In essence, society’s attention has become focused on vaccination, focused solely on this health treatment. But TREATMENT is not what creates health, treatment is what changes or manages a persons’ symptoms of poor health. Instead of focusing solely on the treatment, there needs to be a shift. We need to evaluate the treatment in the context of the whole - what is working about the treatment? What needs improving? What is failing completely? How does the treatment affect evolution of the species? And how can health be supported moving forward so that the treatment is no longer needed?
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The Pharmaceutical Reach: Part 1 of 14 - Government Influenced by Lobbying

This is a 14-part series. I hope you will read the series at your own pace, continuing to come back to it until you’ve completed it. When reading through these 14 articles, remember that each piece fits within the collective contributing to the bigger picture, and that each unique piece is NOT actually separate from the whole.

 

When it comes to the various products that are available for purchase, there are many safety nets that are established to protect consumers from dangerous products. Those safety nets ensure that products are designed, manufactured, and distributed in such a way that potential harms are minimized, and any harms are more easily and quickly identified once that product is in distribution. Unfortunately, there are shortcomings in many of these consumer safety nets, or industry has found a way to bypass some of those protective measures. As a result, unsafe products continue to be made and distributed widely. What’s more unique to vaccines though, is that every single one of the multiple safety nets that were established to protect people, all those protective measures have actually been neutralized by the pharmaceutical industry. This neutralization has happened either by direct financial funding from pharma, or indirectly through Governmental conflicts of interest that have influenced policy, bureaucracy, and legislation. But before explaining how the consumer protective safety nets have been neutralized when it comes to vaccines, I’ll first list what those protective measures were, or should be. (Bolding in the list below denotes which topic point will be discussed in this article).

 

Consumer safety nets for vaccines are:

  1. Government and our political leaders who represent and protect the people

  2. Federal agencies that oversee vaccine regulation, research, safety, and distribution: These agencies include: Health and Human Services (HHS) The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), The Institute of Medicine (IOM). Yes, these agencies are all based in the United States, however their policies are often adopted on a global scale by other national health agencies.

  3. Scientific research and medical journals

  4. Our doctors and the institutions where they are educated and employed

  5. Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) and like systems

  6. The media

  7. The legal system
     

So now, lets go into a summary of how each of these protective agencies and/or protective measures have been neutralized. (I will repeat the content above at the start of each article in this series).

 

Safety Net #1:

Government and political leaders who represent the people

On the OpenSecrets.org website, a not for profit organization, they explain in detail the amounts of money spent on lobbying in the US by the various industries. On their website, they explain themselves as follows (emphasis mine):

Nonpartisan, independent and nonprofit, the Center for Responsive Politics is the nation's premier research group tracking money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and public policy. OUR VISION is for Americans to be empowered by access to clear and unbiased information about money’s role in politics and policy and to use that knowledge to strengthen our democracy. OUR MISSION is to produce and disseminate peerless data and analysis on money in politics to inform and engage Americans, champion transparency, and expose disproportionate or undue influence on public policy.

 

Looking at the data provided on their website, a person can see that In the US, every single year over the past 18 years, the industry labelled "Pharmaceuticals/Healthcare Products" has outspent all other industries in political lobbying. And before pharmaceutical/health care products took the title 18 years ago, as highest spender, their predecessor was Tobacco. For several of the last 18 years, pharmaceutical / healthcare products has spent more than double compared to what "Oil and Gas" spends. For example, in 2017, pharmaceutical/healthcare products spent $279 million compared to $126 million spent by oil and gas. Within the pharmaceutical / healthcare product group, "Pharmaceutical Manufacturers" are a smaller subset, and this year (and 2018 year is not yet over) lobbying expenditures were listed for them totaling $57 million. In 1998, when tobacco was the biggest lobby, spending $72 million, this subset group spent $49 million. Over the next 10 years, lobbying expenditures by pharmaceutical manufacturers more than tripled, with spending growing to $160 million in 2008. Last year, in 2017, spending was $171 million. The OpenSecrets website states (emphasis mine):

Pharmaceutical companies, which develop both over-the-counter and prescription drugs, have been among the biggest political spenders for years....
 

The industry's policy goals include resisting government-run health care, ensuring a quicker approval process for drugs and products entering the market and strengthening intellectual property protections.

 

...One piece of legislation the industry has lobbied heavily on recently is the 21st Century Cures Act. The bill, which passed the House, would encourage the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to rely less on randomized controlled trials when deciding whether or not to put a new drug on the market. Critics argue that this would all but guarantee that more drugs will hit pharmacy shelves at a faster pace, though potentially at the expense of patient safety.

 

Looking at research conducted which examined political lobbying by Merck, and the influence that lobbying had in getting the HPV vaccine added as a required vaccine needed for school entry, that research states (emphasis mine):

In June 2006, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first vaccine against human papillomavirus (HPV)...The same month, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended routine vaccination of girls aged 11 to 12 years, with catch-up vaccination of females aged 13 to 26 years. A remarkable burst of legislative activity followed. Within a year, legislation relating to the vaccine was introduced in 41 states and the District of Columbia, including bills in 24 states that would mandate HPV vaccination for 6th-grade girls.

