Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
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Pharmaguy curates and provides insights into selected drug industry news and issues.
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A Swarm of Anti-Vaxxers in Washington Meet & Greet Friendly Trump Anti-Vaccine Supporters

A Swarm of Anti-Vaxxers in Washington Meet & Greet Friendly Trump Anti-Vaccine Supporters | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

They’re calling it a “revolution for truth.”

 

Activists who reject the robust science supporting vaccinations are gathering here Friday for a protest and march, capped off by a speech from Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a noted and vociferous vaccine skeptic (read “Trump Picks Vaccine Critic Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to Chair Vaccine Panel”; http://sco.lt/9J3GFt and “Off The Grid: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Says Vaccines are Pay Dirt’ for #Pharma”; http://sco.lt/6smHDt).

 

The demonstrations follow a lobbying push on Thursday, in which activists held 80 meetings on Capitol Hill, many of them with staffers for members of Congress, according to Irene Pi, an organizer from Arizona.

 

“We’re being heard, and we’re going to enact change,” activist Jena Dalpez told STAT, just before she headed to her fourth congressional office of the day.

 

Advocates who reject that research have gained confidence in recent months, buoyed in part by the election of President Trump, who has a long history of raising unsubstantiated doubts about vaccine safety.

 

High on the lobbying agenda: Pushing members of Congress to encourage President Trump to establish a new vaccine safety commission. Kennedy emerged from a meeting with Trump in January saying such a commission would be established, and he’d lead it. That announcement set off alarms among public health experts; Trump’s team soon moved to quiet the frenzy by saying no decisions had been made about the panel. Kennedy later said, however, that he was confident the vaccine safety commission would move forward.

 

The activists organizing the “Revolution for Truth” also want Congress to repeal a Reagan-era law that had the effect of moving lawsuits over vaccine injuries out of the civil courts by setting up a separate compensation system. People can get compensation through that system if they’re able to meet strict requirements in showing a vaccine did, in fact, cause their injury. Activists oppose the system in large part because autism is not on the list of recognized injuries that can sometimes stem from vaccines.

 

Other key goals: Getting Trump to take vaccine safety out of the purview of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And nudging him to issue an executive order banning the government from purchasing vaccines that use the mercury-based preservative thimerosal. That preservative has never been in many key vaccines and was taken out of other childhood vaccines in 2001. Research shows it is not harmful in low doses.

 

Further Reading:

  • “Vaccines Are Path to Better Revenue Growth for Some #Pharma Companies”; http://sco.lt/582wTZ
  • “When Does It Makes Economic Sense for #Pharma Industry to Develop Vaccines vs Drugs?”: http://sco.lt/7adpSb
  • “Want to Avoid Toxins in Your Flu & Other Vaccines? ‘Good Luck,’ Says Cleveland Clinic Wellness Doctor”; http://sco.lt/4gmHXl
  • “CDC’s #VaxWithMe Social Media Campaign has been updated”; http://sco.lt/8bQcuv
  • “Intelligent, High Income People Refuse Vaccinations”; http://sco.lt/67gVs1
  • "Everything You Wanted to Know About Vaccine Marketing, PR, Earned Media, Lobbying, and 'Anti-Vaxxers'"; http://bit.ly/29H0UOL
  • “Discredited Anti-Vaxxer Researcher Is “Very Positive” He Has an Ally in Trump”; http://sco.lt/76R4xF
  • “Better to Keep Vaccine Adverse Event Reports Secret, Concludes Study”; http://sco.lt/4gkjhJ
Pharma Guy's insight:

All the more reason to support the March for Science on April 22, 2017!

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Anti-Vaxxers Emboldened by Trump’s Embrace of Vaccine-Autism Conspiracy Theory

Anti-Vaxxers Emboldened by Trump’s Embrace of Vaccine-Autism Conspiracy Theory | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

President Trump’s embrace of discredited theories linking vaccines to autism has energized the anti-vaccine movement. Once fringe, the movement is becoming more popular, raising doubts about basic childhood health care among politically and geographically diverse groups.

 

Public health experts warn that this growing movement is threatening one of the most successful medical innovations of modern times. Globally, vaccines prevent the deaths of about 2.5 million children every year, but deadly diseases such as measles and whooping cough still circulate in populations where enough people are unvaccinated.

