A curve ball was delivered Dr Offit’s way about a week ago, when CBS television investigated the many vested interests behind various vaccine defenders. When asked to comment on the $1.5 million Merck Sponsored University chair he occupies, and what his other financial vested interests might total, Dr Offit declined to comment.
Very quickly after the programme aired, CBS received a salvo purportedly from an organization called “Voices for Vaccines”. Amongst other things, the letter said:
Voices for Vaccines objects to the defamatory allegations made by the CBS Evening News on Friday, July 25, against the American Academy of Pediatrics, Every Child By Two, and the Vaccine Education Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, with our colleague Dr Paul Offit singled out for baseless criticism.
It is our privilege to partner with these institutions in our mission to disseminate reliable information about vaccines. … It is preposterous and deeply offensive for CBS to suggest otherwise by insinuating that the pharmaceutical industry improperly influences the views of these vaccine advocates...
Lisa H. Randall
Interim Executive Director
CBS has released a statement standing by it’s programme.
Let’s think about this for a moment. Who is Lisa H. Randall? Ms Randall is the Immunization Action Coalition Policy Consultant, located in Paul, Minnesota... which amongst other contributors, was funded in 2008 by Sanofi Pasteur, Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, Wyeth, MedImmune and Baxter Healthcare Corp.
Randall’s letter implies she is writing from Georgia Atlanta. From her letter, you’d believe that Voices for Vaccines is independent, yet she works for Immunization Action Coalition, which is 50/50 funded between drug companies and CDC.
Voices for Vaccines is the reincarnation of another group called People for Immunization. Pamphlets about this group were handed out at the American Committee for Immunization Practice in October 2007. The stated aim of People for Immunization was that, “it will have a large Scientific Advisory Board comprising recognized authorities in the field. To ensure its credibility as an independent voice, it will accept no funding from the vaccine industry or the federal government…” They changed their name to Voices for Vaccines. Sounds much better than People for Immunizations.
There’s only one problem here. Guess who was on the steering committee of People for Immunization? All the usual big names who are up to their armpits in drug company money including Dr Paul Offit. Looking down the list, I can’t see one person who has not received money from drug companies. Since Randall says that Voices for Vaccine partners with Dr Offit, presumably the “Voices for Vaccines Steering Committee” has the same captains at the helm as was proposed for People for Immunization.
Same people, same agenda, and supposedly, with Voices for Vaccine to be funded by "people", no-one would recognize the pharma dipping tigers, with their spots instead of stripes.
Here’s another interesting thing. Lisa Randall signed herself as “Interim Executive Director”. In place of whom, exactly? Not that it would have mattered, because every single person on the People for Immunization Steering committee is as “drug funded” as is Lisa Randall’s Immunization Action Coalition.
The question that needs to be answered is, “How is it that vaccine defenders are so quick to point out vested interests in others, yet are oblivious to vested interests in themselves?”