Introduced by Sen. Beverly Hammerstrom (R) on September 12, 2006, to require the parents or guardian of every female child entering sixth grade in a public or nonpublic school to either have the child vaccinated with the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, or sign a statement to the effect that he or she had received information schools would be required to distribute on the connection between HPV and cervical cancer, and had elected for the child not to receive the vaccine.
Referred to the Senate Health Policy Committee on September 12, 2006.
Reported in the Senate on September 19, 2006, with the recommendation that the bill pass.
Referred to the House Health Policy Committee on September 20, 2006.
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2) Re: DO YOUR HOMEWORK!!!! by eavedrop44 on March 31, 2012 including the “role of government and advocate leaders.” That particular session’s presenter was Dr. J. Thomas Cox, who among his many distinguished affiliations, includes Merck & Co. new generation style
3) DO YOUR HOMEWORK!!!! by Anonymous Citizen on April 10, 2007 HPV stories generate different reporting approach
Fort Worth Daily News
April 08, 2007
by Cindy Bevington (KPC News)
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I found the colorful pamphlets on my desk with a hand-printed note attached: “This hospital has no ties to drug companies — thought you would find this interesting and helpful.”
It wasn’t signed. I was sorry for that because, of all the letters I’ve received in nearly a year of continuously writing about government waste in social services and government’s intrusion into parents’ rights over their children, this was the only unsigned comment that came my way.
I was especially distressed that I wouldn’t be able to talk to this person in person, to tell him or her that, unfortunately, this hospital DOES have ties to drug companies. BIG ties.
Yes, this vaccine information brochure from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) does boldly proclaim “the Center does not receive support from pharmaceutical companies.” But what it doesn’t say is that some of the doctors working for this hospital not only receive support from pharmaceutical companies, but are the very inventors of the vaccines the brochures promote.
For example, one doctor cited in the brochure, Paul Offit, is the chief of the division of infectious diseases at CHOP and director of the Vaccine Education Center there. However, he also shares the patent on Rota Teq, the rotavirus vaccine (for infant diarrhea) developed by drug giant Merck Inc. It is the same vaccine that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning on in February, after reports of adverse side effects of a serious bowel condition began trickling into the government’s Vaccine Adverse Effects Reporting System (VAERS).
Also, according to a statement by Indiana U.S. Rep. Dan Burton, R-5th, at a meeting of the U.S. House Committee on Government Reform on June 15, 2000, Offit reportedly had revealed to the committee that he received grant money from Merck to develop the vaccine.
More ties to drug companies
“(Offit) also disclosed that he is paid by the pharmaceutical industry to travel around the country and teach doctors that vaccines are safe,” Burton added in that June 15 meeting. At that time, Burton said, Offit was a member of the Centers for Disease Control’s advisory committee who had voted on three rotavirus issues, “including making the recommendation of adding rotavirus vaccine to the Vaccines for Children’s program.”
(Interestingly, in an article Offit wrote in 2005, “Why Are Pharmaceutical Companies Gradually Abandoning Vaccines?” Offit noted that “today the largest single U.S. purchaser of vaccines is the federal government through the Vaccines For Children (VFC program.”)
When you consider that, also in 2005, the Merck Company Foundation announced the creation of the Maurice R. Hilleman Chair in Vaccinology at CHOP through the University of Pennsylvania, you could hardly say that Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has “no ties to drug companies.” Add to that:
According to a press release issued when Merck endowed the chair, Hilleman was a senior vice president at Merck who retired in 1984.
“CHOP and Dr. Hilleman have long been partners in the development of vaccines for children,” Steven M. Altschuler, M.D., president and CEO of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said in the release. “We are honored to continue this tradition by supporting an endowed Chair in Dr. Hilleman’s name.”
The amount of the endowment was $1.5 million, to be held jointly by the University of Pennsylvania and CHOP, the press release added, with CHOP contributing $500,000 in matching funds.
Doctors’ letters flow in
Ever since I started this series of government- related stories — beginning with a report on SEA 529, an Indiana law passed in 2005 that includes a section mandating mental health testing of all Indiana children from birth to age 22 — I have received letters, calls and e-mails from all over the U.S., as well as a few from Europe.
These contacts are not just from parents or political action groups. What is phenomenal is the number of physicians who have taken time to write — and sign their names.
Some have penned long letters detailing their disgust with government’s ever-intruding mandates on citizens’ lives, and especially children’s, and particularly when it comes to vaccines or prescription medicines. Others have attached their own research or others’ professional journal papers, to support their comments on how they believe pharmaceuticals are allegedly influencing physical and mental health mandates that ultimately benefit the pharmaceutical industry.
An Eastern Seaboard physician wrote to tell me that, in the wake of states’ trying to mandate the human papilloma vaccine (HPV), suddenly last week, major insurance companies had decided not to pay for ANY childhood vaccines recommended by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) “if it is a vaccine that can be obtained through the state.”
Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield, this Seabord physician said, had already sent letters to doctors in at least one state informing them of this new policy. With the budget constraints that most states face, and if they mandate these vaccines as a prerequisite to be able to come to school, the states are as good as mandating illiteracy, this doctor alleged, because many families who don’t qualify for state aid may not be able to pay for their own vaccines.
