Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Vaccines are stealing all your money (and are kicking puppies and kittens in the face).

Paul Offit.  More like Paul “Proffit”. This is a mantra of sorts for anti-vaxxers.  Part of their deal is that they think vaccine manufacturers and the scientists that develop them are making big bucks off of vaccines, while slowly killing their customers. Sometimes when an argument is so stupid I’m just rendered speechless.  I’d really like to buy the next person that sincerely thinks that vaccines are a huge money making conspiracy a beer and just pick their brain.  Unfortunately, we can rarely get to the point of reasonable conversation with these people.

First I’d like to say that there is money to be made with vaccines., just from the other side.  This world is riddled with charlatans that are willing to make big bucks off the masses that refuse to become inoculated.  Mr Andrew Wakefield of the Lancet fame himself was commissioned by Richard Barr, a lawyer profiting off of families with autistic children, to conduct research linking autism with the MMR vaccine.  He ended up making roughly $750,000 dollars(Deer,2010).  He earned this money by conducting fraudulent studies and conducting some ethically questionable research(which included giving kids $50 for blood at a birthday party).  Furthermore, he was intending to start a company that would make testing kits for autism, which would eventually lead to a complete cure.  Andrew Wakefield is kind of an asshole.

I shouldn’t pick on just him though.  I could go on and on about the alternative “cures” for autism and homeopaths, but that is a rant for another day.  I would however, like to talk about secretin. Secretin is a hormone from pigs that has been said to improve the symptoms of autism. Parents against the MMR vaccine willingly will inject this substance into their children.  By scanning the Internet, I’ve seen people on forums talking about spending up to $800 on these injections or for the oral variety, $60 every two weeks.  This is for a drug that has been all but found ineffective by studies (Molloy, 2012).  If that isn’t making money, I don’t know what is.  The funny thing is that the research on secretin isn’t even complete.  From the couple of studies done, it has been shown to just probably not work.  If someone was so worried about what was being injected into their child’s body that they opted to not vaccinate them, you’d think they’d want to wait until a more conclusive study comes out.  However”secretin” was marketed as being a natural alternative, so I guess we are good to go.

The thing is, from what I’ve heard, the money isn’t in vaccinations .I'm not saying that drug companies are giving them away, but drugs are far more profitable for them.  If drug companies were wanting to profit off of vaccines, why would they pump them full of so many ingredients?  Couldn’t they just inject snake oil and call it a day? That is why there are more and more multiple use vaccines.  Furthermore, it doesn’t seem like good business practice to give your customers something that will kill them if you are trying to make some money.  You kind of want them to keep coming back.  All good drug dealers know this. You give them something to keep coming back for. If it was proven that one of the main ingredients of vaccines is crack cocaine, I'd be a little less skeptical.

I've also heard that the profit actually comes from vaccine mandates. With the population being mandated to receive vaccinations, the vaccine makers are rolling in dough. It couldn't be that maybe vaccines are being mandated because they are good for herd immunity. Maybe the government shouldn't be mandating them. Maybe they should let us go back to the days of polio and small pox in peace.
In an FB argument someone said “fuck the scientific community that profits off the deaths of millions”.  I’d really like this explained to me.  The offer of a free beer and the promise to not call you crazy (to your face) remains on the table.

Sources Cited (a lazy bibliography):

Deer B. Wakefield's "autistic enterocolitis" under the microscope. BMJ: British Medical Journal (overseas & retired Doctors Edition).  April 17,2010.  (I got a lot of information from Deer's reporting, but the majority of the investigative work on Wakefield's enterprises came from Brian Deer).

Molloy, C, Manning-Courtney P, Ulrich II C, Et Al.  Lack of Benefit of Intravenous Synthetic Human Secretin in the Treatment of Autism.  Journal of Austims & Developmental Disorders.  December, 2002 (Also check out Autsim's False Prophets, by Paul Offit)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

How Oregano Oil Started a (Blog) Fire

If you know me, then you know the surest way to upset me is by telling me vaccines don’t work.  Recently I started an anti-vaccine flame war on my Facebook page that led to a sleepless night. It all started when I said that "natural antibiotics" shouldn't take the place of real medicine and vaccines.  I lay awake so angry at the willful ignorance of someone so immersed in a ridiculous conspiracy theory.  However, after thinking about it I realized that this FB “friend”, someone I vaguely remember going to highschool with, provided me with an anti-vaxxer gold mine.  Sure it may be crazy gold, but gold nevertheless. This person ended up de-friending me, which is disappointing in that I wanted to hear all the crazy he had to spew.  While frustrating as it may be, it is important to know your opposer’s side.  This is why I force myself to read Jenny Mccarthy and to engage in dialogue with someone I find to be a complete moron.  It is even more difficult to not call said moron a moron in a heated debate.  Because then you lose them forever.  Sure, they are probably already lost, but to personally attack them leads you to look weak.  I have a fortune from a fortune cookie on my desk that reads” Strong and bitter words indicate a weak cause”.  However, I feel like attacking their ideas is fair game and should be done so ruthlessly.  Sometimes it is hard to draw the distinction, but I encourage all of you to at least try.

In honor of the upcoming TAM, I want to share my findings with you all, and start (or at least try to) blogging all the arguments I’ve heard over the years, and to do my best to deconstruct them.  For the record, I am by no means an expert, but have done much study on the matter.  I started in college for a research paper, and have absorbed everything I can on the subject, especially after seeing children become ill due to a lack vaccines before my very eyes.  I’ll try my best to cite sources, but after years of accumulated data, I may slip and forget. Much of my research also comes from medical journals I no longer have access to, but I’ll try to dredge up any bibliography I can.  My main focus is to start dialogue and encourage critical thinking.  I encourage all those who disagree with what I say to pipe in.  As long as you can back up your ideas with reputable, science backed sources I feel you should be free to speak.  Just don’t post a link to a crazy anti-vaxx site that promotes colon cleansing, because I doubt they are peer reviewed.  Otherwise, be prepared to be ripped to shreds.

I’m not set out to be a famous blogger.  I don’t write controversial things and will never gain any kind of celebrity status.  However, I do encourage you to pass this along to all that you can, no matter where their opinions and beliefs lie. I’ll be starting with my favorite argument,which is on vaccines and profitability.