Tag Archives: Geier

WAPO: Med Board Ordered to Pay Millions for Conspiracy Against Dr. Geier

Autism Investigated Note: The Maryland Board of Physicians has been ordered to pay $2.5 million for its Watergate-like conspiracy against Dr. Mark Geier. Read The Washington Post story below for details. (pro-vax tone aside)

Regulators who targeted anti-vaccine doctor may pay millions for humiliating him

 February 3 at 5:19 PM 

Mark Geier built a medical practice in Rockville and a national reputation for propagating the discredited theory that vaccines cause autism. The Maryland Board of Physicians suspended his license seven years ago because he was treating autistic children with a drug considered dangerous for young people and not known to alleviate symptoms of the disorder.

But the regulators who stripped Geier’s credentials are now in the hot seat, ordered to each personally pay tens of thousands of dollars in damages by a judge who says the board abused its power in an attempt to humiliate the doctor and his family. The board posted a cease-and-desist order on its website in 2012 alleging that Geier had improperly prescribed medication for himself, his wife and his son while his license was suspended. In an unusual move, the order named the drugs in question. Online critics of Geier took notice, mocking the doctor and his family in blogs and comments for their use of the medications.

The Geiers say the state publicized those details for vengeance, to punish a doctor with unconventional ideas. State officials say it was an honest mistake.

But Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Ronald B. Rubin sided with the Geiers, awarding them $2.5 million in damages. He called the order a significant breach of medical privacy and accused the board and its staff of failing to preserve emails related to the case and pleading ignorance about the order on the witness stand.

“If their testimony were to be believed, which the court does not, it is the worst case of collective amnesia in the history of Maryland government and on par with the collective memory failure on display at the Watergate hearings,” Rubin wrote in a December opinion.

He ordered 14 board appointees, the board’s lead attorney and the lead investigator on the Geier case to pay half of the damages out of their own pockets, between $10,000 and $200,000 apiece, depending on their net worth.

A spokeswoman for the state health department, which oversees the board, says the agency tries to balance privacy with a responsibility to inform the public of risks.

The defendants, who are appealing the decision, mostly declined to comment or did not respond to interview requests. Three of them told The Washington Post that the judge’s version of the facts was wrong, and accused him of coming down too hard on volunteers who were donating their time.

“I felt Judge Rubin had a bone to pick with the Board of Physicians. Some of the stuff he came up with is outlandish,” said Jonathan Lerner, who left the board last year. “He set the tone for the future that no one else would want to serve on a board.”

Raquel Coombs, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Attorney General’s Officewhich represents the board, said of the ruling: “We believe there are serious errors in both the facts and the law and will vigorously pursue those on appeal.”

Controversial views

Dr. Mark Geier in 2011 (Jed Kirschbaum/Baltimore Sun)

Mark Geier developed a national following and drew widespread criticism — for espousing his belief that thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative formerly used in childhood vaccines, contributes to autism.

Multiple medical groups and judges dismissed his research as seriously flawedand the vaccine-autism link has been repeatedly debunked. But a growing movement that sees vaccine requirements as an intrusion on parental rights has taken hold in California, Texas and other states, emboldened by President Trump’s embrace during the 2016 campaign of the discredited vaccines-and-autism link.

Public health experts consider “anti-vaxxers” a grave threat to one of the most significant medical developments in human history. Some Facebook users share Geier’s videos to urge against flu shots, even amid the worst flu outbreak in nearly a decade.

But it was Geier’s treatment of autistic children that caught the attention of the Board of Physicians in 2006.

Geier believed mercury from vaccines caused early puberty, aggression and symptoms of autism, and that suppressing testosterone with the drug Lupron — which is approved to treat prostate cancer, endometriosis and fibroids, but also is also used to chemically castrate sex offenders — would reverse those effects.

No credible medical research showed this treatment to be effective for autism, the Board of Physicians noted. The board suspended Geier’s medical license in 2011 and revoked it the next year, citing his methods and saying he had misrepresented his credentials. Several other states also revoked Geier’s medical license, and regulators targeted his son for practicing medicine without a license.

Maryland officials continued to track Mark Geier’s activities, according to the lawsuit the Geiers filed in 2012.

