vaccines They Endorse - CBS News

H/T to Pharmalot

I wonder if Offit would give one of his kids 10,000 vaccines at once.

I actually don't have an opinion on whether vaccines cause autism/add/etc.  Part of the reason I don't have an opinion is it that too many people on both sides of the issue have a financial interest in the outcome. 

Justinian Lane: Author Bio | Other Posts
Posted at 11:26 AM, Jul 28, 2008 in Pharmaceuticals
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Measles is now epidenic in Arizona.

Posted by: throckmorton | July 28, 2008 2:02 PM

Throck, one of my friends in Phoenix suggested to me that the measles problem in AZ is caused by all of the illegal aliens coming to AZ, many (most?) of whom don't have their vaccines. True?

Posted by: Justinian Lane | July 28, 2008 3:26 PM

With this irresponsible anti-vaccine post, you join the ranks of the paranoid schizophrenic 9/11 Conspiracy Theorists.

Prior to these vaccines, the brain damage of these diseases caused massive epidemics of mental retardation and autism, a type of mental retardation.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | July 28, 2008 7:44 PM

Here is the legal question. If you contract a contagious disease, say measles, from an illegeal alien, are they liable?

Whooping cough is on the rise and so is mumps. Some have speculated about the cause but then that would be discrimination. It is what it ease. Oh, two of the measles cases are implicated in deafness.

Posted by: throckmorton | July 28, 2008 7:49 PM

What's irresponsible about pointing out who has a financial interest in the matter? "Reformers" do that all the time.

Posted by: Justinian Lane | July 28, 2008 7:49 PM

The lawyer lives in the Medieval world, to this day. The anti-modernist, science hater wants the rest of us to live like pigs, as people did in 1250 AD. Lawyer assaults on vaccination are unforgivable, and crimes against humanity.

When the day of accountability comes, patients will mete out street justice against the merciless enemy of clinical care.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | July 28, 2008 8:07 PM

Your argument is that Paul Offit is unqualified to talk about vaccines because he makes money as the world's leading vaccine expert? Genius.

This post is literally evil. By promoting anti-vaccine pseudo-science, you're condemning kids to death. But just another wonderful example of how trial lawyers put profits ahead of safety. I better not hear this blog ever talk about the so-called Republican War on Science after a post like this.

Posted by: Ted | July 28, 2008 11:10 PM

Since when does 65 cases of a disease in a country of 300 million people qualify as an epidemic?

The incidence of autism is somewhere between 1 in 150 and 1 in 67 children in the US, and the Director of the CDC won't call it an epidemic. She calls it an "urgent health crisis".

Children are vastly over vaccinated in this country. In the early 1970's when I was a child, we got 10 vaccines during childhood and there were no deadly epidemics. Children today get about 65 shots during childhood, read that again, 65 shots during childhood, 36 of them in the first 18 months of life. And the first shot they get on the day of birth is a Hep B shot, for a sexually transmitted disease. How many babies do you think are having unprotected sex or shooting up?

Between 80 and 90 percent of children acquire immunity for a disease the FIRST time they are vaccinated for a disease, but they still get two, three, and four more doses. This is because it is cheaper to just keep giving them more shots than it is to test them to see if they actually need the shot. So by definition, almost all children get around three times the vaccines that they actually need.

We have gone WAY overboard and our kids are getting sick. Neurological and autoimmune disorders are KNOWN adverse reactions to vaccines, and our kids today have them in unheard of numbers.

The conflicts of interest in vaccine decision makers are making that possible.

It is time to dial the vaccine program back a few decades. Vaccinate one shot at a time (not four or five), test to see if repeat doses of a shot is even needed, and only give shots for illnesses that are a serious risk (not for chicken pox and diarrhea.)

Kids will be protected and have a far smaller chance of vaccine injury.

Posted by: Ginger Taylor | July 29, 2008 12:49 AM

I should also mention, statistically speaking, most of you railing about "anti-vaxxers" putting children at risk are probably big hypocrites.

Unless you have continued vaccinating into adulthood, and few adults do, most of your vaccines have worn off by your thirties. Most adults are not immune to many of the diseases they were vaccinated for any more.

And yet we don't see epidemics breaking out among the adult population in the US. And that is likely because modern sanitation and nutrition have more to do with the "death" of the deadly epidemic as vaccination. Probably more as death rates from most of these diseases fell dramatically in the mid 20th century before the vaccine for them was introduced. Measles for example.

It was introduced in 1967. And measles was considered a typical childhood illness, like we would think of chicken pox, so much so that there is an episode of the Brady Bunch were all the kids got the measles and the boys and girls fought over the bathroom. The media is trying to make measles into the new polio, but no one ever made a comedy about children with polio.