 

Interest in the political forces behind HPV legislation remains high. Following media reports that Merck was heavily involved in promoting school-entry mandates, questions arose about the extent and appropriateness of industry involvement in vaccine policy.

 

The paper goes on to explain Merck's intent behind their lobbying. Their intent was to maximize Gardasil uptake to ensure profits. The research states  (emphasis mine):

Merck engaged in direct lobbying to varying degrees in all of the states we studied. Merck proactively contacted legislators to discuss strategies to maximize uptake of Gardasil, either directly through company employees or by using local political consultants, prominent physicians, or public relations firms.

 

Many respondents reported that company representatives proposed specific legislation, often drafting the bills and searching for a sponsor. In most states, their efforts focused on a school-entry mandate. Respondents pointed out that Merck’s activities were not unusual, although the public seemed to have been unaware that private companies played such a role in the legislative process. One commented, “Just about every vaccine mandate that we have lately has been the result, at least partially, of the drug industry’s efforts.”

 

That's interesting to me. It seems that the driving force behind vaccine mandates does NOT come from the Health Authority as a result of the dire concern the  health officials have over a specific illness. Rather, it seems that the pharmaceutical companies proactively generate fear about illnesses, to then motivate doctors and states to want to vaccinate against those illnesses with the vaccines they have recently created. The paper pointed this out, stating (emphasis mine):

There was less enthusiasm among respondents for Merck’s marketing efforts to physicians. Merck conducted extensive outreach to the prescriber community, both directly and by training physicians to engage in peer-to-peer education. A California governmental respondent related a historical analogy concerning Fosamax, Merck’s drug for prevention of osteoporotic fractures:

"They created this paranoia about fracture risk and applied it to a much bigger market. I think that they very successfully did the same thing with Gardasil. . . . They pumped up the level of fear among clinicians about the impact of HPV."

 

...One concern, expressed by several health officials and representatives of groups of health experts, was that Merck’s strategy involved an end run around health departments. Although in some states, most notably New Hampshire, there was extensive communication between Merck and the state immunization program, in others, respondents complained that Merck took its message directly to the public or legislature without involving public health officials.

 

One group in particular that Merck targeted specifically, with their HPV lobbying efforts, was Women In Government (WIG). The research paper states (emphasis mine):

Merck mobilized legislators to introduce school-entry mandate and other legislation relating to the HPV vaccine, primarily through Women in Government (WIG), a national, nonprofit group of female state legislators. WIG had identified cervical cancer as a priority issue as early as 2003. Merck contributed unrestricted educational grants to WIG, which, among other things, covered the expenses of dozens of legislators to attend conferences on cervical cancer at appealing destinations convened by WIG and attended by Merck representatives.

 

...The concern respondents expressed over financial entanglements between Merck and legislators was centrally a concern about transparency—one that has also been voiced about Merck’s relationship with physician professional organizations. Policymakers tended to be most disturbed by Merck’s nontransparent roles, such as giving financial contributions to WIG and other interest groups that were not publicly disclosed. Such tactics “gave credence to people’s fears that they were trying to do things behind closed doors and push things down people’s throats,” a Virginia respondent commented.

 

Let's look more closely at the Women in Government group, examining a PowerPoint presentation that was prepared for them and which can currently be viewed on their website. This presentation was prepared for them by Dr. Gregory Polland. Dr. Polland is considered to be a highly respected vaccine expert. He works at the Mayo Clinic, and according to his bio shown on that website, it says he "studies the immunogenetics of vaccine response in adults and children." The presentation he prepared for WIG was titled Healthcare and Vaccine Wars in the 21st Century, and the presentation was about improving State policy to achieve higher vaccination rates across the country. He had two slides about two specific vaccine preventable illnesses, and the the intro to those two slides inferred that officials need to generate fear about illness. On slide 19 you will see it states that a positive "tipping point" in vaccine uptake will occur, when officials "create a compelling meta-narrative for action...like what?" That statement is followed by a slide that states, "HPV is a sexually transmitted cancer" and the slide after that shows the limbs of a "39 year old single mom of three." Based on the state of her limbs in the image, it's likely that they required amputation (likely as a result of the illness meningitis).

 

And therefore, Dr. Polland's slides clearly are encouraging legislators to use storytelling with a master idea - the intent being that those stories need to generate massive fear - to create a tipping point in favour of vaccines. Such a statement is an acknowledgement that fear mongering is a pro-vaccine strategy. Those who are vaccine cautious have well be aware of the fear mongering tactics used by the media and the Health Authorities, and yet it's the vaccine cautious who are accused of fear mongering because we point out the fear mongering they use, and we point to the science that suggests society does not need to be as terrified as they insist we must be. 

 

Near the conclusion of his presentation, on slide 33, Dr. Polland states to these WIG state legislators (emphasis mine):

If a private donor could be identifies [sic] who would provide each of you a $1,000,000 “grant” IF you developed legislation and policies that materially improved the health of your states and communities – could/would you do it?