 

In San Antonio, 80 miles southwest of the state capital, Texans for Vaccine Choice convened a happy hour to encourage attendees to get more involved politically. The event was among dozens of outreach events the group has hosted across the state. The relatively new group has boosted its profile, aided by a savvy social-media strategy, and now leads a contentious fight over vaccines that is gearing up in the current legislative session.

 

A leading conspiracy theorist is Andrew Wakefield, author of the 1998 study that needlessly triggered the first fears. (The medical journal BMJ, in a 2011 review of the debacle, described the paper as “fatally flawed both scientifically and ethically.”) Wakefield’s Twitter handle identifies him as a doctor, but his medical license has been revoked. The British native now lives in Austin, where he is active in the state and national anti-vaccine movement.

 

Trump has met with Wakefield, who attended an inaugural ball and told supporters afterward that he had received “tremendous support” for his efforts and hoped to have more meetings with the president.

 

But now immunization advocates are realizing that they can’t let vaccine critics go unchallenged, saying they need voices other than scientists and experts to make the case. They are recruiting teachers and grass-roots groups to explain how immunization protects families and communities.

Pharma Guy's insight:

Further reading:

  • “Trump Picks Vaccine Critic Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to Chair Vaccine Panel”; http://sco.lt/9J3GFt
  • “Off The Grid: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Says Vaccines are Pay Dirt’ for #Pharma”; http://sco.lt/6smHDt
  • “Vaccines Are Path to Better Revenue Growth for Some #Pharma Companies”; http://sco.lt/582wTZ
  • “When Does It Makes Economic Sense for #Pharma Industry to Develop Vaccines vs Drugs?”: http://sco.lt/7adpSb
  • “Want to Avoid Toxins in Your Flu & Other Vaccines? ‘Good Luck,’ Says Cleveland Clinic Wellness Doctor”; http://sco.lt/4gmHXl
  • “CDC’s #VaxWithMe Social Media Campaign has been updated”; http://sco.lt/8bQcuv
  • “Intelligent, High Income People Refuse Vaccinations”; http://sco.lt/67gVs1
  • "Everything You Wanted to Know About Vaccine Marketing, PR, Earned Media, Lobbying, and 'Anti-Vaxxers'"; http://bit.ly/29H0UOL
  • “Discredited Anti-Vaxxer Researcher Is “Very Positive” He Has an Ally in Trump”; http://sco.lt/76R4xF
  • “Better to Keep Vaccine Adverse Event Reports Secret, Concludes Study”; http://sco.lt/4gkjhJ
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Doctors Urged to Forget Conversation with Parents About HPV Vaccination and Just “Announce” It’s Time To Do It!

Doctors Urged to Forget Conversation with Parents About HPV Vaccination and Just “Announce” It’s Time To Do It! | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

OBJECTIVE: Improving provider recommendations is critical to addressing low human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination coverage. Thus, we sought to determine the effectiveness of training providers to improve their recommendations using either presumptive “announcements” or participatory “conversations.”

 

METHODS: In 2015, we conducted a parallel-group randomized clinical trial with 30 pediatric and family medicine clinics in central North Carolina. We randomized clinics to receive no training (control), announcement training, or conversation training. Announcements are brief statements that assume parents are ready to vaccinate, whereas conversations engage parents in open-ended discussions. I.e., Some of the doctors received training to propose the HPV vaccine to parents like any other vaccine, automatically assuming parents were ready to vaccinate their kids. Other doctors were trained to engage in open-ended discussions with parents about the vaccine, while a control group received no training at all. HPV vaccination coverage was 5 percent higher in clinics where doctors presumed parents would opt for the HPV vaccine. The study’s authors say that strategy may be more effective because it allows parents to sidestep discussing sex — which can be a hang-up for some — but still lets parents ask questions if they choose.

 

A physician led the 1-hour, in-clinic training. The North Carolina Immunization Registry provided data on the primary trial outcome: 6-month coverage change in HPV vaccine initiation (≥1 dose) for adolescents aged 11 or 12 years.

 

RESULTS: The immunization registry attributed 17 173 adolescents aged 11 or 12 to the 29 clinics still open at 6-months posttraining. Six-month increases in HPV vaccination coverage were larger for patients in clinics that received announcement training versus those in control clinics (5.4% difference, 95% confidence interval: 1.1%–9.7%). Stratified analyses showed increases for both girls (4.6% difference) and boys (6.2% difference). Patients in clinics receiving conversation training did not differ from those in control clinics with respect to changes in HPV vaccination coverage. Neither training was effective for changing coverage for other vaccination outcomes or for adolescents aged 13 through 17 (n = 37 796).

