Tuesday

Marketing Swine Flu


Many have forgotten the 1976 CDC campaign to get the public vaccinated against swine flu. Many who will be impacted by the current hysterics regarding the "novel" swine flu, have no idea that health care is marketed to manipulate people towards consumption of certain health care products. Some Americans will never forget the 1976 swine flu vaccine campaign because they or their relatives died or were maimed (Guillain-Barre Syndrome) by the 1976 vaccine. In 1979, 60 Minutes did an expose on the swine flu vaccine of 1976. I watched the 30-year-old video in which it is revealed that there was 300 death claims from the 1976 swine flu vaccine but only one death from the actual flu. Claims against the US Government amounted to 3 1/2 billion dollars.
http://www.examiner.com/ article by Fred Burks dated 7/10/09
Thirty years later we must be much more advanced in our medical technology. It couldn't happen again? Or could it? The reality is that the only thing that can't happen again is that victims of vaccine injury or death can file lawsuits. Happily for the pharmaceutical industry, new laws have been created so that consumers have no legal recourse for vaccine deaths and injuries.
Who are the targeted groups for this "novel" swine flu vaccine (H1N1 ---novel in a genetic engineering dictionary usually means genetically engineered--so is this flu an escapee, a man-made flu not a natural mutation of flu?)? The targeted groups for this vaccine are: pregnant women, persons who provide care for infants, heath care providers/EMTs, persons 6 months -24 years old, persons 25-64 who have serious medical conditions.
The novel H1N1 vaccine was given an EUA (Emergency Use Authorization issued by the FDA to "allow either the use of an unapproved medical product or an unapproved use of an approved medical product during certain types of emergencies with specifed agents.").
Our Secretary of Health,Kathleen Sebelius, declares an emergency and the FDA Commissioner, Margaret A. Hamburg may authorize an emergency after consultation with the NIH and CDC.
The first batch of vaccines for our novel flu is a MedImmune/AstraZeneca-parent company product. It is an intranasal live vaccine. Adverse reactions as declared by MedImmune are runny nose or nasal congestion, for children from 2-6 years old fever greater than 100 degrees F, and sore throat in adults. MedImmune states that the "safety of this vaccine has not been studied in pregnant women or nursing mothers." It is not approved for use in children under 24 months of age, nor approved for use in individuals 50-64 years old. MedImmune states it may not protect all individuals. They have a caution to nursing mothers and pregnant mothers--only use if clearly needed (not sure how that is decided). This vaccine has not been evaluated for carcinogenic, mutagenic potentials or its potential to impair fertility. see
After reading various articles on the internet regarding the need for vaccinating pregnant women with the H1N1 vaccine, I find myself deeply troubled. There is an obvious media campaign going on to get pregnant women vaccinated. Yet this particular vaccine being brought out first by the US Government has some troubling statements in its product insert of the vaccine. What consumer will read the product insert? Pregnant women are being targeted--yet this vaccine because of "OUR EMMERGENCY" was approved for use without the usual safety reviews. This particular vaccine states that children under 24 months of age should not get this vaccine, yet the CDC target population is from 6 months of age an up to 24 years old.
Pregnant women and their families should look at the CDC MMWR regarding the three pregnant women that got the H1N1 flu. In this May 12th report, one woman died from acute repiratory distress syndrome but her speciman could not be confirmed as the novel influenza A (H1N1) virus. One pregnant mother fully recovered, and one pregnant woman (not tested for this flu) remained asymptomatic after being given oseltamivir (tamiflu). Supposedly the CDC will add to these cases (April-May 2009). Although I haven't seen anything else at the CDC website other than these 3 cases. These 3 cases prove what?? I don't get it? Is this the leading edge of the epidemic--where cases cannot even be confirmed to be this novel H1N1 flu? Scientific? Yikes.
What is behind the panic? And why does the CDC socially market pharmaceutical products? One can guess. One can wonder about the relationship between the current Commissioner of the FDA (who approved the rapid deployment of this vaccine without the normal chain of safety reviews) and her past directorship of the Henry Schein Inc. (medical and dental supply company). "Henry Schein can source practically all forms of vaccines.." (mentioned are MedImmune, Merck, SmithKline Beecham. Wyeth)
In a SEC filing dated 5/22/09 by Margaret A. Hamburg she divested some of her stock in Henry Schein before being sworn in May 22, 2009 as Commissioner of the FDA. But it appears that she also kept some of that stock. The company is also the distributor of Tamiflu. Nasdaq shares of Henry Schein were down 1.8 percent at $51.51 in early trade in August 4, 2009. I am sure that with flu season upon us, shares are going up for Henry Schein. One of our past Commissioners of the FDA, Jane E. Henney is on the BOD of AstraZeneca and also Director of Cigna. It never ceases, the flow between industry and government. Obviously, these people have expertise but is that expertise helpful to Jane the Pregnant Lady down the block? Or is health care policy about the Nasdaq?
Copyright 2009 Valerie W. McClain

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