Author Topic: Vaccines - good science vs corporate profit  (Read 296 times)

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Offline Quesi

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Vaccines - good science vs corporate profit
« on: July 04, 2013, 09:15:45 AM »
I find myself conflicted here.  Polio and chicken pox have become things of the past.  Vaccines have changed the world.  Most of us here mock the religious nuts who pray and put the rest of us at risk rather than vaccinating their kids. 

But pharmaceutical companies do love their profits.  I really hate sitting in front of the tv in the evening after a long day of work, and having corporations pushing everything from prescription toe fungus remedies to depression medication to specific birth control pills to osteoporosis prevention stuff and stuff to lower your cholesterol.  Why are these things being marketed on tv?  Shouldn't medical treatment decisions be between you and your doctor? 

But then your realize that they are marketing even more aggressively to the doctors.  Fancy luncheons in elegant locations in which they present the wonders of the new miracle drug they just created.  A handful of free samples to doctors to give out to their patients.  And when the supplies run out, the doctor thinks it is a good idea to write scripts for those products that he learned about over crème brulee.

And on the rare days that I'm sitting in front of daytime television, there are the ads for lawyers who will represent you in lawsuits if you suffered ill effects from the medications that were advertised on tv a couple of years back.

I sort of have a personal policy.  I put up a fight if a doctor suggests a NEW medication or a medication that is currently being advertised on tv.   I have a slight vitamin D deficiency, and when I broke my foot last year, it took a ridiculously long time to heal.  The doctor thinks some popular osteoporosis medication might be in order.  I said no, and I'm making a conscious effort to make sure I get vitamin D and calcium (together) in my diet.  When menopause takes over, I will do my research and perhaps reconsider.   But some of those osteoporosis prevention miracles are among the class action lawsuits of today.   


But I get really pissed at those anti-vaccine families, who put everyone in danger.  Especially folks who can't get vaccines, like chemo patients and transplant patients, and Guillain-Barre  survivors like me. 

I got Guillain-Barre from a rubella vaccine.  It is a risk.  A tiny tiny risk of vaccines.  It is very rare.  The risk outweighs the benefits of preventing so many diseases. 

All of this rambling is my way of building up to this article that some of my friends are posting on facebook today.

Now no vaccine has ever been quite as controversial as garadasil.  A recently developed vaccine, it was created to prevent a very common sexually transmitted virus that has been linked to cervical cancer.  The corporate marketers didn't go for tv ads.  Instead, they got progressive government officials to buy into a sort of public service "education" campaign.  I remember when I was in the process of adopting my daughter, a gynecologist started singing its praises, reminding me to make sure my daughter started getting the 3 part vaccine at 9 years old.  My daughter was less than a year old, and I didn't even have custody of her yet.  But this doctor was singing the praises of this marvelous, wonder vaccine, and reminding me to put in on my schedule towards the end of the next decade. 

I told her I was suspicious of new medications, and she countered, with a cheery countenance, proclaiming that this was NOT a medication!  It was a vaccine!  Like a polio vaccine!  Perfectly safe!  Life saving! 

Well, the suggested start time for this miracle drug is now only 3 years away for my sweet little girl.   And the news is not so positive. 

The CDC endorses it.  Merck made sure of that. 

But one of the vaccine developers is making some news speaking out about the risks of the vaccine.  The article says:

Dr. Harper explained in her presentation that the cervical cancer risk in the U.S. is already extremely low, and that vaccinations are unlikely to have any effect upon the rate of cervical cancer in the United States. In fact, 70% of all H.P.V. infections resolve themselves without treatment in a year, and the number rises to well over 90% in two years. Harper also mentioned the safety angle.

All trials of the vaccines were done on children aged 15 and above, despite them currently being marketed for 9-year-olds. So far, 15,037 girls have reported adverse side effects from Gardasil alone to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (V.A.E.R.S.), and this number only reflects parents who underwent the hurdles required for reporting adverse reactions.


http://southweb.org/lifewise/the-lead-vaccine-developer-comes-clean-so-she-can-sleep-at-night-gardasil-and-cervarix-dont-work-are-dangerous-and-werent-tested/

And I find myself really torn.  I believe in modern medicine.  But the publically traded pharmaceutical industry is about profit, and their marketing strategies are superb.

So scientists, health professionals, skeptics, critical thinkers out there.  What are your thoughts?   In general, about the unhealthy relationship between for-profit corporations and scientific research, but more specifically about the marketing of Gardasil, vs the benefits of Gardasil. 