Anyway... if you are gonna complain about the 'anti-vaxxers', better go see your doc and get your five shots at once first.

I am just kidding... don't get five shots at once. Please.

-mother of a vaccine injured child.

Posted by: Ginger Taylor | July 29, 2008 1:11 AM

Ginger: I assume you are not a lawyer.

Most autism runs in families. That includes mild language problems, and depression, as correlates. Multiple, massive international studies, by unrelated groups, in different areas of the world, show no relation to vaccination, without exception. The onset of the diagnosable symptoms coincides in age with the vaccination schedule.

Most of the excess of autism represents the overdiagnosis of kids with language delays and immature social skills. It will be shown that modern people with the diagnosis will have better outcomes. This will not be due to their treatment. It will be due to their growing out of their misdiagnosed common language delay. The misdiagnosis has a bad faith element, to get services for rich, entitled parents with vicious lawyers. The courts must begin to crush these, with costs to the parents, and sanctions against the lawyer predator.

Today's adults do not get the diseases because they suffered the diseases as children, including a serious risk of brain damage, MR, and autistic symptoms.

That you propose immunization by disease, that is warped, Hon.
The opponents of vaccination will have caused a massive epidemic of real autism from brain damage, by irresponsible attacks on vaccination. I think the families of these lawyer victims should be able to sue any court, any lawyer that enables a child to go without coverage.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | July 29, 2008 7:02 AM

Ms. Taylor: In Arizona it is now over 600 cases. The main problem with measles is congental deafness and we will not know this effect until later. Epidemic viral diseases like measles spread exponentially. Whooping cough is now back in force in both infants and adults. There is a very high mortality rate with pertussis. Chicken pox although taken likely resultes in encephalitis in a percentage of children and can also be fatal. The sanitiation that you mention is related to cholera and other dysentaries and is not related to viral vaccines. Polio is also back and unfortanely once you have it there is not much you can do about it. So the question comes, how many dead children do you want vs fears of vaccines that are as of yet unfounded.

Posted by: throckmorton | July 29, 2008 8:33 AM

Measles is being seen in Long Island. Some facts about measles. In the last 150 years it is believed to have killed over 200 million people. It is extremely contagious with over 90% transmission in a household of unvaccinated patients. Its fatality is 1/1000 from pneumonia and/or encephalitis. Congenital measles is a major cause of deafness.

Posted by: throckmorton | July 29, 2008 9:58 AM

Ted, don't accuse me of illiteracy in the future, as you apparently missed the part where I wrote I have no opinion over whether vaccines are safe or dangerous. I say nothing about Offit's qualifications - only his financial interest in vaccination. (That and a bit of skepticism that it's OK to inject a kid with 10,000 vaccines at once.)

Your blog always points out the financial conflict of interests that plaintiffs' lawyers and their experts have. So what's wrong with CBS News doing the same thing but on the defense side? If you have an issue with the content of this post, you take it up with CBS, as all the substance comes from them. And while you're at it, you should go yell at Pharmalot, because that site covers this article, too.

Literally evil to quote from one of the three biggest news outlets in the world... you're literally being a troll.

Posted by: Justinian Lane | July 29, 2008 10:32 AM

Neutral view on the question of vaccines is evil in an educated person.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | July 29, 2008 10:43 AM

Let's see, you're saying a vaccine expert can't be trusted because he invented a vaccine. And you think you're not taking sides? You're not fooling anyone with your dishonesty.

Posted by: Ted | July 29, 2008 10:54 AM

The title of your post is also taking sides. Vaccines are safe; claiming there is a scientific debate over that issue when there isn't is very definitely standing with the pseudo-scientists.

Posted by: Ted | July 29, 2008 10:58 AM

I never said anyone can't be trusted. I simply quoted a news article that pointed out one of the leading "vaccine defenders" happens to have an enormous financial interest in the product. I also quoted how one vaccine group tried to conceal their ties to the pharmaceutical industry. Hell, the title of the CBS article is way more suggestive than the title of my post is.

I'll say it again: I have no opinion on whether vaccines are safe. I don't even have an opinion on whether it's fair to call them "pseudo-scientists" as you do. The only opinion I have on this matter is that vaccine manufacturers should not be immune from suit.

Why don't you quit trolling and add something substantive?

Posted by: Justinian Lane | July 29, 2008 12:06 PM

Justinian: You believe manufacturers of vaccines, saving millions of lives should be liable.

Should lawyers and judges, destroying millions of lives be liable to adverse third parties? You just refuse to give your view on this question or to justify their self-dealt immunities.

Until you do, your views on other people's liability has no validity. You are just a hypocrite.