Many of the case records remain under seal. But Rubin’s order shows that board staff were tracking blogs and news articles chronicling Geier’s downfall, mocking him and his son in emails and reveling in their humiliation.

When they got a tip that Mark Geier may have still been prescribing medication, they vowed to look into it. Before holding an evidence hearing, board attorney Victoria Pepper drafted the cease-and-desist order.

Rubin described the decision to name the drugs in the order as an extraordinary breach of privacy for an agency that should know better than anyone else the importance of confidentiality in the medical profession. He pointed to emails sent later on during the probe as evidence of the board’s motivation to embarrass the Geiers.

Pepper referred derisively to the Geiers as “Daddy G” and “Baby G” in emails to Josh Shafer, the board investigator leading the probe of the Geiers.

“Maybe we can help make it a bad month” for the Geiers, Shafer wrote back, using a derogatory reference to the drugs they were using.

Timeline

April 27, 2011: Maryland Board of Physicians suspends Mark Geier’s license

Jan. 25, 2012: Board posts order accusing Geier of prescribing drugs to himself and his son while his license was suspended, naming the drugs in question.

Feb. 5, 2012: Attorney for Geiers sends board letter objecting to publication of private medical information

Feb. 22, 2012: Board removes private information from Geier order, but original still accessible online.

Dec. 29, 2012: Geiers file lawsuit against Maryland Board of Physicians

July 11, 2013: Board removes original order from website

Dec. 7, 2017: Montgomery County judge awards $2.5 million to the Geiers

At trial, Pepper said she knew the Geiers’ private medical information would be online as a result of the order, but didn’t think it would be embarrassing. She said she named the drugs to clarify that they weren’t dangerous controlled substances and named the recipients to clarify that Geier wasn’t prescribing the medication or juveniles. The judge called those reasons “fabrications,” adding that “Pepper viewed Dr. Geier and his practice to be so abhorrent that she was willing to do ‘whatever it took’ to tarnish his reputation.”

Pepper, who still works for the board, did not return repeated emails seeking comment.

All but one member of the Board of Physicians who voted to approve the cease-and-desist order on Jan. 25, 2012 later told the judge they didn’t actually read it.

“It is sort of like looking out an airplane window watching the pilot walking around kicking the rubber and pulling on the metal. I don’t have to go behind him and pull it. I trust the pilot to do his job,” testified Paul Elder, an anesthesiologist from Anne Arundel County who was appointed by former governor Robert L. Ehrlich (R) in 2003 and chaired the board at the time of the Geier investigation. “I trust the Board staff to do their job and construct a document that was ready for signature.”

Elder, who is no longer on the board, did not return repeated messages left at his medical practice.

A legal battle

The Geiers were horrified when they saw their private business was now available for the world to read. Their then-lawyer Jay Schwartz sent the board a letter calling the disclosure of private medical information illegal, and confronted Elder after an unrelated hearing in Annapolis to underscore his point.

The board uploaded a new version of the orderwith the personal information removed. But the original could still be found by a simple Google search, and was uploaded online by a local television station covering the board’s probe of Geier.

The order stayed online even after an administrative law judge decided the allegations it was based on were without merit — Mark Geier didn’t prescribe the drugs, his son David did and the family threatened to sue.

It was not taken down until July 11, 2013, a day after Rubin held a hearing in the lawsuit.

Mark Geier’s wife Anne, who died in October 2014, said during a deposition a few months earlier that she was “humiliated” by the contents of the order.

“How would you feel if somebody put your medical records up and then they laughed at you and made fun of you?” she said. They humiliate you. The whole thing has just ruined my life.”

Mark and David Geier, who moved to Florida in 2012, declined to comment.

Several board members acknowledged in court that posting private medical information was inappropriate, but said they didn’t take any steps to make sure the order was taken down from the website. In what Rubin dubbed “colossal amnesia,” some board members also said they barely knew Mark Geier — who had been the subject of one of their most high-profile cases.

“The Board of Physicians is not an ornamental office. It is a serious public trust. It was breached horribly in this case,” Rubin wrote in his opinion. “They knew, the court finds, that the problem had not been fixed. The court finds they simply did not care.”

Lerner, one of the former board members, said the reason they didn’t follow up was far simpler.

“We trusted the staff member and IT staff members when they said it was taken down,” he said. “I don’t think I’m responsible to go do a Google search.”

