generation of children injured by vaccines containing the mercury-based
preservative thimerosal is now reaching puberty. Many of these children
will require life-long care and support. The cost to their parents by
today's standards will reportedly exceed $2 million dollars for each
An ever-growing number of
health care professionals point to thimerosal as the culprit behind the
explosion in cases of autism and other neurological disorders. The only
common thread connecting these damaged children to one another is their
exposure to mercury through childhood immunizations.
Accountability from vaccine makers is something that parents of injured
children have been seeking for years; but accountability appears more
illusive with each year's passage. On October 27 2005, the Hartford
Courant reported: "Congress is considering a bill that would allow the
government to order that vaccines be given to every U.S. citizen in a
national emergency, even if a vaccine has previously harmed some people."
The Biodefense and Pandemic Vaccine and Drug Development Act of 2005 (S
1873), is being pushed through Congress without giving voters the chance
to make their objections known to their elected officials.
Nicknamed "Bioshield Two," the bill's primary sponsor, Senator Richard
Burr (R-NC), claims the Act will give the Department of Health and Human
Services "additional authority and resources to partner with the private
sector to rapidly develop drugs and vaccines."
Co-sponsored by Senators Bill
Frist (R-TN), Mike Enzi (R-WY), and Judd Gregg (R-NH), the Act will in
truth, eliminate current regulatory and legal safeguards applied to
What kind of profits need protecting? A good example is GlaxoSmithKline,
which predicts that some of its new vaccines will become blockbusters with
projected sales of more than $1 billion a year, according to Reuters
on June 30, 2005. Glaxo aims to launch five major vaccines by 2010, it
Another example, for people who believe there’s no profit in vaccine
making, “tell it to Wyeth, a big drug maker whose vaccine Prevnar ...
costs more than $250 for the four-dose treatment given to infants,” says
Kristine Severyn, PhD, author of the report, "Profits,
Not Science, Motivate Vaccine Mandates."
Despite the price, "the government has recommended that all infants get
the vaccine, and insurers generally pay for it -- as does the federal
Vaccines for Children program for low-income families. Prevnar,
with sales expected to top $1 billion this year," says Severyn.
Severyn's predictions were right on. According to Wyeth's 2005 first
quarter earnings report, Prevnar achieved net revenue of $391 million,
more than double the first quarter earnings in 2004.
Bush’s FY2006 budget proposes to improve access to vaccines by allowing
underinsured children to receive Vaccines for Children at state and local
health clinics. The Department of Health and Human Services estimates the
cost of the proposal will be $140 million in 2006 and $700 million over
the 2006-2010 period.
How much does this sort of government protection cost? For starters,
according to the Center for Public Integrity, the Pharmaceutical
Researchers and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) is the industry's trade
organization, and it has topped the list of pharmaceutical lobbying
spending since 1998, shelling out $74 million. Its members include 16 of
the industry's 20 largest companies and their subsidiaries and its current
president is Billy Tauzin, a former Republican congressman from Louisiana.
In the 2002 election cycle, PhRMA gave $3,505,052 with 95% going to
Republicans. The top recipient in the Senate was none other than Senator
Richard Burr, who received $288,684, according to the non-partisan Center
for Responsive Politics. So far in the 2006 cycle, Gregg has received over
$106,000 and Enzi has taken in $21,000 in Pharma money.
Frist is a real piece of work. He has been trying to get a law passed to
protect the drug companies for years. In 2002, he was behind the dead of
night insertion of a provision into the Homeland Security bill that would
have immunized vaccine makers from lawsuits related to thimerosal.
Frist has made millions upon millions profiting off human misery. The
basis of the family fortune is the Hospital Corporation of America, the
largest for-profit hospital conglomerate in the nation. However, the
corporation also paid the largest health care settlement in history of
more than $1.7 billion in civil and criminal penalties to settle charges
of massive Medicare and Medicaid billing fraud.
Until recently, Frist and his wife owned $26 million worth of HCA stock.
They are currently being investigated on charges of insider trading in the
sale of HCA stock in the weeks immediately before the stock's value
plummeted, and conflict of interest charges involving his ownership of HCA
stock which he had previously claimed he knew nothing about because in
accordance with ethics rules, it was in a "blind trust."
