Tag Archives: Robert Redfield

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.

New CDC Director Misstates Influenza Vaccination Effectiveness

Robert Redfield INSTITUTE OF HUMAN VIROLOGY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND SCHOOL OF MEDICINE

According to The Washington Post, the new CDC director reportedly told his new employees, “We have got to get the American public to understand that vaccination is important and needs to be fully utilized.” This was reportedly after he cited 130 child deaths from flu season, implying they all could have been saved by vaccination.

The reality is that a quarter of them were vaccinated. The majority of American children and adults were not vaccinated for the flu anyway. And those 130 children are almost certainly not representative of the overall population of children. But that doesn’t stop Redfield from misrepresenting flu vaccines like he did an experimental AIDS treatment a quarter-century ago. The difference there was that he at least provided data on most of the subjects who got the treatment. In the case of flu vaccines, he just implied 130 deaths could have all been prevented with vaccination without giving evidence that even one of those deaths could have been stopped.

Both the FDA and CDC chiefs have misstated the effectiveness or safety of vaccination. Yet both would not have been in their positions were it not for the president, who had claimed to have never gotten the flu or the flu shot.

DEPT OF HHS: Robert Redfield Sworn In As CDC Director On Monday

HHS Secretary Azar to Name Robert R. Redfield, M.D., Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

On Wednesday, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that Secretary Alex Azar will name Robert R. Redfield, M.D., as the 18th Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

Upon the announcement, Secretary Azar issued the following statement:

“Dr. Redfield has dedicated his entire life to promoting public health and providing compassionate care to his patients, and we are proud to welcome him as director of the world’s premier epidemiological agency. Dr. Redfield’s scientific and clinical background is peerless: As just one example, during his two-decade tenure at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, he made pioneering contributions to advance our understanding of HIV/AIDS. His more recent work running a treatment network in Baltimore for HIV and Hepatitis C patients also prepares him to hit the ground running on one of HHS and CDC’s top priorities, combating the opioid epidemic.”

“Furthermore, all of us at HHS are grateful to Dr. Anne Schuchat for her service as Acting Director at CDC, especially during this year’s severe flu season. We look forward to CDC continuing its important work on the opioid epidemic and America’s many other pressing public health challenges.”

Biographical Background

Dr. Robert R. Redfield has been a public health leader actively engaged in clinical research and clinical care of chronic human viral infections and infectious diseases, especially HIV, for more than 30 years.

He served as the founding director of the Department of Retroviral Research within the U.S. Military’s HIV Research Program, and retired after 20 years of service in the U.S. Army Medical Corps. Following his military service, he co-founded the University of Maryland’s Institute of Human Virology with Dr. William Blattner and Dr. Robert C. Gallo and served as the Chief of Infectious Diseases and Vice Chair of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Dr. Redfield made several important early contributions to the scientific understanding of HIV, including the demonstration of the importance of heterosexual transmission, the development of the Walter Reed staging system for HIV infection, and the demonstration of active HIV replication in all stages of HIV infection.

In addition to his research work, Dr. Redfield oversaw an extensive clinical program providing HIV care and treatment to more than 5,000 patients in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. community.

Dr. Redfield served as a member of the President’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS from 2005 to 2009, and was appointed as Chair of the International Subcommittee from 2006 to 2009.

He is a past member of the Office of AIDS Research Advisory Council at the National Institutes of Health, the Fogarty International Center Advisory Board at the National Institutes of Health, and the Advisory Anti-Infective Agent Committee of the Food and Drug Administration.

Originally posted on HHS

Likely CDC Head Omitted HIV Research, Was Reprimanded By Army

Autism Investigated: Read the above Science Magazine article (click to enlarge, continued in embedded text below) and draw your own conclusion about the doctor President Trump will likely appoint to head  the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as Fitzgerald’s replacement.

The question of how Redfield had chosen his 15 patients for analysis came up again in August 1992, after the Amsterdam meeting, when researchers at WRAIR [Walter Reed Army Institute of Research] and the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the advancement of Military Medicine-a private lab that has a multi-million-dollar contract to assist the military’s AIDS research program -analyzed data from all 26 patients and found no statistically significant effect on viral load. Indeed, at an AIDS vaccine meeting sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases from 31 August-3 September in Chantilly, Virginia, Redfield and Vahey both made presentations about the full data set of 26 patients; both presentations showed that the viral load data from all 26 patients indicated no statistically significant change with gp160 treatment.

In addition, viral load data from the first 15 patients “were similar to those of the entire 26 patients,” Col. Donald Burke, Redfield’s boss, explained to Army investigators.

How had Redfield found statistical significance where there apparently was none? That question was first addressed by Burke in an informal inquiry. According to Burke’s statement to Army investigators, he held a meeting with key Redfield collaborators on 28 August-just before Chantilly-and the attendees “all agreed that the data analysis [for Amsterdam] was done in haste, which resulted in some arbitrary criteria and methodological errors.” 

