I just read an article by Scary Mommy's Elizabeth Broadbent, and she states that anti-vaxxers (pro-choicers or ex-vaxxers are more appropriate labels for us) are in an uproar over the mumps outbreaks. In her article she briefly mentions the mumps fraud lawsuit, before she moves on to present information regarding the seriousness of mumps complications. She provides information regarding pre-vaccination/post-vaccination illness statistics, vaccine efficacy rates according to the CDC, and waning vaccine protection. The conclusion of her article states that though the pro-vaccine would like to have a better vaccine, the vaccine obviously offers adequate and reasonable protection, and definitely offers more protection than no protection at all.
In response, I'd like to say this. Elizabeth, I recognize what you are saying, that mumps is no where near as prevalent as it used to be. That observation is obviously very strong correlative evidence in support of vaccination. I see that reality, I agree that the statistics are an extremely valid point. Though I have additional data which I feel is important to present related to mumps, I will leave that discussion for another day. At this point in time, I’d simply like to focus on our agreement, that those statistics which you share in support of mumps vaccination, is very strong correlative evidence.
For me, the significant issue in THIS conversation about mumps, is less about the statistics, efficacy and herd immunity, and more about the fact that Merck has been accused of committing scientific fraud by two of their former scientists. You are aware of the accusations because you mentioned them in passing. You stated that the accusations don't make sense and then you moved past that point as if the accusations are meaningless. The article you referenced regarding the fraud, very clearly stated that Merck has been accused of falsifying data in the mumps clinical trials. I'm surprised you would hear such an accusation, and not dig deeper into exactly what that might entail. You stated that you checked the CDC website, saw that the CDC states the vaccine provides 66-95% protection. Those numbers satisfied you, despite knowing that Merck is accused of fraud, and as a result, you felt confident enough to dismiss the accusations completely. Quoting statistics, when the accusation is scientific fraud, makes little sense. Though you dismissed the fraud accusations, I'd like to remind you that the US Court system has not.
Because your article then proceeded to focus only on herd immunity, and the success of the vaccine, I read that to mean you couldn't care less that Merck possibly committed scientific fraud, by falsifying scientific data. Is that what you’re saying? You're okay with a pharmaceutical company falsifying data in the clinical studies they conduct, for the medications that they want administered to every child on this planet, your children included? I'm not trying to be condescending or facetious, I'm simply trying to learn your position on illegal activities like this, that affect you directly and indirectly.
The issue at hand for me related to this, is that I hope we are unified in believing that committing scientific fraud in drug research (or any research for that matter) is completely unacceptable. I also hope that you too would expect to see that those guilty of committing fraud be held accountable, and that their wrong doings not be swept under the carpet. My concern is that when millions and billions of people’s lives are affected by public health policy which advises that all children take this medication (and other medications like it), I feel it's just a tad bit important to have science of the highest quality and most ethical standard. I assume you agree with me on that also. The scientific research for the mumps vaccine is alleged to fall far short of the high and ethical standard that we expect and deserve. As much as I'm fighting that this issue be corrected for myself, I want to fight this point for you also - that all medications that you and your children take meet the minimum regulations imposed by the FDA, without pharma having to commit scientific fraud to meet those minimum benchmarks. So, Elizabeth, our different view points about mumps set aside, all I'm asking from you is that you rally with us to demand that Merck be held accountable for committing scientific fraud and for falsifying data (if the accusations are proven true). I hope you might be willing to meet me on that middle ground.
CONTINUE to the next post here: Safety & Efficacy - Part 10