Oh, John. I don’t even know how to begin this conversation.
I have friends who think you’re brilliant. I’ve only seen one of your monologues since you’ve been on the air, and I don’t have HBO (and if I did, I would have cancelled it after your show), so I didn’t have an opinion of you before yesterday. And now I feel compelled to warn you that something’s not computing in your brain. I hope you take heed.
So you went on your show yesterday to attack people who either stop vaccinating their children or never vaccinated in the first place. It was a 27-minute angry, condescending, sometimes-loony but never-funny rant.
Someday, John, you’re going to realize that it is not acceptable to attack the parents of children killed or disabled by vaccines, and that is exactly what you did yesterday.
Two years ago you came to my attention because of an in-depth and eye-popping piece you (or your writers, rather) did on the unethical marketing behaviors of pharmaceutical companies. I’m going to do a quick run-down of the 14 points that stuck out to me when I saw it.
- While pharmaceutical companies spend a shocking $4 billion marketing to consumers each year, they spend six times that amount marketing to doctors.
- 9 out of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies spend more on marketing than they do on research.
- How pharmaceutical companies spend money is highly secretive, and we only find out what goes on behind the scenes from lawsuits. But we see in a video obtained through discovery that while the pharmaceutical foot soldier reps claim to be there to “educate doctors,” behind closed doors their own bosses refer to them as people who are “making an ungodly sum of money.”
- You say that “the problem” with the current setup is that those pharma reps don’t understand the effects of the drugs they’re pushing. You shared one video where a rep said that none of his coworkers have a background in science, and video of a political science major who was giving a doctor medical advice for a complex patient.
- You point out that doctors’ offices brag in their job advertisements that they get “free lunch every day” from pharma reps.
- There was a lawsuit against Novartis that alleged their reps were taking doctors to Hooters in exchange for prescribing its drugs. The reps were also taking doctors out to dinner at restaurants where the reviews say “the tab will bring a tear to your eyes unless dinner is on someone else’s dime.”
- Many doctors named in that lawsuit took money for speeches they never gave.
- Many doctors who are the top prescribers of a drug are also getting money from that drug company, which you say is worrying, “because we trust doctors.”
- Pharmacies are selling patient prescription information back to pharma companies so the reps get to see if the doctor is prescribing as promised, and put more pressure on the doctors for not complying.
- You seemed outraged that pharma reps attempt to interfere with doctors making medical decisions based on their best judgment.
- You said that drug companies have crossed the line with off-label uses for drugs with dangerous side effects; “You can’t just give people potentially dangerous drugs and see what happens.”
- For the doctors who refuse to see drug reps, pharma reps will tell them they have been identified as a “thought leader” and proceed to pay that doctor to talk to other doctors about the company’s products over dinner. Unbeknownst to the guests, the slides, the content and the script the thought leader doctor uses are prepared by the drug company.
- You hammered home that when you’re a doctor regurgitating a script, you aren’t a “thought leader.” You’re a “thought sayer.”
- Lest your viewers think the problem is just with one company and one drug, you point out that Johnson & Johnson has also paid $2.2 billion fines, Eli Lilly paid $1.4 billion, Pfizer paid $2.3 billion, and GlaxoSmithKline paid out a record $3 billion.
Now here we are, almost two and a half years later, and you’re defending pharmaceutical products like they’re God’s own gift to mankind. Do you know what pharma doesn’t pay for? The multi-million dollar payouts in the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Parents pay for that– a 75 cent tax on a single vaccine and a $3 tax on a four-in-one. Two doses of MMRV? The parents who vaccinate pay $6 to the parents whose kids are killed by it.
Why was that missing from your show? Didn’t your researchers come across it? Or did your talking points come from the Hollywood Health & Society arm of the CDC?
Last night your tone was one of total trust for these products from the companies you destroyed in 2015. You seemed to be able to perceive some kind of upstanding ethics behind the creation, marketing, and necessity of all vaccines. You were condescending to people who do not want to consume a sacred product made by the very same companies you railed on– the ones who have been fined billions, and whose extremely attractive sales reps make “ungodly sums of money” selling to doctors.
Maybe you’ve been putting too much aluminum in your armpits but the exact companies you tore to shreds two years ago are the companies manufacturing vaccines, heavily influencing the schedule, lobbying for state mandates, and paying none of the compensation when victims of vaccine injury win in court.
How do you think Merck handles the fact that only 6 in 10 girls in the US have had even one Gardasil shot? They fight every day to get their vaccine mandated by state laws. Their product is so wonderful that they need to get legislators to shove it down our kids’ throats. And Gardasil is still a very new vaccine but the damage it’s done is substantial. Just last month a girl was awarded $11.5 million over her lifetime (not paid for by Merck) for the autoimmune disease that’s attacking her optic nerve and spine, which was caused by Gardasil. Do you think the vaccine court concedes an $11.5 M case just to get rid of the plaintiff, and that vaccines aren’t really wrecking lives?
