Tag Archives: Scott Gottlieb

Lawyer Selling Trump Access Shares Vaccine Troll’s Blog with Pharma CEO

Michael Cohen at the Trump Tower, Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A blog by vaccine troll David Gorski was shared with Novartis’ CEO by then-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen. According to a Senate minority report, Cohen was trying to sell White House access to his then-client Novartis.

As would be expected, Gorski feigned surprise at the news.

Yet he appears to have already known who would be appointed to run FDA. The blog’s sharing was followed by a meeting between the President, Trump and pharmaceutical executives. S&P Market Intelligence says what happened next:

the Novartis CEO arranged a phone call with Cohen, where the lawyer said he was knowledgeable about the individuals the president was likely to appoint and could provide the company with information about how those people would approach the healthcare-related issues the drugmaker was focused on.

Industry-friendly appointments were subsequently made to top posts at FDA (Scott Gottlieb), HHS (Alex Azar), NIH (Francis Collins) and at CDC (Brenda Fitzgerald, then Robert Redfield). The vaccine safety commission President Trump promised remains unformed. Cohen was also trying to get Novartis to invest in an autism therapy developed by a Russian pharmaceutical oligarch.

After Michael Cohen proved no longer useful to the vaccine industry, the vaccine chief’s brother ordered the FBI to raid Cohen’s office. He is now under federal investigation and has turned against President Trump.

FDA Chief: Expert Witnesses of Vaccine Injury Shouldn’t Publish Papers

Dr. Scott Gottlieb is seen in this American Enterprise Institute photo released in Washington, DC, U.S., March 10, 2017. Courtesy The American Enterprise Institute/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE. – RTS12CMQ

Despite claiming to have “empathy” for autism families, FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb has none. The FDA chief who gave false testimony to Congress about vaccines believes vaccine injury experts should be summarily censored. He also believes expert witnesses to vaccine injury should not be allowed to publish their findings.

In 2009, Gottlieb wrote that the vaccine-autism link should be summarily dismissed to protect vaccines:

Fears about autism have been a growing impediment to higher vaccination rates – and thus a growing public-health danger. 

In that same article, Gottlieb also supported the campaign to censor publications by expert witnesses to vaccine injury:

[Andrew Wakefield’s] original research on this issue was already controversial – 10 of the 13 authors retracted some of the findings in 2004, but Wakefield, its lead author, has not.

The “retraction” happened when the editor of The Lancet decided that expert witnesses to vaccine injury should not be allowed to publish on vaccines. That editor Richard Horton then bullied those 10 coauthors into signing a statement supporting combined measles-mumps-rubella vaccination. Gottlieb cites this “retraction” as evidence against the paper.

Now he has barred his senior staff from meeting with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and other proponents of a vaccine safety commission.

Regardless, Scott Gottlieb should not be FDA chief because he should play no role in promoting products his agency regulates.

He is also one of the doctors who lies about vaccine dangers.

Vaccinations Saving 1.45 Million from Hib and Pneumococcus is Fake News

“Seth Berkley has taken home more than £2 million over the past four years,” Daily Mail on Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization’s CEO, 2016

Doctors are the dumbest profession in the world, but public health is a close second. A study from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health’s “International Vaccine Access Center” (totally objective, right?) is being used to assert that 1,450,000 children have been saved by vaccines for Haemophilus Influenzae type B and Pneumococcal Bacteria. It is also pure fake news and a total waste of money.

The Association of Schools & Programs of Public Health introduced the study:

Childhood deaths from two leading bacterial causes of pneumonia and meningitis, pneumococcus and Hib, declined sharply during the period 2000 to 2015, especially as vaccines against these pathogens were introduced in high-burden countries, according to new estimates from a team led by scientists at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Here’s how Johns Hopkins describes the methodology:

Wahl and colleagues developed updated estimates—on a country-by-country basis, for each year from 2000 to 2015—of the numbers of Hib and pneumococcal disease cases and deaths in children. They used country-specific figures of children who died of pneumonia and meningitis, along with field-based evidence on the fraction of those deaths caused by pneumococcus and Hib, and WHO/UNICEF estimates of vaccine coverage to estimate the burden of pneumococcal and Hib deaths and cases.