Offline Nick

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Re: Vaccines - good science vs corporate profit
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2013, 09:33:31 AM »
Like health care in this country meds are made for a profit.  So are vaccines.  That is not going to change any time soon.  I remember Michelle Bachman saying this vaccine you speak of caused mental retardation.  Some lady told her that so it had to be true.  Several ladies in my community have died from cancer that could have been prevented if this vaccine had been around when they were young.  There are still people who think the polio vaccine was a gov conspiracy.  If it were me I would make sure your daughter had he vaccine.  Can't imagine what ti would feel like years from now if she gets cancer and you know you could have prevented it.
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Offline Quesi

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Re: Vaccines - good science vs corporate profit
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2013, 01:00:50 PM »
Like health care in this country meds are made for a profit.  So are vaccines.  That is not going to change any time soon.  I remember Michelle Bachman saying this vaccine you speak of caused mental retardation.  Some lady told her that so it had to be true.  Several ladies in my community have died from cancer that could have been prevented if this vaccine had been around when they were young.  There are still people who think the polio vaccine was a gov conspiracy.  If it were me I would make sure your daughter had he vaccine.  Can't imagine what ti would feel like years from now if she gets cancer and you know you could have prevented it.

You know, it is not that simple.  Just do it!  What's to lose? 

Last month the Japanese government withdrew its endorsement of Gardasil because they believe that negative side effects outweigh the potential benefits.  http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/6/prweb10878010.htm  Japan cites side effect rates that are 3, 4, 5 or 6 times more frequent than side effects from other government sponsored vaccines such as pneumococcus and encephalitis.  Apparently Australia is looking at pulling it as well. 

It is not like it even prevents cervical cancer.  It reduces (by 70% I think) the transmission of a virus which usually runs its course and goes away, but in rare cases can turn into one form of cervical cancer. 

This isn't a polio vaccine.  It doesn't make a terrible disease go away. 

But Merck has a stronghold here in the US, and the "recommendation" to use it is not going to go away any time soon.  Expensive lobbyists.   Doctors like my gyno, feeling downright starry eyed about endorsing it the year it was released, and proclaiming it "absolutely safe" even though it isn't. 

I don't know.  I have really mixed feelings. 

Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: Vaccines - good science vs corporate profit
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2013, 01:34:32 PM »
Quesi

We can't lump all vaccines together, like your doctor seemed to do. If there are people and governments questioning garadasil, you have reason to be concerned. If the same folks were questioning polio vaccines as a conspiracy, I wouldn't listen to them. But if they, like you, are willing to accept some vaccines and yet are questioning others, go ahead and do some questioning right along with them.

The fact that it hasn't been tested on 9 year olds is reason enough to put off the vaccine until she is 15. And in the meantime there may well be more info in either direction worthy of your consideration.

I too question big pharm and the profit motive in the medical industry, while simultaneously recognizing that some of the stuff that both drug companies and doctors do is unquestionably lifesaving and worthwhile. Having to pick and choose which stuff to believe/rely on/accept/reject is a pain in the butt. And one must always keep in mind that you cannot possibly prepare for or prevent all possible health issues your daughter might face in the future. All you can do is think before you act, gather information before you let your doctor act, and cross your fingers that you've done your best.

I do hope, for all good reasons, that your little one stays healthy. What scares me is that if medical costs rise at the same rate between now and the time your daughter is in her 60's that they went up in my lifetime, even the Gates and Buffett and Walton families won't be able to afford health care. Someone capable of sanity needs to address the disconnect between life and the reality of the health care system and its costs. And the reason for those costs. Otherwise we won't even be able to afford known useful vaccinations and polio and tetanus and other horrid things will return because nobody will be able to afford otherwise.
Not everyone is entitled to their opinion. They're all entitled to mine though.

Offline LoriPinkAngel

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Re: Vaccines - good science vs corporate profit
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2013, 01:52:43 PM »
You know what prevents HPV & has no side effects --  CONDOMS.
It doesn't make sense to let go of something you've had for so long.  But it also doesn't make sense to hold on when there's actually nothing there.

Offline Quesi

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Re: Vaccines - good science vs corporate profit
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2013, 01:59:28 PM »
You know what prevents HPV & has no side effects --  CONDOMS.

Yeah, right.  And quite a few other things too.  I have no reservations about condoms, and my sweet little girl will carry them years before I hope she has the opportunity to use them.   