Rubin also criticized the board for failing to turn over key emails about the case, many of which were apparently lost when the agency changed email servers in 2012 or overlooked because officials didn’t properly search their private accounts.

“The negative and unprofessional tone and tenor of the few preserved e-mails is manifest,” Rubin wrote. “It is not believable that other e-mails, had they been preserved, would fare better.”

Only one of the 14 board members ordered to pay the Geiers still serves on the board: Beryl J. Rosenstein, who did not return a message left at his medical practice.

Jim Love, an attorney for the Geiers, suggested his clients were targeted for a simple reason.

“Everyone hates the Geiers because they say bad things about vaccines,” Love said. “I don’t know why it’s so personal.”

Kennedy’s Ghostwriter Defended Thimerosal

adam hadhazy

ghostwriter: A person whose job it is to write material for someone else who is the named author. – Oxford Dictionaries

By Jake Crosby

As surprising as Robert F. Kennedy Jr. chopping out the chapters on autism from his book “Thimerosal: Let the Science Speak” while saying there is no proof thimerosal causes autism, is the identity of one of the professional writers he hired to write his book for him. The creator listed in the file properties of Kennedy’s unpublished manuscript had actually defended the neurotoxic vaccine preservative thimerosal, which appears to shed light on Kennedy’s decision to strike the chapters.

Adam Hadhazy is a “freelance science writer” with his own professional website and linkedin account. He also authored a piece for Popular Mechanics in 2010 defending thimerosal, titled “The Truth About 9 Anti-Vaccine Studies.” In it, he quoted millionaire vaccine industrialist Paul Offit as summarizing Dr. Mark Geier’s research on thimerosal and autism “junk.” Hadhazy also called Dr. Andrew Wakefield “discredited” and wrote that his 1998 Lancet paper on children with autism and bowel disease “largely launched the dangerous anti-vaccination movement.”

Adam Hadhazy further cited the letter former CDC researcher  Thomas Verstraeten wrote to Pediatrics falsely stating that CDC did not conceal any evidence  thimerosal causes autism. Citing Paul Offit, Hadhazy suggested that infants can “conservatively handle thousands of vaccines simultaneously”. The take-away point from all this is that Hadhazy is an all-purpose defender of the vaccine program, and he’s written Kennedy’s book for him. Hadhazy’s “substantive, behind the scenes role” in Kennedy striking the chapters connecting thimerosal to autism is more than evident.

In the Washington Post, Dr. Mark Hyman – celebrity doctor who wrote the book’s preface – takes credit for convincing Kennedy to remove the chapters. Yet Dr. Hyman is an awfully strange person to have done so, given that he has no history of writing about thimerosal. Dr. Hyman further echos a familiar pharma talking point: “Yes, there’s been an increase in autism, even as we take out thimerosal” (Ironically, the CDC data Dr. Hyman relied on to defend thimerosal is not even considered reliable by thimerosal defenders). Hadhazy’s piece for Popular Mechanics on thimerosal and vaccines is heavily laden with pharma talking points.

In Kennedy’s officially released book, the entire part on autism is removed including a chapter titled “Autism Rates Decline When Thimerosal Exposure Levels Are Reduced” and another on the government’s concession that vaccines caused autism in Hannah Poling. The entire part critiquing media coverage was removed as well. Even chapters in remaining parts were pulled. Those include chapters on CDC and AAP’s conflicts of interest, the Breusewitz v. Wyeth Supreme Court decision siding with drug companies, the Homeland Security Rider seeking to protect thimerosal maker Eli Lilly and CDC’s intimidation tactics against scientists such as Dr. Mark and David Geier and Prof. Richard Deth. Those chapters were apparently “too combustible” to keep as well, as was the word “Causative” that was taken out of the chapter title that formerly read “The Verstraeten Study – Causative Links between Thimerosal and Neurological Damage.”

Meanwhile, Age of Autism continues to ardently defend Kennedy, saying on its Facebook page: “If you’d like to piss in the cornflakes, find another bowl.”

It looks like Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has already done that to his own bowl.

Jake Crosby is editor of Autism Investigated. He is a 2011 graduate of Brandeis University with a Bachelor of Arts in both History and Health: Science, Society and Policy and a 2013 graduate of The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services with a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology. He currently attends the University of Texas School of Public Health where he is studying for a Ph.D. in Epidemiology.