 

The quotations around the word "grant" were Dr. Polland's doing, not mine. Obviously, if the giving of $1,000,000 to each legislator was proposed and carried out with ethical intent andpurpose, that intent and purpose would be clearly, concretely and explicitly stated on slide 33. But on this slide that's not how he presents the information. Instead, he chose to use the word "grant" in quotations, instead of clearing stating what's being offered. The innuendo in his word choice, and his question, "could/would you do it?" are indication that he's offering them a bribe, a $1,000,000 bribe. 

 

Pharmaceutical companies lobby political representatives, NOT with the goal of improving public health. Rather, their purpose is to "maximize uptake" of their drugs and vaccines, to grow their profits. Remember the situation with Vioxx, another Merck drug, where early testing showed that that drug was likely triggering heart attacks and deaths. The HPV/lobbying research paper stated:

"Many respondents were aware that the business practices of pharmaceutical manufacturers were of great public concern at the time legislators took up the issue of school-entry mandates for Gardasil. The legislative debates came on the heels of the Vioxx and Celebrex controversies and several large pharmaceutical fraud settlements.

 

In the very first article written here on my website, I explained the teachings of Dr. Marcia Angell, a Harvard professor and former Editor-In-Chief of the New England Journal of Medicine. She has repeatedly stated that we can no longer trust and rely upon published research, because the pharmaceutical companies who conduct and publish much of that research have severely compromised the quality of both the research and the journals themselves. In a lecture she gave titled, The Truth About Drug Companies, she stated (emphasis mine):

Public esteem for the pharmaceutical industry, in the US, is only slightly higher than for the tobacco companies. Adding to the sinking reputation of the industry, is the fact that nearly every large drug company, has recently paid huge fines to settle charges of illegal activities. This year, Pfizer pleaded guilty, to charges of fraudulently marketing drugs, and was fined 2.3 billion...which included the largest criminal fine ever levied against any company. Pfizer's not unique. Most of the big drug companies have been charged with similar kinds of illegal practices. Moreover, several top selling drugs, such as Vioxx were promoted widely, after they were known to be unsafe, and in some cases, the manufacturers deliberately suppressed information about the risks. Now, what does the pharmaceutical industry say for itself? It presents itself very differently, as a public spirited, scientific enterprise.

 

When it comes to vaccines, the pharmaceutical industry definitely presents itself as a public spirited enterprise. But again, always remember that the primary driving force behind vaccine lobbying is to increase private gain, not public benefit. Industries lobby government officials, to ensure that those elected leaders then push forth legislation that is beneficial and profitable to the company and shareholders. If lobbying did not achieve that desired result, there simply would be no point in lobbying. In the last 20 years, pharmaceutical manufacturers have nearly quadrupled their lobbying expenditure, spending $49 million in 1998, compared to $171 million in 2017. Obviously the pharmaceutical manufacturers are benefiting significantly from their lobbying, if they weren't, they would put that money towards different strategies that would more effectively achieve their goals.

 

The HPV lobbying research stated (emphasis mine):

...it emerged strongly from our interviews that the terms of the debate were set very early on by Merck’s effective communication of its position favoring school-entry mandates. Information gathering from a broader range of sources, including public health experts, might have led to a different policy agenda.

 

In other words, Merck's lobbying influence, their strategy and end goal, clearly directed and influenced the outcome of State legislated policy. Merck's goal was to impose a school-entry mandate to maximize vaccine uptake and their profits. In contrast, if public health officials had been the ones actively pursuing a strategy to improve health outcomes related to HPV infection, any legislated health policy, if that policy included a vaccination strategy, likely would have looked much different compared to what was drafted, presented and lobbied by Merck.

 

Article Sources

  • A listing of the various industries that lobby government, and the amount of money each industry spends to influence our politicians. All lobbying expenditure data presented on this website comes from the Senate Office of Public Records Here

  • The effect of lobbying on HPV vaccination school mandates Here

  • Dr. Gregory Polland Presentation to WIG - $1,000,000 bribe Here

  • Dr. Marcia Angell Lecture - The Truth About Drug Companies Here

  • Del Bigtree (Producer of Vaxxed) stating this information in a video Here

 

Continue to the next post in this series: Here

 

You are currently on Part 1 of a 14 Part Series.

View a Post in the Series Using the Links Below:

Part 1 of 14: Consumer Safety Nets (You're on this page)

Part 2 of 14: HHS Here 

Part 3 of 14: The FDA Here

Part 4 of 14: The CDC Here 

Part 5 of 14: The DHHS & IOM Here 

Part 6 of 14: Scientific Research Here 

Part 7 of 14: Scientific Research Corruption Here 

Part 8 of 14: The Medical Journals Here 

Part 9 of 14: Our Doctors Here 

Part 10 of 14: Doctors Responsibility Here 

Part 11 of 14: Medical Institutions Here 

Part 12 of 14: VAERS Here 

Part 13 of 14: The Media Here 

Part 14 of 14: The Legal System Here 

 

Last updated July 8/18

 

 

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