Tag Archives: Evidence Of Harm

Government Concedes Vaccine-Autism Case in Federal Court – Now What?

Note: Autism Investigated is running the breaking story on Hannah Poling’s landmark concession by the government in 2008. Huffington Post took it down along with dozens of other articles to help its client GlaxoSmithKline cover up vaccine injury.

After years of insisting there is no evidence to link vaccines with the onset of autism spectrum disorder, the US government has quietly conceded a vaccine-autism case in the Court of Federal Claims.

By David Kirby, Contributor

The unprecedented concession was filed on November 9, and sealed to protect the plaintiff’s identify. It was obtained through individuals unrelated to the case.

The claim, one of 4,900 autism cases currently pending in Federal “Vaccine Court,” was conceded by US Assistant Attorney General Peter Keisler and other Justice Department officials, on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services, the “defendant” in all Vaccine Court cases.

The child’s claim against the government — that mercury-containing vaccines were the cause of her autism — was supposed to be one of three “test cases” for the thimerosal-autism theory currently under consideration by a three-member panel of Special Masters, the presiding justices in Federal Claims Court.

Keisler wrote that medical personnel at the HHS Division of Vaccine Injury Compensation (DVIC) had reviewed the case and “concluded that compensation is appropriate.”

The doctors conceded that the child was healthy and developing normally until her 18-month well-baby visit, when she received vaccinations against nine different diseases all at once (two contained thimerosal).

Days later, the girl began spiraling downward into a cascade of illnesses and setbacks that, within months, presented as symptoms of autism, including: No response to verbal direction; loss of language skills; no eye contact; loss of “relatedness;” insomnia; incessant screaming; arching; and “watching the florescent lights repeatedly during examination.”

Seven months after vaccination, the patient was diagnosed by Dr. Andrew Zimmerman, a leading neurologist at the Kennedy Krieger Children’s Hospital Neurology Clinic, with “regressive encephalopathy (brain disease) with features consistent with autistic spectrum disorder, following normal development.” The girl also met the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) official criteria for autism.

In its written concession, the government said the child had a pre-existing mitochondrial disorder that was “aggravated” by her shots, and which ultimately resulted in an ASD diagnosis.

“The vaccinations received on July 19, 2000, significantly aggravated an underlying mitochondrial disorder,” the concession says, “which predisposed her to deficits in cellular energy metabolism, and manifested as a regressive encephalopathy with features of ASD.”

This statement is good news for the girl and her family, who will now be compensated for the lifetime of care she will require. But its implications for the larger vaccine-autism debate, and for public health policy in general, are not as certain.

In fact, the government’s concession seems to raise more questions than it answers.

1) Is there a connection between vaccines, mitochondrial disorders and a diagnosis of autism, at least in some cases?

Mitochondria, you may recall from biology class, are the little powerhouses within cells that convert food into electrical energy, partly through a complex process called “oxidative phosphorylation.” If this process is impaired, mitochondrial disorder will ensue.

The child in this case had several markers for Mt disease, which was confirmed by muscle biopsy. Mt disease is often marked by lethargy, poor muscle tone, poor food digestion and bowel problems, something found in many children diagnosed with autism.

But mitochondrial disorders are rare in the general population, affecting some 2-per-10,000 people (or just 0.2%). So with 4,900 cases filed in Vaccine Court, this case should be the one and only, extremely rare instance of Mt disease in all the autism proceedings.

But it is not.

Mitochondrial disorders are now thought to be the most common disease associated with ASD. Some journal articles and other analyses have estimated that 10% to 20% of all autism cases may involve mitochondrial disorders, which would make them one thousand times more common among people with ASD than the general population.

Another article, published in the Journal of Child Neurology and co-authored by Dr. Zimmerman, showed that 38% of Kennedy Krieger Institute autism patients studied had one marker for impaired oxidative phosphorylation, and 47% had a second marker.

The authors — who reported on a case-study of the same autism claim conceded in Vaccine Court — noted that “children who have (mitochondrial-related) dysfunctional cellular energy metabolism might be more prone to undergo autistic regression between 18 and 30 months of age if they also have infections or immunizations at the same time.”

An interesting aspect of Mt disease in autism is that, with ASD the mitochondrial disease seems to be milder than in “classic” cases of Mt disorder. In fact, classic Mt disease is almost always inherited, either passed down by the mother through mitochondrial DNA, or by both parents through nuclear DNA.