Offline Irish

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Re: Vaccines - good science vs corporate profit
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2013, 05:19:33 PM »
I will defend, all day long, the rights of a company to make a profit (even a huge, monstrous profit) in line with ethical business practices.  However, if a pharmaceutical company has marketed a vaccine that was rushed to production, not tested thoroughly, the cost-to-benefit ratio is too high, inadequate results, or other reasons then we have a violation of ethics and I do not support that.  I'm unaware of the Gardasil campaign, mostly because I'm not a parent and I'm past the age where HPV vaccinations are recommended.

I know I have more to say I'm just finding the words difficult to precisely express my stance.  As far as the microbiology side of things:  there are dozens of HPV strains and variants.  Most are innocuous and most everybody has been exposed to them.  Some cause warts, both genital and non-genital.  And few cause cancers[1].

You know what prevents HPV & has no side effects --  CONDOMS.

Technically... condoms only reduce the risk.  You can still get HPV infections while using a condom and HPV is the most common STD.[2]
 1. Relying on foggy memory I want to say HPV type 16 or 18 is the main cause of cervical cancer
 2. http://www.cdcnpin.org/scripts/std/std.asp#1e
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Offline Seppuku

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Re: Vaccines - good science vs corporate profit
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2013, 02:52:46 PM »
I had wondered about this kind of thing. The science vs business. As somebody attempting to lose weight I decided to do my own research into diet pills specifically. It's interesting to read up on the claims and the science and of course the amount of dodginess out there. If you want to attempt them, you have to be very careful. I came across one thing that's not long been on the market, hoodia pills/patches. The science is that the hoodia plant can suppress appetite, the history is that bushman tribes use it to curb their own hunger, be it on hunting trips or when there may not be food available. With this you've got a couple of BBC journalists going out there and using the hoodia plant and finding it effective. It seems the effect is real. However, it has ended up in a pill form and more recently in a patch. But the companies developing these and developing similar weightloss products seem dodgy. What I found really disturbing was one company reviewing their own products, numerous sites created for the sole purpose of saying how great they were. Yes, nothing dodgy about that at all. Some of these companies like to link the BBC article to bring some of their integrity into the product, despite the fact they were eating from the plant and NOT a manfactured pill.

One other supposed 'miracle' is Raspberry Ketone, most of the time companies will use a chemical replacement rather than the natural ingredient (which happens to be expensive). You see all this 'wow' and 'shabam!' Miracle pills will do the trick! Some manage to feed off of "celebrity 'x' tried this', one of them I think Paris Hilton used, yes, she's thin, but she doesn't strike me as somebody with much of a brain so the effect was lost on me and the vast majority of these so-called "miracle pills" are not scientifically tested and you can't even determine whether they will work. But it's easy money for businesses trying to sell the miracle cure, especially those who choose to make shortcuts. In fairness to safety, at least Raspberry Ketone are used as flavouring in some foods, but you don't know what other crap people put into those pills. 

In the interest of researching the topic it was actually really difficult to separate the bullshit from the facts. Much of it seems to be marketing. Looking on medical sites, it seems the best tested way for diet supplements for losing weight is fat binding, also suggested on the NHS site. I think I only found 1 manufacturer who is able to brag certification, though their products still didn't have enough conclusive scientific study to show their effectiveness, but at least typical customer feedback is positive (at least looking at their Amazon store).

However, I suspect many companies just use scientifc or science-like words to help sell a product to give an air of integrity, to suggest it is supported by something scientific, but it could be pure marketing jargon.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2013, 03:42:06 PM by Seppuku »
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Online nogodsforme

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Re: Vaccines - good science vs corporate profit
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2013, 03:45:59 PM »
I agree that the profit motive screws up medical research and care. However, I think the HPV shot is a good thing, or at least, better than not getting it. The reason for getting it young is to try to get the kids before they have sex and are exposed to the HPV. If you have doubts, you should wait until your daughter is older, and there is more research.  There is no reason to get the shots when she is 3!

We just lost grandma to cervical cancer last week. She was 87, and yeah, she would have died of something eventually. But she spent the last three years of her life with her insides rotting out, her female parts disintegrating and going mad from the pain. We figure she was exposed to HPV by her first husband, a liar and cheater who ran around with other women. She probably had the virus all her life and did not know it, since she rarely went to doctors. :P

My daughter is 16 and she just got the first of three shots. She asked for it, because she did not want to get what her grandma had. We researched it and decided the benefits outweighed the risks. In the US religious morality gets mixed into everything. People are objecting to the shots because they associate it with sex. &)
 
As for Japan not using it, Japanese medical authorities do not approve of birth control pills, either. They don't have the US hangups about sex. They think the hormones are unnatural and harmful. Women in Japan use condoms and expect to have several abortions. Every culture is different. :-\
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Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.