(Probably not so coincidentally, The Associated Press in early February reported that insurance companies were beginning to balk at paying for Gardasil, Merck & Company’s HPV vaccine, which costs about $360 for three shots, not counting office visits or related charges.)
A different doctor, from California, who is a former CDC employee-apparently-turned whistleblower — even sent me via e-mail a 300-page book he’s written on an ACIP vaccine that he alleges is causing serious side effects that he says the CDC is ignoring. An interview with this doctor will be part of future segments in this series.
“Feel free to ‘steal’ any data you can use,” an Illinois doctor wrote, referring to documents he’d attached to his note on my HPV stories. An Oklahoma obstetrician/gynecologist — whose interview will be in the next segment of this series — promised to mail me copies of professional journals that refuted or questioned certain childhood vaccine information being circulated among the major media.
These are just a few examples of the many letters that just keep coming from medical professionals who are in both private and group practice, as well as from pediatric doctors’ and physician support groups.
Oprah guest had Merck connections
Some people have contacted me believing I would take a “side” on one issue or another that they supported. In those instances I have explained that, whether I’m appearing on TV or radio or simply working, my objective is to report the facts as I find them.
And, it goes without saying that between nearly a year’s worth of research on government mandates for children and the people who have contacted me on the topics I’ve been writing about, that I’ve gathered a literal mountain of documents containing all kinds of facts.
Then, last week as I was trying to decide what facts I wanted to report next, and how to do it, someone called from Washington, D.C. — a member of the National Organization for Women — and asked me if I was aware that Oprah was addressing the HPV vaccine issue in a show the next day.
No, I wasn’t, I responded, but I would be sure to catch it. And I did. It featured Marie Savard, a well- publicized physician and women’s health advocate who’s been making national speakers bureaus’ rounds for several years. I recognized her right away as a prominent speaker for Women In Government (WIG), a 501(c)(3) group comprised mostly of women state legislators.
On its Web site, the group says its purpose is to provide “leadership opportunities, networking, expert forums and educational resources to address and resolve complex public policy issues.”
On Oprah, Savard did not mention that she was one of WIG’s speakers. She also didn’t mention that she is a speaker for Merck. She also didn’t mention that she sits on the Board of Trustees for the University of Pennsylvania — where that Merck-endowed chair was established two years ago.
Neither did she mention that she is a consulting physician/contributing expert for MerckSource.com, a public Web-based medical resource sponsored by Merck where, if you type in Marie Savard on the site’s search engine, you get hundreds of references to her. (Type in Marie Savard on Merck.com and you get three to 18, depending on which day you do it.)
As a speaker, Savard appears compassionate and knowledgeable. But I was disappointed — no, angry — that she wasn’t up-front about her connections to the drug company that sells the drug she basically was selling on Oprah.
But worse, I was bitterly disappointed in Oprah, who for many years has been my all-time heroine (if you don’t count the fictional Anne of Green Gables).
A different approach
Watching Oprah, and feeling my frustration grow at how major media seemingly have been selectively “informing” the public on the HPV vaccine issue, as well as other governmental moves into private lives — along with other information, such as Texas Governor Rick Perry’s most likely “other” reason for wanting to mandate the HPV vaccine in his state — I finally realized how I needed to finish reporting all I’ve learned in the last year.
That is, if my employer would allow me to do it the way I was proposing.
What I proposed was to write some first-person articles, in a fireside chat, conversational way. It’s not the conventional approach to reporting. But, then, I’ve never been a conventional reporter.
Luckily, my supervisor — KPC Media Group publisher Terry Housholder — agreed. So, that’s why this and the next series of stories will appear in the format that you’re seeing now.
Oh — what about Texas Gov. Perry? For the longest time, I’ve been sitting on this, waiting for some major news media to report it. But since they haven’t, I will: Remember Women In Government which, as a group, has taken on supporting mandates for the HPV vaccine in all the states, and which has sponsored numerous symposia and seminars at five-star hotels on HPV and cervical cancer?
Well, on Nov. 17, 2005 at a “black-tie-optional gala dinner” that opened WIG’s three-day HPV & Cervical Cancer Summit in Atlanta, the keynote speaker was none other than Texas first lady Anita Perry who, according to her bio on the meeting’s agenda, “in 2004 continued her dedication to improving childhood immunization rates, serving as the state’s immunization education spokesperson.”
The purpose of the conference, as evidenced by its printed agenda, was to overview the history of cervical cancer, and to review prevention strategies, including the “role of government and advocate leaders.” That particular session’s presenter was Dr. J. Thomas Cox, who among his many distinguished affiliations, includes Merck & Co.
Other speakers at that conference included doctors and government officials who all have, or have had stakes in, or connections to drug companies, including Merck. Savard was there, too, as a facilitator for breakout sessions on HPV screening, prevention and education.
Coming in future stories: Who pays for state- mandated health programs and drugs? How much does it cost to be a sponsor for Women In Government? What’s this about a government study following 100,000 children from the womb to age 21?
CINDY BEVINGTON is the special assignments editor for this newspaper.
She can be reached at email@example.com