Watch Jake Crosby’s AutismOne 2014 Talk

Props to AutismOne’s Teri Arranga for her introduction.

Originally posted on AutismOne

So often, when we think of investigating autism, we think of discovering the physiological underpinnings. But what about the sociological forces that perpetuate the autism epidemic? Politics from without? Or – surprisingly – politics from within? In this startling lecture, Jacob Crosby, MPH, discusses the obstructionist forces that have hampered progress within the autism advocacy arena.

Jake Crosby, MPH

Jake Crosby is editor of Autism Investigated. He is a 2011 graduate of Brandeis University with a bachelor’s degree in both history and health and a 2013 graduate of The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services with a master’s degree in epidemiology. He currently attends the University of Texas School of Public Health where he is studying for a PhD in epidemiology. For nearly five years, he was contributing editor to Age of Autism.

Originally posted at AutismOne

AutismOne is a non-profit charity organization 501(c)(3) started by a small group of parents of children with autism. Parents are and must remain the driving force of our community, the stakes are too high and the issues too sacred to delegate to outside interests. AUTISM IS A PREVENTABLE/TREATABLE BIOMEDICAL CONDITION. Autism is the result of environmental triggers. Autism is not caused by “bad” genes and the epidemic is not the result of “better” diagnosis. Children with autism suffer from gut bugs, allergies, heavy metal toxicity, mitochondrial disorders, antioxidant deficiencies, nutritional deficiencies and autoimmune diseases – all of which are treatable. THE KEY IS EDUCATION The AutismOne Conference, AutismOne Radio, AutismOne Outreach and Autism in Action initiatives educate more than 100,000 families every year about prevention, recovery, safety, and change.

Originally posted at AutismOne

 

Addendum: See AutismOne Slides

Mark Blaxill’s Thimerosal Backtrack: An Act To Throw The Omnibus?

actIIthecurtainpostomnibus

By Jake Crosby

Following the disclosure of emails on Autism Investigated in which Mark Blaxill responded to the lead omnibus attorney in vaccine court with attacks on expert witnesses Dr. Mark and David Geier, Autism Investigated reader John Best made an astute observation about the attorney’s email. Within that email, the attorney wrote:

“…we realize that we have to  deal with the fact that the increase has continued beyond the removal of thimerosal, but we have to convince the Special Masters that something in the environment, perhaps several somethings, is triggering symptoms of ASD in many kids.”

To which John Best responded in a comment:

“The lawyers claimed they had to account for the increase [in autism] after thimerosal was all gone and that they had to blame something in the environment. So, the lawyers admitted right there that they were throwing the case intentionally. Too bad the statute of limitations for legal malpractice has passed. Those words are all that are needed to hang them.
Did they think the whole world was too stupid to know that shooting 25 mcg of thimerosal into pregnant women equated to 200 times the alleged “safe” dose of mercury?
Jake, you should have entitled this: Lawyers Admit Throwing Case.”

To which I responded:

“That was almost certainly Mark Blaxill’s doing:
http://www.autisminvestigated.com/mark-blaxill-danish-fraudulent/

He claimed to change his views in a 2007 email to Dr. Brian Hooker based on the premature conclusion that reported autism prevalence still going up in California was evidence against thimerosal’s role in the autism epidemic, yet also cited the very Danish numbers Blaxill once called “uninformative and potentially misleading” to defend thimerosal right after being informed of their fraudulent nature by Dr. Hooker. What this would suggest is that Blaxill’s representation of himself as a leading proponent of thimerosal’s significance in causing the autism epidemic only to backtrack from his position later was all just an act to sink the omnibus and strike a PR victory for pharma.”

The latest component of this act that I did not mention in the above comment, however, is Blaxill’s downplaying of harm from thimerosal and vaccines in general. Neither was mentioned in Mark Blaxill’s speech before Congress, nor are they in the mission statement of the Canary Party that he chairs and founded. Such minimization of thimerosal’s harm helps prevent some of the worst perpetrators of the thimerosal cover-up from facing justice for burying evidence of its role in causing the autism epidemic. And the lead actor pretends to have no ties to the pharmaceutical industry when he still does.