According to the Center for Justice and Democracy, Frist has received more
than $2.3 million from doctors, health insurers, drug companies and others
in the health care industry, raising more cash from health-care interests
than 98% of his colleagues. In return, his legislative work in the Senate
consists of almost nothing but trying to push through laws to increase
profits for his number one backer.
Its worth noting that while Frist was its chairman, the pharmaceutical
industry was also the largest single contributor to the National
Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, doling out about $4 million,
with Eli Lilly, the company that invented thimerosal, being the single
biggest contributor, giving $1.6 million.
The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), a watchdog advocacy group,
is highly critical of the pending protection legislation. According to the
group's President, Barbara Loe Fisher: "It is a big lie that drug
companies have been driven out of business by lawsuits in the past two
decades.” The NVIC calls the Act "a drug company stockholder's dream and a
consumer's worst nightmare."
According to NVIC, currently there are at least ten different bills
pending in Congress that will contain provisions to shield drug companies
from lawsuits including S3, S975, S1437, S1828, S1873, S1880, HR650,
HR3154, HR3970, and HR4245.
"This proposed legislation," Fisher told UPI, "is an unconstitutional
attempt by some in Congress to give a taxpayer-funded handout to
pharmaceutical companies for drugs and vaccines the government can force
all citizens to use while absolving everyone connected from any
responsibility for injuries and deaths which occur."
The bill establishes the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development
Agency (BARDA), as the single authority for the advanced research and
development of drugs and vaccines and grants the Secretary of the
Department of Health and Human Services, the sole authority to determine
whether a drug maker violated drug safety laws. In addition, the Act
specifically bars citizens from challenging the Secretary's rulings in
BARDA will be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act and the Federal
Advisory Committee Act, to ensure that no evidence related to injuries
caused by vaccines classified as "countermeasures" will become public.
"It means that, if an American is injured by an experimental flu or
anthrax vaccine he or she is mandated to take," Fisher told UPI,
"that citizen will be banned from exercising the Constitutional right to a
jury trial even if it is revealed that the vaccine maker engaged in
criminal fraud and negligence in the manufacture of the vaccine."
In a November 15, 2005 letter to Senator Burr's staff director, Fisher
describes S 1873 as "arguably unconstitutional" because it (1) lacks
transparency into the research, development, licensure and post-licensure
surveillance of vaccines and drugs used in public health emergencies; (2)
lacks accountability for either manufacturers of these products or
government health officials who mandate their use without informed
consent; and (3) lacks justice for those who will inevitably die or suffer
chronic illnesses after being compelled to take these products.
“It is exactly this type of legislation that leads to civil disobedience
and many times in the extreme form,” Dr Boyd Haley, a well-known expert on
heavy metal toxicity, told this author, “I am very fearful of how certain
segments of our society will respond to any mass vaccination program --
especially if it does cause a problem like the thimerosal/autism
situation,” he said.
As it stands today, if the Bush administration and its puppets in Congress
achieve their common goal of protecting pharma profits by shielding
vaccine makers from lawsuits, tax payers will have to foot the bill for
the life-long costs of caring for millions of injured children.
Taxpayers are already funding their special education needs. In a January
14, 2005 letter to a Congressional Subcommittee on Human Rights, the
Government Accountability Office (GAO), informed committee members that
the number of children diagnosed with autism served under the IDEA has
increased by more than 500% in the last decade and that "about 1.5 million
Americans are currently living with some form of autism."
In a recent interview with Teri Small published in the journal, Medical
Veritas 2 (2005), Dr Geier said that he believes that this may be the
greatest iatrogenic epidemic in history. "The damage already done to our
society is already in the trillions of dollars," he warns. "The damage of
the 9/11 terrorist attacks and that of the AIDS epidemic pale when
compared to the current epidemic of autism," he told Veritas.
"All of us alive," Dr Geier says, "will have to bear its effects both in
the lifetime care of the damaged children and the loss of what they
otherwise might have contributed to our society.
Evelyn Pringle is a columnist for
Independent Media TV and an investigative columnist focused on exposing
corruption in government." She can be reached at
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