In autism-related Mt disease, however, the disorder is not typically found in other family members, and instead appears to be largely of the sporadic variety, which may now account for 75% of all mitochondrial disorders.

Meanwhile, an informal survey of seven families of children with cases currently pending in Vaccine Court revealed that all seven showed markers for mitochondrial dysfunction, dating back to their earliest medical tests. The facts in all seven claims mirror the case just conceded by the government: Normal development followed by vaccination, immediate illness, and rapid decline culminating in an autism diagnosis.

2) With 4,900 cases pending, and more coming, will the government concede those with underlying Mt disease — and if it not, will the Court award compensation?

The Court will soon begin processing the 4900 cases pending before it. What if 10% to 20% of them can demonstrate the same Mt disease and same set of facts as those in the conceded case? Would the government be obliged to concede 500, or even 1,000 cases? What impact would that have on public opinion? And is there enough money currently in the vaccine injury fund to cover so many settlements?

When asked for a comment last week about the court settlement, a spokesman for HHS furnished the following written statement:

“DVIC has reviewed the scientific information concerning the allegation that vaccines cause autism and has found no credible evidence to support the claim. Accordingly, in every case under the Vaccine Act, DVIC has maintained the position that vaccines do not cause autism, and has never concluded in any case that autism was caused by vaccination.”

3) If the government is claiming that vaccines did not “cause” autism, but instead aggravated a condition to “manifest” as autism, isn’t that a very fine distinction?

For most affected families, such linguistic gymnastics is not so important. And even if a vaccine injury “manifested” as autism in only one case, isn’t that still a significant development worthy of informing the public?

On the other hand, perhaps what the government is claiming is that vaccination resulted in the symptoms of autism, but not in an actual, factually correct diagnosis of autism itself.

4) If the government is claiming that this child does NOT have autism, then how many other children might also have something else that merely “mimics” autism?

Is it possible that 10%-20% of the cases that we now label as “autism,” are not autism at all, but rather some previously undefined “look-alike” syndrome that merely presents as “features” of autism?

This question gets to the heart of what autism actually is. The disorder is defined solely as a collection of features, nothing more. If you have the features (and the diagnosis), you have the disorder. The underlying biology is the great unknown.

But let’s say the government does determine that these kids don’t have actual “autism” (something I speculated on HuffPost a year ago). Then shouldn’t the Feds go back and test all people with ASD for impaired oxidative phosphorylation, perhaps reclassifying many of them?

If so, will we then see “autism” cases drop by tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people? Will there be a corresponding ascension of a newly described disorder, perhaps something like “Vaccine Aggravated Mitochondrial Disease with Features of ASD?”

And if this child was technically “misdiagnosed” with DSM-IV autism by Dr Zimmerman, how does he feel about HHS doctors issuing a second opinion re-diagnosis of his patient, whom they presumably had neither met nor examined? (Zimmerman declined an interview).

And along those lines, aren’t Bush administration officials somewhat wary of making long-distance, retroactive diagnoses from Washington, given that the Terry Schiavo incident has not yet faded from national memory?

5) Was this child’s Mt disease caused by a genetic mutation, as the government implies, and wouldn’t that have manifested as “ASD features” anyway?

In the concession, the government notes that the patient had a “single nucleotide change” in the mitochondrial DNA gene T2387C, implying that this was the underlying cause of her manifested “features” of autism.

While it’s true that some inherited forms of Mt disease can manifest as developmental delays, (and even ASD in the form of Rhett Syndrome) these forms are linked to identified genetic mutations, of which T2387C is not involved. In fact little, if anything, is known about the function of this particular gene.

What’s more, there is no evidence that this girl, prior to vaccination, suffered from any kind of “disorder” at all- genetic, mitochondrial or otherwise. Some forms of Mt disease are so mild that the person is unaware of being affected. This perfectly developing girl may have had Mt disorder at the time of vaccination, but nobody detected, or even suspected it.

And, there is no evidence to suggest that this girl would have regressed into symptoms consistent with a DSM-IV autism diagnosis without her vaccinations. If there was such evidence, then why on earth would these extremely well-funded government attorneys compensate this alleged injury in Vaccine Court? Why wouldn’t they move to dismiss, or at least fight the case at trial?

6) What are the implications for research?

The concession raises at least two critical research questions: What are the causes of Mt dysfunction; and how could vaccines aggravate that dysfunction to the point of “autistic features?”