It is about time someone drew the curtain on his act.

Jake Crosby is editor of Autism Investigated and is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. He is a 2011 graduate of Brandeis University with a Bachelor of Arts in both History and Health: Science, Society and Policy and a 2013 graduate of The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services with a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology. He currently attends the University of Texas School of Public Health where he is studying for a Ph.D. in Epidemiology.

Mark Blaxill Remains Connected To BCG – A Pharma-Tied Consulting Firm

boston_consulting_group

By Jake Crosby

Revelations about Mark Blaxill’s ties to his former employer the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and its pharmaceutical clients – in contradiction to what he said in a recently recorded interview on Linderman Unleashed – have now come to the attention of Autism Investigated. These discoveries were made on the heels of even more troubling evidence coming to light: see the previous post about Mark Blaxill turning the lead omnibus attorneys against expert witnesses Dr. Mark and David Geier with baseless and profane attacks against them.

In spite of Mark Blaxill claiming on Linderman Unleashed that he was fired from the BCG – suggesting his autism advocacy played a role – he appears to have voluntarily left the firm for the purpose of starting his own company and for reasons wholly unrelated to autism. In fact, Blaxill still maintains ties to BCG despite no longer being employed with the firm as Senior Vice President and despite claiming he no longer has a conflict of interest “of any kind.” Blaxill also falsely claimed to have always consulted for non-pharmaceutical clients while a BCG executive, merely admitting the firm had pharmaceutical clients but he in fact concealed from Linderman’s audience that he had consulted for Merck during his BCG employment.

Here’s the story he gave on his podcast interview with Curt Linderman, dated October 24, 2013, regarding his BCG departure:

“And then in 2006 – early in 2006 not very long after Evidence of Harm came out – all of a sudden I found myself without a job, and I was no longer at the Boston Consulting Group…I did have issues that concerned me, and it actually didn’t stop me from speaking out, Curt, but it did worry me a little, and who knows? Maybe my worries were founded because I’m not working there anymore, and that was not my choice.”

However, the book Lords of Strategy: The Secret Intellectual History of the New Corporate World by Walter Kiechel tells a story about Mark Blaxill’s departure from Boston Consulting Group (BCG) that totally contradicts what Blaxill told Linderman. According to Kiechel:

“Blaxill wanted to push on to the issue of motivation, of why people worked on Linux for free, even into issues of creativity, but couldn’t find the time or support within the firm for exploring those dimensions. “The antibodies resisted that,” he says. In 2006, Blaxill left BCG to set up his own firm, 3LP Advisors, to concentrate on the intersection of strategy, intellectual property, and innovation.”  

In his interview on Linderman, Blaxill said 3LP Advisors was founded as a result of his firing from Boston Consulting Group, claiming the termination of his employment “was not my choice.” Yet not only was it his choice according to Kiechel, but in fact Blaxill left Boston Consulting Group so that he could found 3LP Advisors to practice his own business strategy the way he liked – nothing to do with autism.

Linderman then further questioned Blaxill specifically about his conflict of interest with Boston Consulting Group since 2006:

“To me it would seem as if you were still with this company and you still had this conflict of interest, and that is not the case since 2006?”

To which Blaxill replied by emphatically denying possession of any conflict of interest:

“Curt, I don’t have a conflict of interest of any kind now, and I have not had one for years. I haven’t had a conflict since I started the Age of Autism with JB Handley and Dan Olmsted and Kim Stagliano back in 2007. I haven’t had a conflict since I wrote the book The Age of Autism. I haven’t had a conflict since starting the Canary Party. The only time I had a conflict was when I was helping David Kirby and contributing to the Evidence of Harm book. And it’s even in the book, Curt; I have never hid the conflict. I’ve actually been public with people and open with people about the concerns I’ve had. So it’s not as though there is any great secrets I was keeping. And whatever concern I had, it is not operative any longer.”

However, Blaxill remains a board member of the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC), which has received over $25,000 annually from Boston Consulting Group. Serving on the board with him is none other than Boston Consulting Group’s Chairman of the Board Carl Stern.

