In 2005, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. published a lengthy examination of the history of Eli LillyÂ´s deadly mercury compound, <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/thimerosal">thimerosal, in vaccines and its decades-long history of suppressed data about dangers to those receiving it.Â Following is the seventh in a series from that piece, describing the outcome the 2000 Simpsonwood Conference, in which a group of government scientists and health officials met for a secret, highly-secluded meeting convened by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).Â In the coming days, we will continue to provide more information from this important paper on this dangerous health issue.
Dr. Paul Offit, one of CDCÂ´s top vaccine advisers and who shares a patent on one of the vaccines, admitted to Kennedy that he “would make money” if his vote eventually led to a marketable product, but brushed off Kennedyâ€™s suggestion that a scientistâ€™s direct financial investment in CDC approval might bias his judgment.Â Kennedy wrote that other vaccine scientists and regulators provided similar assurances, all seeing themselves as â€œenlightened guardians of childrenâ€™s health, proud of their â€˜partnershipsâ€™ with pharmaceutical companies, immune to the seductions of personal profit, besieged by irrational activists whose anti-vaccine campaigns are endangering childrenâ€™s health.â€Â Kennedy found that such experts were resentful of questioning. “Science,” said Offit, “is best left to scientists.”
Regardless, some government officials were alarmed by the â€œapparent conflicts of interest.â€Â Paul Patriarca of the FDAâ€”in a 1999 email to the CDCâ€”harshly criticized federal regulators for â€œfailing to adequately scrutinize the danger posed by the added baby vaccines,â€ saying, “Iâ€™m not sure there will be an easy way out of the potential perception that the FDA, CDC, and immunization-policy bodies may have been asleep at the switch re: thimerosal until now.â€Â Speaking about the connection between regulatory officials and the pharmaceutical industry, Patriarca wrote that it â€œWill also raise questions about various advisory bodies regarding aggressive recommendations for use” of thimerosal in child vaccines.
Kennedy wrote, â€œIf federal regulators and government scientistsâ€ did not understand the risks of thimerosal before, â€œno one could claim ignorance after the secretâ€ Simpsonwood Meeting.Â Unfortunately, instead of conducting more studies, the CDC gave its database on childhood vaccinesâ€”a database mostly developed with taxpayer moneyâ€”to the private agency, AmericaÂ´s Health Insurance Plans, which ensured the files could not be used for research.Â The CDC also instructed the Institute of Medicineâ€”an advisory organization and part of the National Academy of Sciencesâ€”to produce a study disproving the link.Â The CDC “wants us to declare, well, that these things are pretty safe,” Dr. Marie McCormick, who chaired the IOMÂ´s Immunization Safety Review Committee, said adding that, “We are not ever going to come down that [autism] is a true side effect” of thimerosal exposure.Â According to that meetingâ€™s transcripts, the committeeâ€™s chief staffer, Kathleen Stratton, predicted that the IOM would conclude that the evidence was “inadequate to accept or reject a causal relation” between thimerosal and autism because this is what “Walt wants,” a reference to Dr. Walter Orenstein, director of the CDCâ€™s National Immunization Program.