So all of a sudden, correlation equals causation in proving vaccines save lives. According to the Johns Hopkins press release:

The sharp declines in child mortality from Hib and pneumococcus were due not just to the introduction of vaccines but also to general factors that have reduced pneumonia and meningitis deaths from all causes, such as better hygiene and access to health care. 

How do you know if vaccines had anything to do with it at all? There is no comparison between children who were vaccinated and children who weren’t. There is no effort to ensure that other variables weren’t the only cause.

But somehow, having the “Johns Hopkins” name attached to it is enough to give it publicity it doesn’t deserve. A tweet by the money-grubbing, censorship-loving head of the Global Alliance for Vaccines & Immunization guarantees it makes mainstream media’s rounds. Such fake news is par for the course for stories on vaccination.

And of course, this extra-governmental, multi-national drug industry-supported hack is retweeted by the FDA commissioner who is supposed to oversee vaccine safety.

FDA Commissioner Cites Measles Importation Advocate Peter Hotez

Farmer Scott

SKINNY JEANS: Dr. Scott Gottlieb visiting farms and dressing the part. Twitter of FDA Commissioner

The FDA commissioner who told Congress that Danish fugitive Poul Thorsen definitively debunked the vaccine-autism link is at it again. Scott Gottlieb is now citing the work of measles importation advocate Peter Hotez.

We are already at a dangerous tipping point, thanks to toxic vaccinations. Gottlieb cited propaganda of vaccine developer Peter Hotez, who has encouraged the importation of measles by opposing President Trump’s immigration policies. Hotez called vaccine skeptics and anti-vaccinationists a “hate group” and has written in favor of compulsory vaccination. He is in denial of his daughter’s vaccine injury.

Even Scott Gottlieb knows immigration can spread disease. Here is what Gottlieb wrote in 2008 (despite wrongly saying mercury is in the MMR vaccine):

…measles can still be imported from countries where its incidence is widespread. (The Brooklyn strain was probably introduced by immigrants.)

Gottlieb cites a man who wants to eliminate American borders to spread measles and scare people into poisoning their kids. Meanwhile, look who Gottlieb is seated next to: the former Maryland Secretary of Health who led attacks against vaccine scientists. Gottlieb said he “made transparency a priority at #FDA under his leadership.”

Read that again:

We’re fully committed to continuing to embrace and promote transparency at #FDA.

No, you’re not.

Major Opponent of Vaccine Safety Commission Conspired Against Scientists

Former Maryland Secretary of Health Joshua Sharfstein left, with FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb. Twitter of FDA Commissioner

Last year, Joshua Sharfstein wrote an article in JAMA vocally opposing the creation of a vaccine safety commission under President Trump. Entirely undisclosed in his article was the conspiracy Sharfstein led against two scientists for their views on vaccine safety while he was Maryland Secretary of Health. Autism Investigated subsequently contacted JAMA‘s editor-in-chief. JAMA‘s legal counsel responded instead.

From: Jake Crosby
Sent: Tuesday, June 05, 2018 4:41 PM
To: Howard Bauchner
Subject: Joshua Sharfstein’s Undisclosed Conflict of Interest and Conspiracy Against Scientists
Dear Dr. Bauchner,

Last year, you ran an article by Joshua Sharfstein that opposed the Trump Administration’s commitment to vaccine safety.(1) Dr. Sharfstein omitted that as Maryland Secretary of Health, he led state government attacks on two vaccine researchers for their opposition to thimerosal in vaccines.(2)(3) By the time of Sharfstein’s article, a court ruled that the department he led violated their confidentiality by posting public their medical information.(4) Just last February, that same board Sharfstein was in charge of was ordered to pay them $2.5 million for its actions under Sharfstein’s leadership. The ruling judge even compared the actions of Sharfstein’s board members and staff to Watergate:

“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.”(5)

Sharfstein acknowledges in his article that a vaccine safety commission under Trump would also concentrate on scientific integrity. He has much to lose professionally and personally from the formation of such a commission due to his department’s conspiracy against two scientists for their views on vaccines. Given AMA’s organizational stance against the commission, it is all the more pressing for Dr. Sharfstein to disclose his department’s attacks on two scientists for their vaccine skepticism when he defends the existing public health system that he is a part of in JAMA.

Sincerely,

Jake Crosby, MPH

Disclosure: I have done my epidemiology thesis on vaccine safety with the Geiers in 2013 and received funding from Autism Media Channel and Children’s Medical Safety Research Institute. I was also a paid campaign field representative and a volunteer for President Trump and other Republican candidates during the 2016 election cycle. I edit AutismInvestigated.com.

