Tag Archives: President Trump

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.”

BREAKING: BRENDA FITZGERALD RESIGNS AS CDC CHIEF

“I take it back!” Brenda Fitzgerald being sworn into office.

Brenda Fitzgerald resigns as CDC director.

Statement from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Regarding CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald

“This morning Secretary Azar accepted Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald’s resignation as Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Dr. Fitzgerald owns certain complex financial interests that have imposed a broad recusal limiting her ability to complete all of her duties as the CDC Director. Due to the nature of these financial interests, Dr. Fitzgerald could not divest from them in a definitive time period.   After advising Secretary Azar of both the status of the financial interests and the scope of her recusal, Dr. Fitzgerald tendered, and the Secretary accepted, her resignation.  The Secretary thanks Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald for her service and wishes her the best in all her endeavors.”

— HHS Spokesman Matt Lloyd

Read Autism Investigated’s open letter to President Trump last summer to protest Dr. Fitzgerald’s appointment to CDC director. Selected excerpt:

If you want a genuine vaccine safety commission as you promised Robert F. Kennedy Jr., it will not work with federal agency heads all wanting to keep the status quo. You have already appointed someone to run the FDA who has testified that he will challenge you on vaccine safety. There was no major outcry then because, unlike CDC, FDA does not dictate federal vaccine policy.

Lilly Exec’s HHS Nomination Leaves Autism Problem to POTUS

Before the election, Donald Trump said of the problem that is the autism epidemic: “I’ll fix it.” He will fix it, not a surrogate.

That is all the more important to remember now that President Trump has just nominated former Lilly president Alex Azar to run HHS. Now more than ever, Trump must be held accountable for his promise.

From FiercePharma:

Ex-Eli Lilly executive Azar wins Trump’s nomination for top HHS post

by Eric Sagonowsky

President Donald Trump has picked a pharma insider to oversee the HHS. Just days after news that Trump was set to select ex-Eli Lilly executive Alex Azar for the U.S. government’s top healthcare post, he tweeted the nomination Monday morning.

Trump picked Azar for the HHS chief position above other candidates such as Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services director Seema Verma and FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, according to press reports on the selection process. Azar, who has served as an HHS deputy secretary during the George W. Bush administration and as Eli Lilly’s U.S. president, will be tasked with advancing the president’s repeal and replace push for the Affordable Care Act and ostensibly with tackling high pharmaceutical prices, an issue Trump campaigned on and has touched on during his time in the White House. But so far, critics contend the Trump Administration’s actions and proposals have only favored the industry. 


RELATED: Trump poised to nominate ex-Lilly executive Alex Azar for top HHS job: report

Trump famously said pharma is “getting away with murder,” and previously crossed party lines to endorse Medicare price negotiations. Still, drug pricing talk hasn’t gotten serious in Congress and four Congressmen wrote to the president last month to say his “inaction” on their Medicare negotiation proposal has left them with no option other than to press ahead alone.

Cowen analyst Eric Assaraf, for his part, wrote in a note seen by Business Insider that even though “Trump specifically called out lowering drug prices in his announcement of Azar, we don’t believe his appointment will mark a change in course in that realm.” After leaving Lilly as part of an executive shakeup earlier this year, Azar formed a consultancy as he explored “new leadership opportunities,” according to an online speaker profile.

Reacting to Azar’s selection, Senate Finance Committee ranking member Sen. Ron Wyden said the president “at every turn … has broken his promises to American families to lower health care costs, expand access and bring down the high price of prescription drugs.” Sen. Wyden said he’ll ask Azar to take “take decisive, meaningful action to curtail the runaway train of prescription drug costs.”

It isn’t the first time President Trump has selected an industry insider for a top government job. The president earlier this year tapped Scott Gottlieb—who was pharma’s top pick by a wide margin—for the crucial FDA commissioner post. During his time at the agency, Gottlieb has won praise for his moves to increase competition and provide relief on pricing, as well as to speed the FDA’s approval process.

Gottlieb’s name was one floated for the HHS chief position after former secretary Tom Price resigned in September, but the FDA commissioner said in a Reuters interview he felt he is “most effective” at the drug agency.

