The Alliance For Natural Health

Wall Street Journal Apparently Doesn’t Care About Blatant Medical Conflicts of Interest

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Syringe and paper moneyDr. Paul Offit has written another pro-vaccine screed for this powerful publication without one word about all the money he has made as a vaccine developer. Action Alert! The opinion piece, published this week, talks about respiratory infections “making a comeback” (had they really gone away?) and lays the problem at the feet of “low vaccination rates”—as discussed by a most prestigious journal: the Hollywood Reporter! That’s right, Paul A. Offit, MD, professor of pediatrics in the division of infectious diseases and director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, reaches for a magazine dedicated to Hollywood news and entertainment gossip for his medical statistics. What the mini-bio at the bottom of the WSJ article doesn’t disclose is Dr. Offit’s massive conflict of interest. Paul Offit is the inventor of the rotavirus vaccine RotaTeq, which is now recommended for universal use among infants by the CDC. He makes untold amounts of money from vaccines. He is entitled to his opinion, but it is shameful that the prestigious Wall Street Journal has not insisted on a full disclosure of his financial interest. Did the paper not know? Did it not care? This does not speak well for current journalistic practice or ethics. Offit also mentions the rise of whooping cough, mumps, and measles infections, which he attributes to inadequate vaccination. But the mumps vaccine is proving to be ineffective, and an even bigger problem, as we reported last year, is that the DTaP vaccine—for diphtheria, tetanus (lockjaw), and pertussis (whooping cough)—has uncertain risks. One element of the vaccine, for whooping cough, can be dangerous, potentially causing inflammation throughout the body. Moreover, it also may not be very effective: Dr. Mercola cites a study showing that whooping cough outbreaks were in fact higher among vaccinated children rather than unvaccinated! Naturally Dr. Offit does not mention the failure of the government to study vaccinated children, to see what actually is and isn’t working. It simply assumes that the vaccines are effective and that any cases are in unvaccinated children, when it is possible that many are in vaccinated children. As might be expected, Offit also denounces any possible autism–vaccine link. But neither he—nor the WSJ in any of their other articles, for that matter—make any reference to the recent CDC whistleblower story that revealed the government’s deliberate concealment of the link between the MMR vaccine (for measles, mumps, and rubella) and a dramatically increased risk of autism, particularly in African American boys. Why is the mainstream media refusing to cover this dramatic story? We don’t know. But we do know that much of the mainstream media would collapse without PHARMA advertising. Could there be a connection? Action Alert! Write to the Wall Street Journal and tell them they should have disclosed Dr. Offit’s financial tie to vaccines! Take-Action1

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  • David Teague

    The financial interest of editorial writers should always be revealed.

    However, every physician and researcher with any real credentials acknowledges that vaccinations have saved thousands and possibly millions of lives — and even those physicians who are most vocal in their concerns about vaccines offer recommendations for what they consider to be “safe” vaccines.

    The MMR vaccine controversy centered around the 1998 publication of a fraudulent research paper in the medical journal The Lancet that lent support to the subsequently discredited claim that colitis and autism spectrum disorders could be caused by the combined measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. The media has been heavily criticized for its naïve reporting and for lending undue credibility to the architect of the fraud, Andrew Wakefield.

    Investigations by the British Sunday Times journalist Brian Deer revealed that Wakefield had multiple undeclared conflicts of interest, much as you point out that Dr. Offit has, and that Wakefiled had manipulated evidence, and had broken other ethical codes. The Lancet paper was partially retracted in 2004 and fully retracted in 2010, and Wakefield was found guilty by the General Medical Council of serious professional misconduct in May 2010 and was struck off the Medical Register, meaning he could no longer practice medicine. In 2011, Deer provided further information on Wakefield’s improper research practices to the British medical journal, BMJ, which in a signed editorial described the original paper as fraudulent. The scientific consensus is that no evidence links the vaccine to the development of autism, and that the vaccine’s benefits greatly outweigh its risks.

    Further, there are ALWAYS individuals for reasons, some known, some not known, whom some vaccines do not work. There are others for whom the vaccines cause harm. Individuals who cannot be vaccinated are protected by having sufficiently many vaccinated people in their community.

    You should stop the dangerous practice of furthering this fraudulent suggestion that there is any connection between vaccines and autism spectrum disorders.

  • Mike Nielsen

    The reason mainstream media won’t cover stories that may reflect any negative aspects of vaccination is the amount of dollars invested in advertising by the drug industry. The withdrawal of drug advertising from any media would have dramatic financial consequences.