1. Vaccines and the Trump Administration https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2614172

2. In the Matter of Mark R. Geier, M.D.: Order for Summary Suspension of License to Practice Medicine, P. 5, Clause 8. April 27, 2011. https://www.mbp.state.md.us/bpqapp/Orders/D2425004.271.PDF

3. “O’Malley Ousts David Geier from autism commission,” by Frank D. Roylance Baltimore Sun, May 20, 2011.
http://www.baltimoresun.com/health/bs-hs-geier-autism-commission-20110520-story.html

4. “Court rebukes board for publicizing doctor’s confidential info,” Professional Licensing Report, February 11, 2016.
http://www.professionallicensingreport.org/board-in-trouble-for-public-release-of-doctors-confidential-info/

5. “Regulators who targeted anti-vaccine doctor may pay millions for humiliating him,” by Fenit Nirappil. Washington Post, February 3, 2018.

From: Joseph Thornton <Joseph.Thornton@jamanetwork.org>
To: Jake Crosby
Cc: Howard Bauchner <Howard.Bauchner@jamanetwork.org>
Sent: Fri, Jun 8, 2018 7:23 am
Subject: RE Joshua Sharfstein’s Undisclosed Conflict of Interest

Dear Mr. Crosby,

The Maryland Board of Physicians [MBOP] includes 22 members who are appointed by the Governor, not the state’s secretary of health. Complaints regarding Dr. Geier were filed with the MBOP years before Dr. Sharfstein was appointed Secretary. The documents you submitted and the timelines within them do not support the allegation that Dr. Sharfstein “led state government attacks on two vaccine researchers for their opposition to thimerosal in vaccines.”

Sincerely,

[Description: cid:image001.png@01CF9202.5B3F03C0]

Joseph P. Thornton, JD
Editorial Counsel
AMA Plaza, Suite 39300
330 N. Wabash Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611-5885
312-464-4609
joseph.thornton@jamanetwork.org

________________________________

From: Jake Crosby
To: Joseph.Thornton <Joseph.Thornton@jamanetwork.org>
Cc: Howard.Bauchner <Howard.Bauchner@jamanetwork.org>
Sent: Fri, Jun 8, 2018 5:53 pm
Subject: Re: Joshua Sharfstein’s Undisclosed Conflict of Interest

Dear Atty. Thornton,
 

Maryland’s Secretary of Health plays a direct role in the appointment of the majority of board members (boldface mine):

“11 practicing licensed physicians, including 1 Doctor of Osteopathy, appointed by the Governor with the advice of the Secretary of the Department of Health (MDH)”

“1 physician representative of MDH nominated by the Secretary(1)

 
A vaccine activist filed a complaint against the board in 2006, but the board suspended Dr. Geier’s license in 2011 only months after Sharfstein’s appointment. That timeline absolutely implicates Sharfstein’s role. The suspension also cites the Institute of Medicine’s 2004 report that attacked Dr. Geier’s research. Sharfstein writes about IOM in his JAMA article:
 
These reports blunted national concern and were one reason why the major outbreaks that occurred in Europe around that time (and since) have not been seen in the United States.
 
Sharfstein also leaves out of the article, his JAMA bio and disclosure statement that he was elected a fellow of IOM in 2014. 
 
Not only does the timeline of Sharfstein’s appointment correlate with Dr. Geier’s suspension, but Sharfstein’s resignation correlates with court decisions against the board. He announced in July 2014 that he would step down at the end of the year. According to the Professional Licensing Report article I cited, a board representative stood up a deposition by the Geiers’ attorney in June of 2014. The court would then grant the “ultimate sanction” in favor of the Geiers in December 2014, two weeks before Sharfstein actually stepped down.(2)
 
Joshua Sharfstein is completely conflicted. The kind of behavior his department engaged in and the fact that AMA’s and other physician groups’ positions are influenced by people like him is exactly why we need an independent commission to look into vaccines. Until that happens, I think the public should oppose them entirely. 
 