I noticed that you showed a clip of the 1955 celebrations for Salk’s new polio vaccine but forgot to include the worst pharmaceutical disaster in history that followed immediately after: the Cutter Incident at the lab that produced the vaccine, which caused polio in 40,000 children, paralyzed 56, and killed 5, then further led to 113 new cases of polio and 5 additional deaths.
The CDC must have left that out of your Hollywood talking points.
You did say that the “confusion about vaccines” (we are not confused, I assure you) has caused real problems like in Minnesota, where it’s “terrible” that there has been 78 cases of measles. I bet, if you give me 24 hours, I could come up with 5,000 parents who would gladly trade a temporary case of the measles for the lifetime autism sentence their kids got with the MMR. Hit me up if you want to place a wager.
Do you seriously think you are self-educated enough on the topic of thimerosal to tell your 5 million viewers with 100% certainty that the mercury in fish is bad and the mercury in vaccines is good? Do you honestly believe that mercury was removed from most of the childhood vaccines– not because it was a highly unethical experimentation on children– but because there was “intense public concern” so pharmaceutical companies “spent time and energy solving a problem that never existed?”
Do you hear yourself? When vaccines were already mandated to attend all public schools in America in 2001 do you seriously think pharma gave a shit about “intense public concern?” Stop and click here to read a 1991 Merck memo that a friend of mine sent to the LA times a few decades ago and tell me if this is a problem that never existed.
And then listen to this 60-second clip of a CDC scientist talking about how injecting pregnant women with mercury-containing flu vaccines causes tics in their unborn babies– otherwise known as autism-like behavior. “Pregnant women are the last person I’d give mercury to,” he says.
While you’re at it, watch this video where my friend Forrest teaches the public about how much vaccine education doctors receive in medical school. Spoiler: almost none.
I can see that you pretended you were not being a total hypocrite by acknowledging your piece from two years ago, twenty-something minutes into your vaccine rant as if most people will even make it that far. You said, “I’m not saying there are not problems with big pharma… but on the rare occasions where there have been issues with vaccines, they have been pulled and fast.” What the hell are you even talking about? When Paul Offit got the rotavirus vaccine pulled for causing intussusception in newborn intestines so that he could conveniently replace it with his own rota vaccine? Because if that’s it, that doesn’t count as looking out for our kids, John. It’s greed. Not protection. Very different.
And John, I can’t even go down the rabbit hole of how ridiculous you look using a clip of Seth Mnookin, a former drug dealer and burglar who once bit a police officer, but if you’d like to know more about your expert witness you can read about him here.
And as for Alison Singer, who appears toward the end of your clip, you do know that she was staunchly vaccines-cause-autism until she was blinded by the cash offered her to publicly switch sides, right? In fact, it was only in 2001 that the New York Post wrote this about her reaction to seeing the writers of ER attack parents who don’t vaccinate for believing in the autism link:
“Alison Tepper Singer, a former vice president in NBC’s desktop video division, faulted the ‘ER’ episode for its ‘complete belittling of another viewpoint,’ she told The News. Singer resigned from NBC in 1999 when her older daughter was diagnosed with autism.
“‘It was so irresponsible and so callous and so heartbreaking for parents who are dealing with this issue that I found it sad,’ she said of the ‘ER’ episode.”
Yes, the woman you featured to bolster your stance once said that people like you completely belittle other viewpoints. And you do.
Ooooh, I forgot. I have an even better clip of Alison Singer that you should have used. Here she is fantasizing about killing her autistic daughter. You know, because autism is such a gift.
I’m going to sign off with a few videos from parents whose children you say suffer from “nonexistent and wildly unlikely harms.” You owe them a listen.
Here’s a message from a compelling father who lost his child before his very eyes decades ago.
Here are two parents who have unfortunately conducted a vaccinated verses unvaccinated study in their own family.
And here’s a mother who wants heartless people like you to see the type of autism that nobody ever writes about.
Here’s a child who was compensated by the vaccine court. I’ll tell her mom that you think what happened to her was wildly unlikely. See, I’ll have to tell her mom and not her because she died recently.
And last, but certainly not least, I present to you: fraternal triplets who all developed autism after vaccination. All three. Same day. Triple “wildly unlikely harm,” am I right?
You were once a thought leader for many people, John. But last night you exposed yourself as being a thought sayer, reading a script. It was shameful and disappointing, and one day you’ll look back and realize you were on the wrong side of history in the most public way possible.
That day is coming soon.