ICIC’s chairman and founder as well as Harvard Business School Prof. Michael Porter was thanked in no uncertain terms in the acknowledgements section of the book Blaxill coauthored in 2009 with his business partner Ralph Eckardt, “The Invisible Edge: Taking Your Strategy to the Next Level Using Intellectual Property:

“[The Boston Consulting Group Founder’s] ideas have been extended and enriched by the academic and consulting community in Boston, most notably by Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter, on one hand, and our former colleagues at BCG on another.”

Blaxill and Eckardt then summed up their relationship with Prof. Porter as follows:

“Michael Porter has been a teacher, a collaborator, a client, and a friend.” 

It seems Blaxill and Eckardt are not the only ones with high praise for Prof. Porter. When Porter was awarded a prestigious University Professorship at Harvard, Merck’s then-chairman, president and CEO Raymond Gilmartin (who later resigned over the Vioxx scandal and became a Harvard Business School Professor himself) told the Harvard Gazette:

“Through his research, teaching, and writing, Mike Porter has made an indelible mark on businesses and markets everywhere. His leading-edge research has directly influenced the strategies and competitiveness of individual firms and the nation. More recently, he has helped to identify the key drivers of innovation, which has now become the basis of global competition. His insights are directly relevant to understanding the vital ingredients for success in a host of industries, including pharmaceuticals.”

Clearly Blaxill has much to gain by serving on ICIC’s board of directors with his former employer BCG’s Chairman of the Board while under Prof. Porter’s chairmanship. ICIC’s website boasts that the organization’s partners “gain as well as give.” It’s hard to fathom how Blaxill could honestly claim on Linderman to not possess a conflict of interest “of any kind.”

But Blaxill was not even honest in the Linderman interview about what he did during his past employment for BCG. He claimed:

“…I always worked with industrial companies, automotive, forest products, computers-type companies, but they also had pharmaceutical clients.”

But he did not solely work with those companies, because Blaxill consulted for Merck directly as a BCG employee himself. In 2010, he told me he had visited Merck’s headquarters in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey. Later at a 2011 gathering in Waltham, Massachusetts, where Blaxill announced his preliminary plans to found the Canary Party – I overheard him telling someone about his experience consulting for Merck, describing his former clients as “not that smart.”

Despite suggesting his departure from Boston Consulting Group was some sort of martyrdom for his autism advocacy and that he no longer has any ties to the firm, it appears that Mark Blaxill was not fired, but left on his own terms wholly unrelated to autism and even remains connected to his former employer who continues to serve pharmaceutical clients.

Jake Crosby is editor of Autism Investigated and is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. He is a 2011 graduate of Brandeis University with a Bachelor of Arts in both History and Health: Science, Society and Policy and a 2013 graduate of The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services with a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology. He currently attends the University of Texas School of Public Health where he is studying for a Ph.D. in Epidemiology.

Autism Investigated Announces Awards for 2013

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On New Year’s Eve, Autism Investigated announces its awards for 2013 looking back on the highlights of the year and the lessons learned – an award for each of five categories listed below. As I told one reader:

“2012 was a year of blissful ignorance whereas 2013 was a year of hard lessons – they were not easy to learn, but I think we will all be better off because of them. Here’s to an enlightened new year.”

I feel this sentiment is very strongly reflected in Autism Investigated’s awards for this year – a year when Autism Investigated only existed for the second half, but an eventful year nonetheless.

So here they are: Autism Investigated’s Awards for 2013!

Scientist of the Year: Dr. Brian Hooker

A researcher, professor, parent and advocate, Dr. Brian Hooker exemplifies scientific integrity, courage and persistence. Having organized the congressional hearing in 2012, Dr. Hooker works tirelessly to expose the scientific corruption of CDC and related groups that are implicated in the government cover-up of vaccines’ role in causing autism in children, especially vaccines containing the mercury-based, neurotoxic preservative thimerosal. He has made tremendous inroads with Congress despite overwhelming adversity, even from groups that claim to agree with his activities. Nonetheless, he remains unyielding in his pursuit of justice for countless vaccine-injured children, including his own son.

Thank you, Dr. Hooker!

Scoop of the Year: Mark Blaxill’s Early Interference in Autism Omnibus

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(Click to enlarge.)

