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Hilary's Desk

Merck's MMR murk - where to from here?

Hilary Butler - Thursday, August 22, 2013

These are important thinking points which come out of this case, which readers with an indepth knowledge of Merck's litany of lies in the past will appreciate.

There are the main issues:

1)    The more you investigate the legal history of Merck, you wonder how anyone can have any faith in medical articles, data sheets or information presented by Merck to the public. As far as I’m concerned Merck has never had any ethics, and the way their top staff is ‘selected’ is proof of that. Jobs for the boys who ring the tills. Or girls, as it is in the case of Dr Julie Gerberding, responsible for fast-tracking Gardasil, and now head of Merck’s vaccines division. You scratch my back, I’ll pay you handsomely.

2)    Fosamax lawsuits have expanded massively in 2013. 

3)    The Vioxx case has to be the classic where Merck hid the harm that the drug caused http://www.pharmalive.com/merck-hid-evidence-vioxx-harm-study and for more than a decade, people paid with their lives.

4)   In 2008 Merck was forced to pay $671 million for overcharging Medicaid for four drugs, and illegally giving money and perks to doctors and other health care professionals, to entice them to prescribe Merck’s statin Zocor, and dangerous Vioxx alongside two more drugs. In another case in Philadelphia (and a related case in Nevada) , Merck was fined $399 million for improper Medicaid rebates, and other marketing irregularities and in Louisiana Merck was fined $250 million plus interest for more improper Medicaid rebates.  Of course, Merck maintains that at all times they acted in good faith. The list of cases against Merck is now so huge, you would think that the public would be more discerning as a result.

5)    Quite apart from the public, doctors have incurred Merck’s wrath. Merck made a hit list of doctors in 2009, who had to be "neutralised" or discredited because they criticised the anti-arthritis drug the pharmaceutical giant produced.

6)    In July 2002 Merck recorded $12.4 billion in consumer to pharmacy payments that Merck never collected

7)    The bottom line is that Merck serially lies. Merck lied to the FDA about the MMR vaccine. Gardasil is supposed to pay for Vioxx, but Gardasil is rapidly looking to become the Vioxx legal nightmare of the 2020's.

So ask yourself as a parent or consumer….

8)     How can the public trust any information written by Merck be it medical articles, advertisements or datasheets?

Relating to the previous blog on Merck
, it’s obvious that:

9)     Merck’s MMR package inserts are fraudulent. Merck's Vioxx package inserts were fraudulent. There is no end to just how fraudulently Merck portrays its “in good faith” practices. Merck’s drugs and vaccines cannot be trusted for their safety or efficacy on the basis of proven legal history.

10)     How can a parent rely on information from a doctor when they simply pick the phone up, and hand you what the Merck rep drops in, over a free lunch courtesy of the company. And yes, that still happens!

11)     We non-vaccinating parents are constantly blamed for whooping cough outbreaks, when it’s the whooping cough bacteria which has changed to avoid the vaccine induced antibodies. American non-vaccinating parents were blamed on mumps outbreaks when the children who had it were fully vaccinated, and even had there been 100% community vaccination, Merck knows that the mumps component of the MMR doesn’t have the efficacy they preach.

12)      Merck has no financial incentive to fix the mumps vaccine, listen to Gardasil concerns, or rethink drugs like Zocor or Fosamax. Why bother? They have reaped their billions.

13)      When measles outbreaks occurred in the USA in the late 1980s, a second dose of MMR was recommended. That doubled Merck’s MMR vaccine sales. With the recent outbreaks, CDC proposed a third dose. That triples MMR vaccine sales, and that will continue after they are “required” to fix the vaccine.

14)      These multiple vaccine recommendations were only possible because of Merck’s claiming one MMR vaccination would prevent measles, when it didn't ....., and Mumps vaccine had a 95% efficacy, which was a lie.

15)      In the light of that, questions need to be asked about the chickenpox vaccine. Breakthrough cases were known within months of that vaccine’s deployment, so perhaps Merck’s records should be searched to see if they and the FDA colluded on that vaccine, so that Merck could be guaranteed double the income when it was shown that one vaccine wasn’t effective.

16)     And…. Did Merck have its eyes firmly on the Zostavax market as well, KNOWING full well that its chickenpox vaccine would increase the rates of adults shingles, and provoke it in young adults as well?

17)     Isn’t it obvious with all these cases that there are huge conflicts of interests throughout the whole of Merck’s business model?

18)     Merck knowingly used a fraudulent methodology to test its mumps vaccine’s effectiveness.

19)     Should vaccine efficacy and safety studies be performed by the company that profits from the results?

20)     Merck knowingly marketed Gardasil as having no DNA, then when rDNA was found, they co-opted FDA to say that it’s a naturally occurring ingredient that everyone knew about but wasn’t “infectious”, implying that rDNA can’t do harm, when it can and does do harm.

21)     Merck pre-determines all its fraud, be it Vioxx, the Mumps vaccine results, or portraying Gardasil as having no DNA.

22)     None of this is about good science. It’s all about stakeholder’s interests, share market, economics and market monopolisation.

23)     Merck’s objective is always to aim to be sole supplier, or most prestigious supplier, with the intention of maximising revenue from sales of the products, no matter the price to the public.

24)     These practices don’t represent the odd mistake or a rogue “bad apple” in the barrel. These are well planned decisions from top management downwards within a company with a consistent history of immoral practice and unethical science. Merck’s infrastructure has produced a steady stream of bad apples from the late 1950s.

25)      Merck’s mumps vaccine license is based on studies over 45 years old on a virus that has since changed its genetic structure, because it has been passaged so many times. That being the case, shouldn’t new efficacy and safety trials be required by the FDA?

26)      Have the attenuated, and continually passaged measles and rubella viruses also changed their genetic structure in the time between their original tests and 2013? Is this why the CDC is terrified of any case of measles coming into highly vaccinated USA?  Is this why whenever measles comes to New Zealand, a significant number of cases are fully vaccinated?  Is MMR a vaccine that only shows its flaws when there is disease around to challenge it? 

27)     Are the USA Federal Drug Agency (FDA) and Centre for Disease Control (CDC) silently implicated in all drug and vaccine fraud? Should both be thoroughly investigated by an open congressional hearing, as happened with the Division of Biological Standards (DBS), after the polio and Swine Flu fiasco? (Not that it made much difference. The DBS "spots" just changed building, and became FDA "stripes".)

28)     If the FDA is basically protecting Merck by allowing fraudulent methodologies, and overseeing companies faking vaccine data by inserting data that FDA requires, how often does the FDA or CDC do the same with other drug companies?

29)     Over the past I’ve known and talked to many whistleblowers. All were treated appallingly, not just by the drug companies but also by the regulatory agencies. Ironically, none of the previous vaccine whistleblowers vaccinated their children. Which raises more questions:

30)      The Merck whistleblowers. What else do they know, particularly about the chickenpox and Gardasil vaccines? Are they aware of other safety issues? How many other whistleblowers do they now know?

31)      And…. have they vaccinated their children with MMR? How many other Merck scientists don't vaccinate their children? 

No doubt the more we knew, the more questions we could add to this list.

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