Sincerely, 
 
Jake Crosby, MPH
 
1. About the Board, Maryland Board of Physicians, Maryland Department of Health. Accessed June 8, 2018.
 
2. Anne Geier et al. v. Maryland Board of Physicians et al. Md. 371761-V, 1-11 (Circuit Court for Montgomery County, MD 2014)
 
 

Dear FDA Commissioner, Show Empathy and Acknowledge Vax-Autism Link

Scott-Gottlieb.com

According to the FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb in his Senate confirmation hearing:

As early as 2002, there was a study in Denmark that looked at 540,000 children and found no correlation.

And in his defense, the study itself does claim:

There was no association between the age at the time of vaccination, the time since vaccination, or the date of vaccination and the development of autistic disorder.

A Canadian statistician found otherwise. In his letter that was censored by the New England Journal of Medicine and subsequently published in an article that ran in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons:

Madsen et al. observed an adjusted rate ratio of autistic disorder after vaccination of 0.92 relative to no vaccination, when the crude rate ratio (my computation) was 1.45 (95% confidence interval 1.08-1.95). Moreover, the rate by time since vaccination increases to a high of 27.3 two years after vaccination (rate ratio 2.5) and decreases thereafter to 11.4 per 100,000 per year (Figure 1).

It is stated that adjustment for age eliminated these rate increases, but the corresponding data are unusual. Indeed, the rates of autistic disorder by age at vaccination, although not the age at follow-up, are 18.9, 14.8, 24.6, 26.9 and 12.0 per 100,000 per year respectively for ages <15, 15-19, 20-24, 25-35 and >35 months. These rates are all above the overall rate of 11.0 for the reference group of no vaccination, over all ages. It is then somewhat implausible for the adjusted rate ratio to fall below 1, unless the risk profile by age in the unvaccinated is vastly different than in the vaccinated (effect-modification). In this case, the adjustment for age could have been artificial. It would be useful then to present rates on subjects 24-29 months since vaccination and on the unvaccinated (crude rate ratio 2.5) stratified by age. Otherwise, one could be tempted to conclude that the figure is in fact suggestive of an association between MMR vaccination and the risk of autism.

Well Dr. Gottlieb, you did say you had empathy for autism families. Do you?

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.

Do Not Tap Brenda Fitzgerald to Run CDC, President Trump!

Below is an open letter from the editor to President Trump urging him to rescind any consideration to appointing Georgia health commissioner Brenda Fitzgerald to CDC director.

Dear President Trump,

I was a huge supporter of you since before the primary contests. I supported you because you were miles ahead of all the other candidates in supporting vaccine safety.

So I was very disappointed to read the following from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

President Donald Trump is expected to tap the head of the Georgia Department of Public Health as the new director of the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to two administration sources.

This is unacceptable. That same person, Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, wrote in that same paper three years ago this:

I’ve heard all the arguments against vaccination. All have been debunked, including the infamous 1980s study in Europe about a similar vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella, and a supposed link – that we now know to be false – to autism, which shattered vaccine use in Europe. 

The lead author of that “infamous” study is who you met with last summer, Dr. Andrew Wakefield. Even the journal that retracted his paper know their basis for doing so is false.

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.

The CDC policies, by contrast, influence mandatory state vaccination policies throughout the entire country. Its chief responsibilities include the conflicting positions of safety regulation and routine promotion. A senior scientist from the CDC has since come forward with allegations that he and his colleagues manipulated and hid research results. At the time, you tweeted:

Shortly before the election, the previous CDC director blocked the whistleblower who you said was proving you right about vaccines from testifying under oath in a deposition. Yet every indication suggests that the person you are reportedly considering for the role would do the same.

I understand the temptation to appoint establishment-friendly people as you seek Senate support to repeal Obamacare. But like Obamacare, the autism epidemic has also heaped tremendous healthcare costs on the American people. We will not eliminate the rising costs of Obamacare by accepting the rising cost of autism.

In a meeting you held with advocates, you were told that you were the only one who can fix the autism epidemic. You replied that you will. You also said in front of 23 million viewers that you would push for safer vaccinations and that you believed doing so would have a major impact on autism. Many people voted for you this past election because of that.

Now is your chance to fulfill your campaign promises. We appreciate that you have not backed down over your desire to put together a vaccine safety commission. Such a commission can only be effective, however, with federal health agency chiefs open to its policies. FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb is already not open and neither would Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald be should you appoint her CDC director. Please withdraw any consideration of Dr. Fitzgerald. That way, we can truly end the autism epidemic and Make America Great Again!

Your supporter,

Jake Crosby, MPH