Azar’s nomination is sure to encounter more pushback. On earlier reports that the ex-Lilly executive was under consideration, Public Citizen founder Robert Weissman said if Azar wins the nod, “then Big Pharma’s coup d’etat in the healthcare sphere will be virtually complete.”

Azar has argued against drug price controls in the past, Weissman said at the time, making it “highly unlikely” he would “advance real reform” on the issue.

Eli Lilly Executive Likely To Be HHS Secretary – And No, This Is Not A Joke

Former Lilly USA President Alex Azar is likely to be appointed new HHS Secretary according to anonymous White House sources. Eli Lilly is the company that introduced thimerosal, the toxic, mercury-based vaccine preservative still used in vaccines given to children and pregnant women. It has also been proven to cause autism.

If President Trump nominates Azar for the position, it will represent a marked departure from Trump’s pre-election promises to “fix” the autism epidemic. Previously, Autism Investigated heavily protested the appointment of the current CDC director Brenda Fitzgerald. Trump also nominated Scott Gottlieb to run FDA, a major pharma shill and defender of dangerous vaccines.

Azar’s appointment would truly be a case of the revolving door coming full-circle. Before working as an executive for Eli Lilly for 10 years, Azar was deputy HHS Secretary and general counsel for HHS under the Bush Administration. Azar was at HHS when GOP Senator Bill Frist led an effort to shield Lilly from litigation while he was receiving thousands in campaign contributions.

How is it that a president who met with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. earlier this year to discuss a vaccine safety commission ends up appointing an executive from one of the biggest corporate perpetrators of vaccine injury? How is it that that same president met with Dr. Andrew Wakefield last year?

The White House had reportedly been arranging for Kennedy to meet with officials from the FDA and NIH. Not surprisingly, those agencies dismissed his concerns yet again. Does President Trump expect that having an Eli Lilly executive at the top of HHS will somehow change that? How can he take the vaccine issue seriously if he’s putting people with deep industry ties in high government positions? If Trump’s appointees are not willing to take action on this important issue, then President Trump should directly intervene.

But setting the vaccine issue aside, there is another issue with Azar running HHS: his primary support for a presidential candidate with very, very low energy.

Please Extradite Danish Fraud Poul Thorsen to the US, President Trump!

Office of the Inspector General, Department of Health and Human Services

Last year, Autism Investigated’s editor publicly spoke out at the annual AutismOne  conference in favor of renewed efforts to push for extradition of vaccine-autism link “debunker” Poul Thorsen. This year, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is leading the push to do just that:

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and World Mercury Project Issue Report Regarding New Evidence of Ongoing Corruption and Scientific Misconduct at CDC

Kennedy hopes new evidence and a fresh look at criminal misconduct will result in law enforcement action, rigorous and transparent vaccine safety science, and safer vaccines.

In a new report released September 18, 2017, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and his team outlined various criminal acts on the part of employees and consultants for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) whose questionable ethics and scientific fraud have resulted in untrustworthy vaccine safety science.

Among other information, Kennedy has found additional evidence of criminal activity by the CDC consultant, Poul Thorsen, the author and principal coordinator of multiple CDC studies exonerating the mercury-based preservative thimerosal in the development of autism.

The new evidence, recently uncovered World Mercury Project, shows that Thorsen and his collaborators did not obtain permission from an Institutional Review Board (IRB) to conduct their research, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2002 and Pediatrics in 2003. In 2011, The Department of Justice indicted Thorsen on 22 counts of wire fraud and money laundering for stealing over $1 million in CDC grant money earmarked for autism research. The product of Thorsen’s work for CDC was a series of fraud-tainted articles on Danish autism rates that, today, form the backbone of the popular orthodoxy that vaccines don’t cause autism.

In 2009, when CDC discovered that Thorsen never applied for the IRB approvals, staff did not report the errors and retract the studies. Rather, FOIA documents show that CDC supervisors ignored the missteps and covered up the illegal activity.

This misconduct, undermines the legitimacy of these studies, which were used to refute vaccine injury claims in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP). The studies were also used in the NVICP’s “Omnibus” to dismiss 5000 petitions by families who claimed that their children had developed autism from vaccines. These claims, if settled in the claimants’ favor, would have resulted in payouts totaling an estimated $10 billion.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Chairman, stated, “World Mercury Project calls upon Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, to extradite Thorsen back to the U.S. to face prosecution. We also call upon Secretary of Health and Human Services, Dr. Tom Price, to retract the Thorsen-affiliated autism research papers that are the fruit of illegally conducted research.”