  • Bev DiBell

    Paul Offit should not be promoting vaccines, when he makes money on them. At the very least, the connection should be made transparent. Full disclosure is a sign of good journalism. What is happening here?

  • rick baldwin

    Vaccines may have been useful in the past but the new stuff they are peddling is worse than the disease. Witness this new Shingles recommendation that they are trying to scare everyone into taking. I do believe there is a direct link between autism & natal care,especially vaccines.

  • Thank you for addressing this issue. My children are grown but I have tried to warn my nieces that they need to at least read about this controversy. They believe the main stream publications and can’t be bothered to read my internet sources, so for the sake of young mothers with these attitudes I really appreciate that someone is stepping up and calling the main stream media on their biased and shoddy reporting. Free Will and Create NO Harm! Blessed be!

  • Maria

    ANH:

    I’m surprised that you haven’t sent this letter to the “Letters To The Editor” page of the WSJ, it would prove to enlighted those of us that did read Dr. Offit’s article. There were responses on the editorial page, but none that exposed Dr. Offit’s conflict of interest on this matter. I would send the article to the editor’s page myself, but I’m afraid, without your approval that would only cause more problems. Please forward this article to the “[email protected]” email address. I’m sure you would be pleased with the outcome.

    • Thanks so much for bringing up this point. We actually do send our Action Alert, connected to this page, directly to WSJ’s Letters to the Editor email. Each member who signs and submits a petition is essentially sending out a letter stating the issues we’re raising here in the article. The question is now whether or not WSJ will actually respond to the hundreds of letters they’re no doubt getting due to this!

  • Thank you for the article. While I agree this is not a positive thing for the reputation of the WSJ I would recommend that people looking to influence the public in a positive way begin to speak honestly and plainly about the state of journalism today and get past the statements like “Did the paper not know? Did it not care? This does not speak well for current journalistic practice or ethics.”
    Of course they know and do not care because they are funded by industry and will forever refuse to bite the hands that feed them. This is the nature of journalism that blasts truth seekers everywhere. In the line of the old investigative axiom when trying to find an explanation as to why a “prestigious publication” like the WSJ would allow such stuff to be published one would be best served by “Following the money!”

    Keep up the good work.

  • Douglas Finlayson MD

    The WSJ engages in crony journalism too. This is a payback article for something, a stock tip, ad money who knows. The comment section on the WSJ Offit article was flooded with people who clucked indignantly about how parents who do not vaccinate their kids should be jailed and that Jenny McCarthy is a bimbo. They are not just the usual regular WSJ verbal militia. Their angry talking points are similar and they probably work for the healthcare, industrial complex. With all his money, you would think Rupert would not have to also be an infomercial pimp. It saddens me greatly to see one of my heroes bending over like this.

  • I happen to be an experienced investor (and a former SEC rep) as well as owner of a natural foods website. I subscribe to a lot of investor newsletters, some of which originate with WSJ. I can tell you that for the most part Wall Street is only interested in making its clients richer, but the entire system, including the SEC is rigged in favor of the wealthiest investors who are typically the only ones who are allowed to make the really big bucks. But be that as it may, Wall Street is interested in money making more money. How that happens is seldom the issue in that environment as long as it is clearly not illegal. So they really don’t care about the GMO or “truth in reporting” issues for natural health, etc. If it doesn’t affect their bottom line they probably are not even listening. The question is “How do you get their attention?” You’ll somehow have to hit them where it hurts – in the pocket. ???

  • James

    -sigh-
    I don’t see how everyone can be so calm about how corrupt the US is.
    Corporations literally run the government and are rubber stamping their own products and forcing them upon our families and into our children against our will or unknowingly. They are literally poisoning the entire populous of the U.S., maliciously, just for a currency that has no value. It is insane that we live in such a nightmare and it is INSANITY that nobody has shot these crooks dead yet.

    WHAT IS WRONG WITH HUMANS!
    I wish I was never born, that is HOW HORRIBLE THE US IS, IT IS A NIGHTMARE that DESTROYS everything I love and everything I hate gets stronger and poisons even more. There is literally herbicide in children’s umbilical cord blood simply because monsanto wants to make money selling their toxic products (not any actual good reason for herbicide to be in your blood stream…), how anyone can’t get angry at that is beyond me.

    I can only say that I hope a meteor smashing the district of columbia into a crater, because that is what it deserves for quiet literally ruining ALL LIFE ON THE PLANET.

    I hate the US and I hate anyone who doesn’t hate it.
    Reality.