While some Mt disorders are clearly inherited, the “sporadic” form is thought to account for 75% of all cases, according to the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation. So what causes sporadic Mt disease? “Medicines or other toxins,” says the Cleveland Clinic, a leading authority on the subject.

Use of the AIDS drug AZT, for example, can cause Mt disorders by deleting large segments of mitochondrial DNA. If that is the case, might other exposures to drugs or toxins (i.e., thimerosal, mercury in fish, air pollution, pesticides, live viruses) also cause sporadic Mt disease in certain subsets of children, through similar genotoxic mechanisms?

Among the prime cellular targets of mercury are mitochondria, and thimerosal-induced cell death has been associated with the depolarization of mitochondrial membrane, according to the International Journal of Molecular Medicine among several others. (Coincidently, the first case of Mt disease was diagnosed in 1959, just 15 years after the first autism case was named, and two decades after thimerosal’s introduction as a vaccine preservative.)

Regardless of its cause, shouldn’t HHS sponsor research into Mt disease and the biological mechanisms by which vaccines could aggravate the disorder? We still do not know what it was, exactly, about this girl’s vaccines that aggravated her condition. Was it the thimerosal? The three live viruses? The two attenuated viruses? Other ingredients like aluminum? A combination of the above?

And of course, if vaccine injuries can aggravate Mt disease to the point of manifesting as autism features, then what other underlying disorders or conditions (genetic, autoimmune, allergic, etc.) might also be aggravated to the same extent?

7) What are the implications for medicine and public health?

Should the government develop and approve new treatments for “aggravated mitochondrial disease with ASD features?” Interestingly, many of the treatments currently deployed in Mt disease (i.e., coenzyme Q10, vitamin B-12, lipoic acid, biotin, dietary changes, etc.) are part of the alternative treatment regimen that many parents use on their children with ASD.

And, if a significant minority of autism cases can be linked to Mt disease and vaccines, shouldn’t these products one day carry an FDA Black Box warning label, and shouldn’t children with Mt disorders be exempt from mandatory immunization?

8) What are the implications for the vaccine-autism debate?

It’s too early to tell. But this concession could conceivably make it more difficult for some officials to continue insisting there is “absolutely no link” between vaccines and autism.

It also puts the Federal Government’s Vaccine Court defense strategy somewhat into jeopardy. DOJ lawyers and witnesses have argued that autism is genetic, with no evidence to support an environmental component. And, they insist, it’s simply impossible to construct a chain of events linking immunizations to the disorder.

Government officials may need to rethink their legal strategy, as well as their public relations campaigns, given their own slightly contradictory concession in this case.

9) What is the bottom line here?

The public, (including world leaders) will demand to know what is going on inside the US Federal health establishment. Yes, as of now, n=1, a solitary vaccine-autism concession. But what if n=10% or 20%? Who will pay to clean up that mess?

The significance of this concession will unfortunately be fought over in the usual, vitriolic way — and I fully expect to be slammed for even raising these questions. Despite that, the language of this concession cannot be changed, or swept away.

Its key words are “aggravated” and “manifested.” Without the aggravation of the vaccines, it is uncertain that the manifestation would have occurred at all.

When a kid with peanut allergy eats a peanut and dies, we don’t say “his underlying metabolic condition was significantly aggravated to the extent of manifesting as an anaphylactic shock with features of death.”

No, we say the peanut killed the poor boy. Remove the peanut from the equation, and he would still be with us today.

Many people look forward to hearing more from HHS officials about why they are settling this claim. But whatever their explanation, they cannot change the fundamental facts of this extraordinary case:

The United State government is compensating at least one child for vaccine injuries that resulted in a diagnosis of autism.

And that is big news, no matter how you want to say it.

NOTE: Full text of the government’s statement is posted here.

David Kirby is the author of “Evidence of Harm – Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic, A Medical Controversy” (St. Martins Press 2005.)

Video: Dan Olmsted Brags About Supporting Kathleen Seidel

By Jake Crosby

Watch the video above to see Age of Autism editor Dan Olmsted brag about supporting Kathleen Seidel, a blogger with a track record of trying to cause trouble for people who advocate against the mercury-based vaccine preservative thimerosal. She generally stirs up trouble with their state’s medical board, a federal agency or their employer. As Olmsted said in the video taken at AutismOne in 2008, Seidel even tried to get him fired – having complained about him to his old employer, UPI.