Originally published at World Mercury Project

EPOCH TIMES: Italy’s New Mandatory Vaccine Law Will Fuel A Populist Backlash

(Courtesy of Health Freedom Idaho)

Autism Investigated Note: A new day, a new epoch! Autism Investigated’s editor breaks his two-year hiatus from contributing to The Epoch Times to describe Italy’s growing populist movement against mandatory vaccination.

On July 28, a new law passed final approval in Italian parliament that will impose steep fines, school segregation and exclusion from daycare on families who refuse to vaccinate their children according to the Ministry of Health’s schedule.

In the months leading up to the law’s passage, the measure was met with stiff resistance and mass protest by opponents who correctly argue that the law would infringe on their personal liberties. With a strong populist opposition movement already surging in Italy—which opposed the new law—voters will undoubtedly be thinking about this law when they vote in next year’s Italian election.

Italy’s 5 Star Movement (Movimento 5 Stelle, or M5S for short) has been surging in Italian election polls and is already neck-and-neck with the ruling party: Italy’s very own Democratic Party (Partico Democratico).

M5S’s leader Beppe Grillo, like President Donald Trump, had already made a name for himself on television long before entering politics. A professional comedian, Grillo’s specialty was political satire. But M5S is no more a satire than Trump’s campaign was a reality show; M5S is now the most formidable populist opposition party in Europe.

Last December, M5S played a major role in opposing constitutional changes proposed by then-Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. They were voted down in a referendum by a 60 percent majority, resulting in Renzi’s resignation. Yet Renzi’s Democratic Party is still bold enough to lead the push for national vaccine mandates, despite what also happened in America.

Renzi’s political counterpart Barack Obama denied there were any reasons to not get vaccinated. Hillary Clinton made it clear in a tweet to her millions of followers that vaccination should not be questioned. California’s Democratic Party was also behind a state law signed by Governor Jerry Brown in June 2015 that stripped away religious and philosophical exemptions from vaccination.

By contrast, America’s own populist candidate Donald Trump said on a debate stage in front of millions of viewers that he supported spacing out vaccines and that he believed this would have a huge impact on autism. His then-opponent, former director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Dr. Ben Carson agreed with Trump about spacing vaccines out. Carson also later endorsed Trump during the primaries.

The voters who elected Trump and rejected Clinton knew where both candidates stood on vaccinations. Similarly, Italian voters will head to the ballots in next year’s election knowing that Italy’s populists stood up for their vaccine exemption rights while Italy’s Democrats stripped them away.

Jake Crosby is editor of the website Autism Investigated. Crosby has a masters in Public Health in epidemiology. In 2016, he worked as both a campaign field representative and as a volunteer to elect President Trump and other GOP candidates. He has also made freelance contributions to the Autism Media Channel and the Children’s Medical Safety Research Institute

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Epoch Times.

Originally published on The Epoch Times

CDC Director Tweets Vaccine Indoctrination Video

Brenda Fitzgerald has just tweeted an indoctrination video about how great Rotavirus and pneumonia vaccines are, proclaiming vaccines one of the greatest achievements of the last decade. Meanwhile, vaccines were giving countless American children autism that entire time.

What did President Trump expect when he let such a person take that position? He campaigned on a platform of vaccine safety, which would require the CDC to stop lying about poisoning children. Yet he appointed exactly the wrong person for the job.

Has President Trump backed down from his promise to put together a vaccine safety commission, even though he insisted he wouldn’t? If he hasn’t, how will such a commission function with someone like Fitzgerald running CDC? She has nothing to lose from undermining such a commission. If Trump gets voted out and she gets replaced, she’ll just get her cozy job at pharma four years sooner.

A federal agency may work more efficiently if it’s run by someone who thinks like her subordinates, but in this case it’s efficiency for an evil purpose. The people working under Fitzgerald who are part of the problem should not be at CDC either. They belong at pharmaceutical companies, at best.

Dr. Peter Hotez Hopes to Mandate Vaccines by Importing Measles

Despite pushing for mandatory vaccinations, Baylor College vaccine developer Dr. Peter Hotez vocally opposed President Trump’s travel ban on multiple measles-endemic countries.