 

CONCLUSIONS: Training providers to use announcements resulted in a clinically meaningful increase in HPV vaccine initiation among young adolescents.

Pharma Guy's insight:

Wow! This is a low in doctor-patient relationship. So many tactics have been proposed to increase HPV vaccination, but this seems to be the most anti-patient yet, even worse than blaming the parents (read “Merck Ad Blames Parents & Asks: ‘Mom, Dad, Did You Know’"; http://sco.lt/4wtOs5 and “Marketing Gardasil Vaccination in the Halls of Colleges & Universities”; http://sco.lt/87OFSj).

 

Also read: “More Parents Refuse Vaccination for Their Kids. Why? Not the Reason You Think”; http://sco.lt/8pIo65

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Flu Vaccination Rates Among Many Helthcare Workers are as Low as 45%

Flu Vaccination Rates Among Many Helthcare Workers are as Low as 45% | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends annual influenza vaccination for all health care personnel to reduce influenza-related morbidity and mortality among both health care personnel and their patients (1–4). To estimate influenza vaccination coverage among U.S. health care personnel for the 2015–16 influenza season, CDC conducted an opt-in Internet panel survey of 2,258 health care personnel during March 28–April 14, 2016.

 

Overall, 79.0% of survey participants reported receiving an influenza vaccination during the 2015–16 season, similar to the 77.3% coverage reported for the 2014–15 season (5).

 

Coverage in long-term care settings increased by 5.3 percentage points compared with the previous season.

 

Vaccination coverage continued to be higher among health care personnel working in hospitals (91.2%) and lower among health care personnel working in ambulatory (79.8%) and long-term care settings (69.2%).

 

Coverage continued to be highest among physicians (95.6%) and lowest among assistants and aides (64.1%), and highest overall among health care personnel who were required by their employer to be vaccinated (96.5%). Among health care personnel working in settings where vaccination was neither required, promoted, nor offered onsite, vaccination coverage continued to be low (44.9%).

 

An increased percentage of health care personnel reporting a vaccination requirement or onsite vaccination availability compared with earlier influenza seasons might have contributed to the overall increase in vaccination coverage during the past 6 influenza seasons.

Pharma Guy's insight:

“GSK's Whooping Cough Vaccination Campaign Needlessly Demonizes Wolves & Grannies! “; http://sco.lt/52JoCf The REAL “villains” may be healthcare workers!

 

Related stories:

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rosywills's comment, September 30, 2016 8:19 AM
Opportunity Analysis- H1N1 (Swine Flu) Vaccination Market Future Opportunities
Download Free PDF Brochure @ http://bit.ly/1tI5CiY
Curative drugs such as Tamiflu were introduced in the initial phase of the H1N1 pandemic. The latter phase would require drugs facilitating prevention rather than the cure. This market research report forecasts the H1N1 vaccine market for disease prevention in the unaffected population. The initial lot of vaccines will be egg-based and cell-based and first administered to priority groups such as pregnant women, chronic disease patients, and children above 6 months of age.
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More Parents Refuse Vaccination for Their Kids. Why? Not the Reason You Think

More Parents Refuse Vaccination for Their Kids. Why? Not the Reason You Think | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

More doctors are reporting encounters with parents refusing to vaccinate their kids than a decade ago, but parents’ reasons for skipping immunizations have shifted in the past decade.

A new survey published in Pediatrics on Monday reports that 87 percent of pediatricians in the United States say they encountered parents refusing to vaccinate their children in 2013. A decade earlier, 75 percent of doctors reported they had experienced vaccine refusals.

 

The proportion of doctors who had encountered autism concerns fell from 74 percent in 2006 to 64 percent in 2013. It’s the first documented drop in that concern, the authors said.

The most common reason parents gave, according to doctors? The vaccines weren’t necessary.

 

Many parents are concerned about giving their children too many vaccines in a short period of time, a nod to the idea of an alternate vaccine schedule that’s gained steam in recent years. Nearly 73 percent of pediatricians say that parents delayed vaccines because of scheduling concerns.