That, however, didn’t stop him and “Evidence of Harm” author David Kirby from supporting her at the request of pharma-tied “Science”Blogger David Gorski when she was subpoenaed by the attorney for Lisa Sykes – mother of a vaccine-injured child. Sykes was suing several drug firms for harm caused by thimerosal. Olmsted and Kirby cosigned a letter of support for Seidel condemning the subpoena, citing “free speech.” Olmsted, incidentally, concealed the letter from Age of Autism’s general readership. It only ran on Gorski’s blog.

Following the appearance of the Kirby-Olmsted letter, Seidel received a free legal defense, the parents dropped their lawsuit and their lawyer was professionally sanctioned. In the video, Olmsted essentially called Seidel a journalist by equating her blogging with what he did “as a journalist.” Olmsted says all this while sharing a panel with a Chicago Tribune reporter. The following year, the Chicago Tribune would begin a series of hit pieces against scientists and parents opposed to thimerosal – including Olmsted’s managing editor Kim Stagliano – using Seidel’s own talking points.

For further background, please read: How Dan Olmsted and David Kirby Helped Kill a Landmark Autism Lawsuit. I also discussed the video in my talk at this year’s AutismOne conference.

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.

Mark Blaxill Didn’t Disclose Pharma Conflict at 2001 IOM Meeting

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By Jake Crosby

In 2001, self-styled autism advocate Mark Blaxill failed to disclose his conflict of interest with pharmaceutical companies at the Institute of Medicine’s 2001 meeting on thimerosal and neurodevelopmental disorders. This non-disclosure would contradict what he would claim in a podcast interview 12 years later as Canary Party Chairman:

“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.”

But at his 2001 IOM presentation – discussed in “Evidence of Harm” –  Blaxill said, after being introduced by IOM Committee  Chair Marie McCormick:

“Thank you very much, Dr. McCormick. I am very pleased at the opportunity to present to the panel.

I had an easy time on the conflict of interest question. I am a parent, and I can guarantee you that the research that you will see has received no funding from anybody whatsoever. I also have an MBA, so I recognize that places me at something of a presumptive intellectual disadvantage. So be it.”

Other than identify himself as a parent, Blaxill revealed no conflict of interest whatsoever. He only stated that his research was not supported by any funding source as IOM requested that he disclose. What he did not reveal was that he was still in the employ of Boston Consulting Group, which still had vaccine manufacturers as clients. He would admit this in email to SafeMinds’ board of directors the following year and to omnibus attorney Mike Williams the year after that. Blaxill even consulted for Merck.

There is no evidence that his email to SafeMinds‘ board of directors in 2002 was made public prior to the 2005 publication of David Kirby’s book “Evidence of Harm”, in which the email’s contents were discussed. Blaxill’s email to Williams was not public until it was revealed last year on Autism Investigated. So prior to publication of “Evidence of Harm,” the only known public record of discussion concerning Blaxill’s potential conflicts was his non-disclosure of any such conflicts when he first presented to IOM in 2001.

Not disclosing his conflict of interest enabled him to win the trust of other parents present in the audience at that meeting. The following year, he would join SafeMinds‘ board of directors, enabling him to influence that organization’s agenda. When the rider to shield Eli Lilly and other thimerosal manufacturers was slipped into the Homeland Security Bill, Blaxill sent an email threatening to resign should SafeMinds slam the company for poisoning children. That was when he cited his own employer’s ties to pharmaceutical companies as his reason for threatening to resign from SafeMinds’ board . Remarkably, SafeMinds capitulated to Blaxill and he remained on SafeMinds’ board for another decade. His position further enabled him to do irreparable harm to the omnibus autism cases – denying justice to 4,900 vaccine injured children – and hijack the agenda of the 2012 congressional autism hearing as well as a tentatively scheduled 2014 congressional hearing.

Following public revelations of his 2012 hijacking, he left SafeMinds in 2013 but remains chairman of his own organization Canary Party that he founded in 2011. He continuously works to shield the scientific misconduct of CDC and its collaborators from exposure in a congressional hearing. Meanwhile, the evidence mounts that he was planted at the 2001 IOM meeting, as does the evidence for his “advocacy” being nothing more than carefully orchestrated infiltration by a man so unqualified to speak at the IOM, he even acknowledged that fact in his presentation.

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.

Was Mark Blaxill Planted at IOM in 2001?