Last January, Hotez told Nature News:

“Scientific communities across the world need collaborators in these countries who can combat epidemics before they arrive in the US,” 

Never mind that the ban applies to citizens of those countries coming here, not US citizens going there. Nothing about Hotez’s statement suggests any priority given to preventing epidemics from arriving to the US. How can the US count on failed states like Somalia to prevent its people from bringing measles here without placing any restrictions on who comes here?

The ongoing measles outbreak among Somalis in Minnesota started when the ban on Somalian travelers was being stalled by activist judges. Now the travel ban on Somalia and other measles-endemic countries is finally allowed to go into effect (for now). That may hamper the virus’ ability to travel from Africa directly to the US.

It is less likely, however, to prevent the virus from spreading to the US through Europe like it did to California at the beginning of the migrant crisis. Yet European countries continue to open their borders to infectious migrants while stripping citizens of vaccine exemption rights.

Undoubtedly, people like Hotez want that repeated here. The Texas politicians who voted for a failed, privacy-invading bill that would publicize immunization rates in schools also overwhelmingly support sanctuary cities. Houston – whose mayor personally intervened to censor Vaxxed – is one of those cities.

If school vaccine coverage rates are published, why not also publish a percentage breakdown of each school’s population by national origin? That may be a better indicator of a school’s likelihood of having an imported measles outbreak. Nobody has to be identified either, but the vaccine industry would never push for that.

And why would they? If measles is stopped from entering the US through common sense immigration policy, that would kill the vaccine industry’s ability to challenge vaccine exemptions through mandatory vaccination. As Hotez told that crooked Vice reporter, he hopes measles gets brought to Texas so that legislators will be more likely to mandate vaccines:

“The only thing that’s going to stop this runaway train right now is a large measles outbreak,” 

That runaway train Hotez is referring to is not the measles itself, it’s exemptions from the vaccines that damage children’s brains. Hotez has a daughter with autism, so no prizes for guessing why he really wants vaccine mandates. His persistent anger at anti-vaccinationists is fueled by his denial that his daughter’s autism could have been vaccine-caused. The more likely measles gets imported, the more likely he can take that anger out on anti-vaccinationists by punishing us with vaccine mandates.

Now it all makes sense why he opposed the president’s travel ban while living in a sanctuary city for illegal immigrants. He wants to spread a measles epidemic to the US!

Ask CDC Director If She Agrees With Gagging Dr. William Thompson!

It’s finally happened! More than a week into her new job as CDC Director, Brenda Fitzgerald has produced her first tweet!

Yes, Dr. Fitzgerald. Actually, there is some info you can share with us. Three weeks before the election, your predecessor blocked CDC whistleblower Dr. William Thompson from testifying in a deposition. Then-CDC director Thomas Frieden’s exact words were as follows:

“Dr. William Thompson’s deposition testimony would not substantially promote the objectives of CDC or HHS.”

Do you agree with that statement, Dr. Fitzgerald? If nothing was covered up, then surely his testimony wouldn’t be a problem for you. If something was covered up, doesn’t the public deserve to know what went on in your agency 15 years ago? Especially if it has major implications for the health of children?

Shortly before your 2014 pro-vaccine op-ed, the since-elected president said this:

Then later that year, what do you know? CDC “research” concerning a one-time, massive shot known as the MMR turned out to be the result of misconduct, according to one of your own employees. Trump called it like it is:

As you probably know, President Trump spoke out on vaccine dangers in the second GOP debate. As president-elect, he wanted to establish a vaccine safety commission which Newt Gingrich supported. Did he really say all that only to appoint another stooge who would cover up the evidence again?

Wall Street Journal: CDC Director Says She Is A “Strong Advocate for Vaccines”

New CDC Chief Lays Out Priorities as Agency Faces Cuts

 
Brenda Fitzgerald, the new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said she will prioritize a wide range of public health issues, from fighting infectious disease to strengthening early-childhood development.


By Betsy McKay

The new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said she will prioritize a wide range of public health issues, from fighting infectious disease to strengthening early-childhood development, as the federal agency faces potentially substantial budget cuts.