 

Parental Concerns About Vaccines

 

Vaccine safety

 Too many vaccines

 Development of autism

 Vaccine additives (thimerosal, aluminum)

 Overload the immune system

 Serious adverse reactions

 Potential for long-term adverse events

 Inadequate research performed before licensure

 May cause pain to the child

 May make the child sick

Necessity of vaccines

 Disease is more “natural” than vaccine

 Parents do not believe diseases being prevented are serious

 Vaccine-preventable diseases have disappeared

 Not all vaccines are needed

 Vaccines do not work

Freedom of choice

 Parents have the right to choose whether to immunize their child

 Parents know what’s best for their child

 Believe that the risks outweigh the benefits of vaccine

 Do not trust organized medicine, public health

 Do not trust government health authorities

 Do not trust pharmaceutical companies

 Ethical, moral, or religious reasons

Pharma Guy's insight:

Meanwhile, pharma executives still blame the fringe element: “Dear PhRMA CEO John Castellani: You Can't Arrest People for Being ‘Stupid!’"; http://sco.lt/6Kf51t.

 

Related stories: “The Weird History of Anti-Vaxxers”; http://sco.lt/5OGVnd and “Intelligent, High Income People Refuse Vaccinations”: http://sco.lt/67gVs1 and “Only 0.7 Percent of Children Received No Vaccines at All, Says CDC”; http://sco.lt/8w58YT and “Majority of Parents Do NOT Support HPV Vaccination School-Entry Requirement”; http://sco.lt/54kKQL

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CDC’s #VaxWithMe Social Media Campaign has been updated

CDC’s #VaxWithMe Social Media Campaign has been updated | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

In an effort to promote all vaccinations as an important prevention method for protecting against serious, and even deadly diseases, CDC has updated its #VaxWithMe social media campaign to encourage individuals to be aware and up-to-date on recommended vaccines for themselves and their family for every stage of life.

The new #VaxWithMe campaign seeks to drive visibility of vaccination across a person’s lifespan, spark engagement around the importance of vaccination for all ages, and generate a movement that encourages individuals to be aware of recommended vaccinations for all ages, lifestyles, jobs, travels, and health conditions.

CDC encourages individuals to join the campaign  by sharing messages, post, tweets, photos, and videos with the hashtag #VaxWithMe on social media to promote their support and participation in getting recommended vaccinations.

Learn more about the new #VaxWithMe campaign here!

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De Niro Backs Down: Anti-Vaccine Film Won't be Screened at Tribeca Festival.

De Niro Backs Down: Anti-Vaccine Film Won't be Screened at Tribeca Festival. | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

In a decision that has dredged up the widely debunked link between vaccines and autism, the Tribeca Film Festival plans to screen a film by a discredited former doctor whose research caused widespread alarm about the issue.

The film, “Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe,” is directed and co-written by Andrew Wakefield, an anti-vaccination activist and an author of a study — published in the British medical journal The Lancet, in 1998 — that was retracted in 2010. In addition to the retraction of the study, which involved 12 children, Britain’s General Medical Council, citing ethical violations and a failure to disclose financial conflicts of interest, revoked Mr. Wakefield’s medical license.

On the festival’s website, the biographical material about Mr. Wakefield does not mention that he was stripped of his license or that his Lancet study was retracted. Rather, it says that the Lancet study “would catapult Wakefield into becoming one of the most controversial figures in the history of medicine.”

 

[Reported in 3/27/2016 issue of NYT: "

Facing a storm of criticism over its plan to show a documentary about the widely debunked link between vaccines and autism, the Tribeca Film Festival on Saturday pulled the film from its schedule next month.

 

In a statement, Robert De Niro, a founder of the festival, wrote: “My intent in screening this film was to provide an opportunity for conversation around an issue that is deeply personal to me and my family. But after reviewing it over the past few days with the Tribeca Film Festival team and others from the scientific community, we do not believe it contributes to or furthers the discussion I had hoped for.”]

Pharma Guy's insight:

 

Another chapter in the "The Weird History of Anti-Vaxxers: Especially Blame Travelers & Religion"; http://sco.lt/5OGVnd This time blame Hollywood stars!

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Vaccine Reduces HPV in Teenage Girls, But Many Physicians Don't Recommend It to Parents

Vaccine Reduces HPV in Teenage Girls, But Many Physicians Don't Recommend It to Parents | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

A vaccine introduced a decade ago to combat the sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer has already reduced the virus’s prevalence in teenage girls by almost two-thirds, federal researchers said Monday.

Even for women in their early 20s, a group with lower vaccination rates, the most dangerous strains of human papillomavirus, or HPV, have still been reduced by more than a third.