Last October, Autism Investigated was sent email exchanges from 2003 and 2004 between members of SafeMinds and the lead petitioners’ attorney  in the autism omnibus proceeding for 4,900 children who developed autism after vaccination and were seeking federal compensation. The emails reveal that members of SafeMinds were being retained as consultants in the litigation. The email exchanges also reveal some troubling remarks by Mark Blaxill, then-board member of SafeMinds. Below are statements he has made in those emails to the attorney against petitioners’ expert witnesses Dr. Mark and David Geier as well as against suing in general. Also disturbing is his reference to his employer’s pharmaceutical clients.

Direct quotes from Mark Blaxill’s emails:

“The issue I will confess to the most difficulty with is the “sue the bastards” model…Please recognize, though, that my firm has clients on the other side and so I cannot–in fairness to my partners–get directly involved in the quest for money. I only am interested in the quest for the truth….I would say there are a few lawyers I’ve run into that make my discomfort really sharp.”

“As to the Geiers, I may be a bit of a minority voice here, but I worry very much that they can do our cause more harm than good. They are not very good scientists, write bad papers (both writing badly and reporting in sloppy fashion) and attract too much attention to themselves as individuals. In this last regard, they don’t show nearly as well as Andy Wakefield but they’re trying to play the same role. Frankly, if I were on the other side and were asked to critique their work, I could rip it to shreds. I’m surprised they haven’t been hit harder. So I think you are wise to diversify.”

I have not been a big fan of the Geiers. I worry they do not represent our side well. They often do sloppy work.”

In response to the last quote by Blaxill, the attorney replied:

“Thanks, Mark, very helpful.”

The autism omnibus eventually collapsed and thousands of children were denied justice. In a podcast interview last October, Mark Blaxill said he was not apologetic about anything he has done.

Quote of the Year: Dr. Boyd Haley on Mark Blaxill and the Geiers

After the above email passages were posted on Autism Investigated, emeritus chemistry professor, scientist and leading authority on mercury toxicity Dr. Boyd Haley responded in the below email:

I know both Mark Blaxill and Mark & David Geier fairly well. Mr. Blaxill does not have the biological science and medical training of the Geier’s and most of their articles address issues on the biological level. I have critically read most of the publications by the Geier’s and I seriously doubt that Mr. Blaxill could shred this research even though he may think he could.

Boyd E. Haley, PhD
President
CTI Science, Inc.

Irony of the Year: Tina Brown runs bogus autism-and-pedophilia-linking article, despite having son with autism.

Tinabrownson

Last August, The Daily Beast ran an article by Eustacia Cutler – mother of internationally famous autistic advocate and animal scientist Dr. Temple Grandin – falsely claiming autistic men have an affinity for pedophilia. Dr. Grandin distanced herself after the article was written following an inquiry by Autism Investigated. The major irony to emerge from this is that Tina Brown – editor of The Daily Beast – has an adult son with Asperger Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder. She did not respond when confronted about the story on Twitter. The following month, Tina Brown stepped down as editor of The Daily Beast.

Event of the Year: NVICP Congressional Hearing Cancellation

Cancelled

The event of the year – or rather non-event of the year – goes to the cancellation of the congressional hearing on the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP). By asking Congress to investigate NVICP, Canary Party was able to prevent the CDC cover-up of vaccine dangers from gaining exposure in a congressional hearing despite the organization’s false promises to Dr. Brian Hooker that it would ask specifically for an investigation into the malfeasance. Then at a Canary Party Briefing held the month before the anticipated NVICP hearing, the case of vaccine-injured child Hannah Poling was misrepresented. After her mother Terry Poling protested in the comments of Age of Autism – the blog sponsored by Canary Party and edited by its chairman Mark Blaxill – Age of Autism took down the video of the briefing without explanation. After the incident was written about on Autism Investigated, Age of Autism claimed technical failure before finally re-uploading the video three days after its removal. That night, Autism Investigated received word that the December-scheduled NVICP congressional hearing that Canary Party was instrumental in lobbying for was cancelled. The reason, according to one reliable legal source, was that NVICP is an “overly divisive issue.”

Jake Crosby is editor of Autism Investigated and is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. He is a 2011 graduate of Brandeis University with a Bachelor of Arts in both History and Health: Science, Society and Policy and a 2013 graduate of The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services with a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology. He currently attends the University of Texas School of Public Health where he is studying for a Ph.D. in Epidemiology.