In an interview at the end of her first week on the job, Brenda Fitzgerald said she would make a strong case for public health spending should the agency fall on tough times.

“When there are austere times, the most important factor is that you have to know what your mission is,” Dr. Fitzgerald said. “You make sure what you’re doing is indeed fulfilling that role, because there are certain things that I believe only public health can do,” she said.

The Trump administration has proposed a $1.22 billion, or 17%, cut to the CDC’s budget for fiscal 2018, including reductions in chronic disease prevention and epidemic preparedness.

Many public health experts welcomed Dr. Fitzgerald’s July 7 appointment, because she is a public health advocate and leader. But she has been criticized for a Georgia childhood obesity program that accepted funds from Coca-Cola Co.’s foundation and for offering controversial anti-aging remedies as a practicing obstetrician-gynecologist.

Dr. Fitzgerald, 71 years old, grew up in Middlesboro, Ky., a town in coal-mining country. She “met this cute boy in medical school” at Emory University and has been in Georgia ever since, practicing as an OB-GYN for three decades, raising a daughter and son, and serving state Republican leaders. She was Georgia’s public health commissioner from 2011 until she was named to her CDC post.

Brenda Fitzgerald said she would make a strong case for public health spending should the agency fall on tough times.Photo: Melissa Golden for The Wall Street Journal

She said she is commuting to her new job from her home in Carrollton, Ga., nearly 60 miles west of Atlanta because “that cute boy I married—he grew up there. He’s not moving.”

She calls herself a “strong advocate for vaccines” and says she supports making reliable contraception available, two issues that have been scrutinized by the new administration.

Rates of premature births can be brought down by spacing births, saving on health-care costs, she said, an approach that generally requires contraception. Caring for a premature infant in the first year, of life costs about 10 times as much as caring for a healthy, full-term baby, making it one of the most expensive health-care needs, and that added costs extend well beyond the first year. “It’s huge,” she said.

She believes decisions about abortion should be made “between a woman and her doctor,” with limitations. “There’s absolutely no case once a child is viable,” she said. But, she added, “I did not do abortions in my practice.”

The CDC collects data on abortions but doesn’t fund them.

Dr. Fitzgerald said that preventing the spread of infectious disease will remain a priority for the agency. “Quite frankly, it’s our responsibility,” she said.

That includes doing more to prevent antibiotic resistance, tracking emerging infections overseas and helping other countries build their infectious-disease-fighting capacities, she said.

Battling the U.S.’s biggest killers will also be a focus for the CDC under her leadership, she said, though she didn’t cite specifics. Fighting opioid addiction—which killed more than 33,000 people in the U.S. in 2015—is a priority for the administration, her spokeswoman said.

She said she also wants to make advances in an area she championed as Georgia’s public health commissioner: children’s early brain development. “If we can change something at the very beginning that is a simple intervention like language development, that’s a phenomenal chance to influence that child’s entire life,” she said.

Dr. Fitzgerald has come under fire for the Georgia SHAPE childhood obesity program, which took $1 million from 2013 to 2015 from the Coca-Cola Foundation to promote physical activity.

She said that the state purposely sought partners from every sector, including large area employers such as Coca-Cola, to join its $57 million program. The program promotes eating fresh fruits and vegetables in addition to physical activity, she said.

“I think if you’re going to solve a big problem, you’ve got to have a public-private partnership,” she said. “What you have to do is start at that place on which there is agreement and work from there.”

As a practicing OB-GYN, Dr. Fitzgerald said she took continuing education courses to become a fellow in anti-aging medicine after getting many questions from menopausal patients. Such therapies include bioidentical hormones, which are identical in molecular structure to the hormones women make in their bodies.

They are often marketed as a safer alternative to traditional hormone replacement therapy, but have skeptics because they haven’t been well studied. The Food and Drug Administration says it doesn’t have evidence that bioidentical hormones are safer or more effective than other hormone products.

“One, I was curious, two, I wanted to see what the scientific data was there,” she said. “I wanted to be able to answer patients’ questions.”

She said she believes there is more research to be done on the therapies. She said she closed her OB-GYN practice when she became public health commissioner in Georgia, and “I will not be practicing private medicine here at CDC.”

Write to Betsy McKay at betsy.mckay@wsj.com

Originally published in The Wall Street Journalavailable without subscription here.