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By Jake Crosby

On July 16th, 2001, Mark Blaxill gave a presentation to the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine (IOM) titled “The Rising Incidence of Autism: Associations with Thimerosal” despite his lack of scientific credentials, publication record or official title within any major autism organization – unlike any of the other speakers. His presentation elevated public perception of him to that of a chief proponent of thimerosal’s role in causing autism, especially concerning its epidemiological correlation. Ironically, he would later publicly backtrack on his position on thimerosal, purportedly based on statistics from the same database he presented on in his 2001 presentation – an apparent act to throw the omnibus autism cases and deny justice to 4,900 vaccine-injured children. Yet it all began with his invited IOM presentation in 2001 where he lacked the qualifications of the other invited presenters. What he did not lack, however, was employment with a consulting firm with a large number of pharmaceutical clients.

David Kirby‘s book “Evidence of Harm” misrepresents Blaxill as having presented to IOM on SafeMinds‘ behalf, but in fact Blaxill would not join SafeMinds for another year. A search for his name on PubMed does not return any hits prior to 2002. His only advanced degree was an MBA. Although his board membership with SafeMinds would not begin for another year at the time of his IOM presentation, his then-employment with the extensively pharma-tied firm Boston Consulting Group had already lasted two decades. He also used his work email address in his autism advocacy and consulted for Merck, having visited the company’s headquarters in New Jersey.

Mark Blaxill’s autism-related activities before his IOM presentation appeared limited to writing the occasional emailed newsletter for a group called Families for Early Autism Treatment (FEAT). He did not yet hold any official position within SafeMinds.

At the time of his 2001 IOM presentation of autism prevalence (how common autism is) in California’s developmental services system which he conflated with incidence (how frequently new cases occur) in his title slide, IOM’s sponsor, CDC, was already looking at that same data to see how it may be used to absolve thimerosal. Two years later, CDC then published a graph from Blaxill’s presentation in a paper aiming to clear thimerosal that also included data from international fugitive Poul Thorsen’s fraudulent research while it was still in press at the journal Pediatrics.

As the graph was merely correlative, it was hardly a threat to CDC, which had no problem publishing it in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (AJPM). Living up to public expectation of Blaxill being not only a chief proponent but also a chief defender of thimerosal’s role in causing autism, he then wrote a scathing letter to AJPM accusing the authors of misrepresenting his work. He would later call Thorsen’s paper “uninformative and potentially misleading” following its publication.

But only a few years later, he would publicly backtrack on his position on thimerosal’s role in causing the autism epidemic. His pretense was the continued increases in California developmental services department’s autism caseload among younger children, despite the admitted prematurity of such data based according to the state’s own health department. This was the very database from which Blaxill used statistics in his 2001 IOM presentation to elevate his position as a thimerosal-autism-link proponent in the first place.

In 2007, Mark Blaxill unwittingly revealed his earlier change in position to be more likely an act than anything else, when he cited Thorsen’s own fraudulent research in an email to an omnibus petitioner to defend thimerosal – the very research Blaxill dubbed “uninformative and potentially misleading” years prior. This led to the throwing of 4,900 omnibus cases, for which he acted as a consultant to the lead attorneys. Later that same year and long after IOM was found to have secretly decided it would never say autism is a true side-effect of vaccination, Mark Blaxill participated in an “Autism and the Environment” IOM meeting heavily sponsored by pharmaceutical interests and which never mentioned vaccines. Although by 2007 he left his job with the pharma-tied Boston Consulting Group (BCG), he maintains connections to the firm through his ongoing board membership of a non-profit both directed and funded by BCG.

With his changing the topic of the 2012 congressional hearing from CDC autism research fraud to the federal response, his deliberately avoiding mention of “vaccines” in his congressional speech and his continued undermining of any congressional investigation into the fraud committed by Thorsen and other researchers used by CDC and IOM to justify thimerosal’s use, Mark Blaxill’s activities over the years are consistent with those of an infiltrator. Similarly, his sudden rise to prominence as a perceived advocate against thimerosal with his 2001 presentation at IOM is consistent with the actions of a person who had been planted there.

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.

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

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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.

Mark Blaxill Admits COI When His Undermining Began

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By Jake Crosby

Mark Blaxill appeared on Linderman Unleashed Thursday to “rebut” my interview with Linderman last week (both interviews embedded below). Unfortunately, Blaxill avoided much of what I said despite admitting he’d had a conflict of interest with vaccine manufacturers while David Kirby was writing the book “Evidence of Harm.” Mark Blaxill also made tacit reference to my autism – and not in a positive way – near the end of the interview.