Ted has yet to support such liability. I see little difference between the two of you, except for Ted's IQ, around double ours. That double IQ also doubles my frustration with Ted's resistance to that simple justice.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | July 29, 2008 12:18 PM

SC, if it can be proven that a vaccine caused someone to die or otherwise be injured, then yes, the manufacturer should be liable. Maybe not for unlimited noneconomic damages, but certainly for at least the economic damages.

As for your question about expanding liability to third parties? I've never completely understood your position so I can't take a side.

Posted by: Justinian Lane | July 29, 2008 12:25 PM

There are lots of duties of the lawyer to the adverse third party, in the Rules of Conduct, of CivPro, of Evidence, of CrimPro, and in 100's of appellate decisions. For example, a lawyer may not cry during a summation.

Yet, in self-dealt immunities courts have ignored these laws. They have said there is total litigation privilege. If a lawyer deviates from professional standards of due care in his own specialty, and injures a party of the other side, shouldn't his malpractice carrier compensate the victim of lawyer carelessness? The courts have said, there is no duty to the adverse third party. But there are. There may be more duties to the adverse third party than to the client.

This is a neutral proposal. A plaintiff may sue a defense attorney for filing what the judges decides was a frivolous defense motion, if a lawyering expert supports the claim.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | July 29, 2008 12:35 PM

Justinian, vaccines and drugs saves lives. Holding liable drug manufacturers liable for every adverse reaction and injury is unwise public policy. As throckmorton can probably attest, all drugs and vaccines have side effects. ALL OF THEM. The broader public policy question is --- are we as a society better off having drugs and vaccines available or not? If so, can we develop a more rationale system to handle injury claims? Imagine if we were living in 1918, and one of these greedy drug companies that you and Kia harp on so often had developed a vaccine to ward off the Spanish flu. Would you still apply your tort standard to that particular manufacturer? Keep in mind that the Spanish flu killed 100 million people in 24 weeks. To put this into perspective, that’s more people than have died in total from the AIDS (25 million). If we had had a vaccine to immunize people against the Spanish flu, but we knew 100,000 people would either die or suffer an adverse reaction, would you want all those people or their families compensated? If your answer is yes, and the drug company had refused to sell the drug, how would you compensate the 99,900,000 people because the drug wasn’t available? Another pandemic will hit us at some point, and tradeoffs and tough decisions are going to be required. It seems to me the trial bar’s sue-at-all-costs mentality hinders the development of potentially life saving drugs. Would recommend you read the book “The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History” by John Barry to gain a better appreciation of modern medicine and the danger tiny little microbes pose to human beings.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 29, 2008 7:03 PM

Assume someone's child suffers an illness or death because of a vaccine. There are three parties who can pay the medical costs and/or funeral expenses.

1: The parent. This isn't fair because the parent tried to do the right thing and fulfill the social contract.
2: The taxpayers or health insurers. This doesn't seem fair, either. I know I don't want to pay for it with my tax dollars or my insurance premiums.
3: The vaccine manufacturer. They made it, so why shouldn't they pay for it?

Like I said, I understand public policy considerations mean perhaps unlimited noneconomic damages aren't wise. But shouldn't they at least have to pay the medical bills?

Posted by: Justinian Lane | July 29, 2008 7:45 PM

No lawyer understands public policy. All are victims of criminal cult indoctrination. One can start out with an IQ of 300, but 1L makes all brain damaged and retarded. The lawyer cannot grasp the self-evident after 1L.

All torts are pretextual. All payments come from the public. Torts deters the entire enterprise and not just misconduct. Torts is stealthy, unauthorized, incompetent amateur, industrial policy, at the point of a gun.

Lawsuits have eradicated vaccine manufacturers. There is a scramble yearly to find a maker of flu vaccine. The flu can kill 10's of millions of people in a year. If such a holocaust takes place because of land pirate shenanigans, the land pirate must hang. To deter.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | July 30, 2008 7:09 AM

Justinian: Do you need extra time to answer the question as to whether all unlawful, self-dealt, unjust lawyer and judge immunities should be repealed by a statute allowing legal malpractice claims against all licensed lawyers by adverse third parties?

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | July 30, 2008 4:08 PM

@throck: please post information regarding "600" cases in Arizona. As of mid May, it was only 18. I can assure that more than 500 cases in less than a month would initiate ANOTHER Health Advisory from the CDC.

@supremacy: public policy that is enveloped in a publicly traded BUSINESS, is irresponsible ripe for abuse. Safety then becomes irrelevant. Not like we have any safety studies on vaccines, only efficacy... based on humoral immune response. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 6, 2008 9:23 PM