Burke concluded there had been no scientific misconduct, only scientific error. In his statement to the Army investigators, Burke said that after the Chantilly presentations, “I was satisfied that the data were presented openly and accurately and that the conundrum regarding the Amsterdam presentation had been put to rest and the case was closed.”

The case was not closed. On 20 October, two Air Force AIDS researchers filed a formal complaint against Redfield that became the basis for the investigation. At the end of that process, Army investigator Dangerfield found that no misconduct had occurred and that any errors in Redfield’s presentation were due to haste. Dangerfield’s report cites Burke’s 28 August meeting as one explanation for that conclusion. The meeting, wrote Dangerfield in his final report, “concluded that the disparities between the analyses of [Lt. Col.] Redfield at Amsterdam and that of others arose by presenting preliminary data from less than the full study … and data analysis done in haste.”

That interpretation isn’t likely to satisfy some of Redfield’s colleagues. Three of them told Science they don’t believe haste was the reason Redfield’s analysis went awry. “I don’t think it was a silly, sophomoric mistake be- cause someone was rushed,” contends statistician William McCarthy, who until 15 July was the chief of biostatistics at the Jackson Foundation-and has resigned in frustration because of what he calls “a lack of candor” about the gp160 data. “The way the data were presented [in Amsterdam] was not legitimate, and it made the data look better than it would have looked had there been an appropriate analysis,” says McCarthy.

Two Redfield collaborators, who insist on not being quoted by name, also reject the notion that the Amsterdam presentation contained errors made in haste. Says one investigator: “I don’t think it was a presentation made by a researcher in a hurry. The presentation was sloppy and irresponsible. You go out and make a statement as an authority, as a world-class scientist, and you’re not super sure? Come on.” Another collaborator says Redfield’s presentation “was very well thought out.”

The FOIA documents, however, also reveal that Redfield has supporters among his colleagues. One of the strongest statements of support came from Lt. Col. John Brundage, WRAIR’s chief epidemiologist. Brundage, who helped Redfield with his statistical analysis prior to Amsterdam, told Dangerfield he had attended the presentation and “did not feel it was inappropriate.” Brundage’s statement also said he thought Redfield had benefited from Brundage’s statistical “tutoring several days previously.”

Although the Army’s investigation of the Amsterdam presentation may not have satisfied all those close to these events, by 20 February of this year that phase of the investigation was closed. But because of concerns about WRAIR’s relationship with Americans for a Sound AIDS/HIV Policy, the Army launched a second probe–of that organization and its ties to Army researchers.

ASAP, which educates religious groups and aims to speed development of treatments, became snared in the Redfield investigation because of concerns that Redfield supporter W. Shepherd Smith Jr., the group’s president, was improperly contacting WRAIR researchers to discuss unreleased gp160 data. Like Redfield, Smith has been a strong supporter of gp160 therapy, testifying before Congress and even staging an investment seminar in Los Angeles for potential MicroGeneSys investors. Redfield is chairman of ASAP’s advisory board, which his chief collaborator, Deborah Birx, also serves on.

Specifically taken up in the Army probe was a phone call ASAP’s Smith made to Vahey on 24 August, in which they discussed the gp160 study and interpretations of the early results. Vahey was concerned enough about “the command of the data that Mr. Smith exhibited” and his opinions about how the gp160 data should be presented that she wrote a memo for the record, which the Army supplied to Science.

Smith told Science any implication he was trying to influence the analysis of gp160 data was “absolutely false,” stressing that his reason for calling had “nothing to do with the Amsterdam presentation.” Smith said he believes ASAP was brought into the Army’s investigation because “nothing was found in the first report and that wasn’t satisfactory to people who had staked their careers on finding something wrong with Bob Redfield.”

The Army investigation concluded that WRAIR provided ASAP with “scientific information that was not widely disseminated” and recommended that ties between the two groups “be severed so there is not an appearance of endorsement or favoritism.”

Severing the tie between ASAP and Army researchers, however, won’t end the questions still swirling around Robert Redfield, the gp160 vaccine, and MicroGeneSys. Although Redfield’s supporters are pleased with the outcome of the investigation, many of Redfield’s colleagues and others close to the investigation are not fully satisfied. A new investigation could be launched by a joint Army-Navy-Air Force team. Congress might also hold hearings on the issue. On the scientific front, gp160 will also come up again soon, since the military is staging a trial of the MicroGeneSys vaccine in more than 600 infected people. The trial will compare treated patients to a randomized control group receiving a placebo. A first look at the blinded data is scheduled for the fall. But, like every other new piece of information about gp160, those preliminary results are far more likely to start debate than to end it. -Jon Cohen SCIENCE VOL. 261 13 AUGUST 1993