In Kirby’s book, Blaxill was quoted as threatening to resign from SafeMinds‘ board should the organization speak out against drug companies poisoning children – companies that he admitted at the time were clients of his then-employer, Boston Consulting Group. The period when Evidence of Harm was still being written also corresponds with when Blaxill and others from SafeMinds were secretly advising the Vaccine Injured Petitioners’ Steering Committee for the autism omnibus, where he trashed petitioners’ expert witnesses Dr. Mark and David Geier and said Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s work was “not well-supported by the epi data.” Blaxill did all this despite his connections to the vaccine industry. He claimed on the show that “no one worked harder” than he did in showing how CDC cheated with numbers using the Vaccine Safety Datalink, and yet, it was David Geier not Mark Blaxill who discovered the CDC’s early results showing thimerosal caused harm including autism.

It should  be stated that while on Linderman, Blaxill also denied possessing a conflict of interest any longer – claiming to not have one since 2006. Nonetheless, the troubling trend of his undermining advocacy against vaccines causing autism began during his employment with the Boston Consulting Group, which has vaccine manufacturers for clients.

The latest example of this trend can be seen in the congressional autism hearings in which Mark Blaxill has been consistently working to prevent CDC malfeasance from being exposed both before Congress and on national television via dishonest lobbying practices. While Mark Blaxill chaired SafeMinds’ Government Affairs Committee, SafeMinds succeeded in changing the topic of last November’s hearing so it would no longer be about CDC malfeasance as originally planned and organized by autism parent and scientist Dr. Brian Hooker. Blaxill and SafeMinds’ actions prevented Dr. Hooker from testifying.*

In a more recent example of such undermining, Mark Blaxill’s Canary Party released an action alert asking Congress to investigate the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program last April – a complete betrayal of trust to Dr. Brian Hooker. Just two weeks prior, Canary Party President Jennifer Larson had promised Dr. Hooker that the alert would ask Congress to hold the next hearing specifically on CDC malfeasance, which the last hearing would have been about had SafeMinds not changed the topic. Age of Autism – both sponsored and edited by Blaxill – covered up such revelations about the alert by refusing to publish my critical comment on the pretense it was “picayune.”

Yet in spite of these activities – SafeMinds’ lobbying, Canary Party’s action alert and most recently Canary Party President Jennifer Larson’s $40,000 contribution the PAC of Congressional Committee Chair Darrell Issa – Mark Blaxill insists any involvement of his in sabotaging the hearing is “a lie” and that he has “no power” over how the hearing topics are chosen or who is invited to testify. While Issa, other congressmen and their staffers have the final say, Mark Blaxill consistently avoids discussing his ongoing role in attempting to influence their decisions to keep exposure of the vaccine-autism cover-up out of the hearings.

Instead, he denies having any explanation for all the failures that have occurred concerning the hearings and similar initiatives – many of which he contributed to – and essentially blames his followers for not being rich and powerful enough to defeat DHHS or big pharma rather than his own largely self-styled and unwanted leadership. He told Linderman:

“To be honest, you know we’re fighting with pop guns, man, and the other side has tanks…but you go to war with the army that you got, not the one that you wish for. And the fact is, we’re not making enough change, and I don’t know what to do about it to be honest, other than to keep fighting and to keep fighting the best way that we can.”

And that would be, according to Mark Blaxill, with the analogous equivalent of pop guns fighting tanks while he thwarts yet another hearing and his vice president Ginger Taylor tells people my judgement is compromised by my autism. At the end of the interview (which began with my name being stated by Curt Linderman as the very reason for the interview), Blaxill clearly made another derogatory reference to my autism without naming me:

I think we need to love our kids whether they’re  low-functioning or high-functioning, and when they’re high-functioning and they’re not functioning the way we hope they would, we love them anyway. 

Yet just days after my first article on how SafeMinds hijacked the last congressional hearing went online, he unfriended me on Facebook. I guess I really must not be functioning the way Mark Blaxill hoped.

Interviews:

Mark Blaxill’s response

My interview on Linderman

*Linderman mistakenly asked Blaxill to verify if the Canary Party influenced the November hearing when it was actually SafeMinds’ involvement in that hearing that I had taken issue with during my interview. I had also noted that Blaxill’s base of operations later shifted from SafeMinds to Canary Party in his efforts to influence Congress.

 

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.