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Criminal Abroad – Home Free Home?

Foreign countries have filed criminal charges against Merck & Co., a major pharmaceutical company, over their HPV vaccine, Gardasil. Some of the charges include failing to properly inform the public of dangerous side effects and fraudulent marketing. While profit remains high in the United States, it’s unlikely that there will be any civil or criminal prosecution since they have essentially bought their immunity from any charges. 

Q:  What happens when several foreign countries indict a Big-Pharma company for criminally purveying an allegedly dangerous vaccine?

A:  Ramp up sales in the U.S.A.

Q:  Isn’t that a terrible strategy, given how robust our justice system can be in ferreting out wrongdoing and punishing criminals?

A:  No, since Big-Pharma bought itself immunity from both civil and criminal prosecution – no matter how blatant the criminality and harmful the vaccine.

Q:  Well, won’t our vaunted Food & Drug Administration step in and prevent sales to protect the public?

A:  It has not to date.  The CDC still claims the vaccine is safe, and that all known side effects have been disclosed.

Q:  Holy smokes!  What’s the vaccine and which pharmaceutical company is it?

A:  The vaccine is Gardasil, and the company is Merck-Sanofi Pasteur Laboratories.

Q:  What countries have filed criminal charges against it?

A:  France, India, Japan, and Spain, and reportedly others.

Q:  What is the vaccine supposed to be for?

A:  It is supposed to immunize women from human papillomavirus infection, a common sexually transmitted disease.  HPV has been associated with the development of certain forms of genital cancer, although the vast majority of infections can be treated and clear up without having caused any harm.  The surest way to avoid HPV infection is the use of condoms, and they have no – zero- harmful side effects.

Q:  What are the allegations Spain is making against Merck?

A:  As reported in Health Impact News, the charges are:

  • fraudulent marketing and/or administration of an inadequately tested vaccine;
  • failure to inform the public about the potential risks of using Gardasil;
  • clear infringement of the right to informed consent;
  • ignoring new medical conditions in those who used Gardasil despite the similarity of their symptoms and the relatively short period of time between vaccine administration and the onset of symptoms;
  • ignoring established and new scientific evidence illustrating the potential harmful effects of Gardasil ingredients and manufacturing methods;
  • callous disregard for those suffering new medical conditions post-Gardasil;
  • failure to inform the public that HPV infections are simply one of the risk factors involved in the  development of cervical cancer;
  • failure to inform the public that 90% of all HPV infections clear on their own without medical intervention;
  • failure to inform the public about alternative methods of controlling cervical cancer; and
  • criminal liability for the injuries resulting from the administration of Gardasil.

Q:  What harm is being alleged that Gardasil causes?

A:  The charges cover a range of injury; some claim permanent life-altering injuries and even death have been caused.  I am not aware of any published peer-reviewed scientific article substantiating these claims, which seem to be primarily anecdotal.

Q:  Well, if we only have anecdotal evidence, doesn’t that mean we should ignore the complaints?

A:  No.  Not at all. Some teens have said that after receiving the vaccine they suffer from numbness, uncontrollable movements, sharp pains, seizures, fatigue, severe joint and muscle pain since getting the vaccine.  Are those symptoms caused by the vaccine?  Merely because the evidence is anecdotal does not mean it is to be ignored. To the contrary, if one gets enough similar complaints across the globe, that evidence makes it all the more imperative that unbiased scientific investigation is necessary… and that investigation must include a review of all the information in the manufacturers’ possession, custody, or control.

Q:  Why should we care, if the harm is not published in peer-reviewed medical journals?

A:  Because we have learned from bitter experience that these journals typically shy away from publishing articles critical of profit-making drugs.  Almost all medical and scientific journals get paid advertising from Big-Pharma.  Unfortunately, we in the United States will not have any opportunity to test the claims of safety or harm in our justice system – which, to this day, remains the best system for revealing and proving criminal and civil wrongdoing.

Q:  What could possibly motivate a company to cover up dangerous side effects in this vaccine, if they exist?

A:  Profit.  Look at the math.  Imagine if they could convince all the young women in the U.S. that they should get this vaccination (as we properly try to do for well-proven vaccines like those for measles, mumps, polio, etc.)?  Millions and millions of youngsters every year, year in and year out, might be getting a vaccine for something that rarely causes cancer and usually clears up on its own or with minimal medical treatment.  My speculation is that billions of dollars are at stake.

Q:  Any suggestions?

A:  Yes.  Remove the immunity.  In criminal cases, proof beyond a reasonable doubt is a prerequisite for a conviction.  That standard is so high that only the most powerful cases can survive.  A reasonable debate can be engaged over the standard of proof necessary in civil cases. Would it be better public policy to require proof by clear and convincing evidence in vaccine liability cases as opposed to a preponderance of the evidence?  This is a debate we should welcome.  The public is best protected when those who sell a product are also responsible and accountable for the consequences of anticipated uses.  Immunity allows considerations of profit to triumph over safety.  The cost in human suffering becomes irrelevant in the equation.  When we allow money to be exalted over human health and safety, it is our society that has become sick and in need of treatment.

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