The news is likely to serve as a welcome energizer in the tumultuous struggle to encourage HPV vaccination in the United States. Despite the vaccine’s proven effectiveness, immunization rates remain low — about 40 percent of girls and 20 percent of boys between the ages of 13 and 17. That is partly because of the implicit association of the vaccine with adolescent sexual activity, rather than with its explicit purpose: cancer prevention. Only Virginia, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia require the HPV vaccine.


There are several obstacles to greater coverage rates in the United States. In other countries, the vaccine is often given in two doses, particularly to girls younger than 15. In the United States, it is given in three doses. An immunization advisory committee to the C.D.C. will convene this week to learn more about the efficacy of the lower dose.

And in some countries, the vaccine is either mandatory or at least offered at school, its cost covered by a national health care system, making administration more streamlined and comprehensive. Such measures helped Rwanda achieve a 93 percent immunization rate in girls. Australia, where the vaccine is offered free to schoolgirls, accomplished a 92 percent reduction in genital warts in women under 21, a study showed.

But in the United States, the vaccine is largely optional.

“Multiple studies have shown the importance of a strong provider recommendation for increasing vaccination coverage,” said Dr. Lauri E. Markowitz, a medical epidemiologist at the National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory Diseases, a division of the C.D.C., who led the research for the latest study.

But studies show that many primary care providers either do not recommend the vaccine to parents and patients or do so halfheartedly. Some doctors are reluctant to discuss the vaccine because the conversation may dance uncomfortably around sexual activity. They may want to use their limited appointment time for health topics that parents may be more willing to engage.


Pharma Guy's insight:

I guess the reports of the demise of HPV vaccines was greatly exaggerated. Read " Former Merck Doctor Predicts that Gardasil will Become the Greatest Medical Scandal of All Time"; http://sco.lt/4l3oe1 

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Sesame Street Julia: Is She a #Pharma Effort to Minimize Effects of Vaccines?

Sesame Street Julia: Is She a #Pharma Effort to Minimize Effects of Vaccines? | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it
The announcement of a new autistic character named "Julia" brought cheers from many, but scorn from some anti-vaccination circles.

You’ve probably heard the news that Sesame Street is introducing a new character who has autism, but at least some people in the anti-vaccination community are furious with the announcement.


Julia, portrayed as an autistic child, is really just an effort to normalize injuries caused by harmful vaccines and make them look like they are happy — something that distracts from a legitimate effort to make vaccines safer, wrote one blogger, Mike Adams of Natural News, according to a Raw Story report.


The introduction of Julia was hailed by much of the public as a step forward in getting kids familiar with those who may be different than them, although in addition to the vaccination issue, some complained that more boys than girls get autism and therefore Julia should have been a boy. Also, Julia has a mild autism, while many kids with it may find the condition much more inhibiting.


But it’s the vaccination issue that Adams said was “another sickening example of the absolute mental derangement of modern society,” he said according to the report.

Pharma Guy's insight:

If the Julia character is "different" it's not in her looks or the in the pose as depicted here. In that sense, autism is being "normalized." However, there are subtleties that probably come into play when other characters have conversations with her.


In any case, the original title of this piece (Anti-vaxxers: Is Big Pharma behind new autistic Sesame Street character?) is misleading in that it is based on one blogger's opinion (Mike "The Health Ranger" Adams) and not on the opinion of the majority of "anti-vaxxers":


“The rollout of autistic Julia is Sesame Street’s attempt to ‘normalize’ vaccine injuries and depict those victimized by vaccines as happy, ‘amazing’ children rather than admitting the truth that vaccines cause autism in some children and we should therefore make vaccines safer and less frequent to save those children from a lifetime of neurological damage,” wrote Mike “The Health Ranger” Adams, of Natural News.


You might say, therefore, that this piece is an attempt by anti-anti-vaxxers (Big Pharma?) to discredit anti-vaxxers.

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Dear PhRMA CEO John Castellani: You Can't Arrest People for Being "Stupid!"

Dear PhRMA CEO John Castellani: You Can't Arrest People for Being "Stupid!" | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

How bitter is the pharmaceutical industry over the anti-vaccine quackery of Jenny McCarthy? John Castellani, who leads the industry trade group PhRMA, would like to see her in cuffs.


“I am very angry about Jenny McCarthy,” Castellani, PhRMA’s president and CEO, told attendees of the MedCity ENGAGE conference Tuesday in Bethesda, Maryland. “That’s stupid. That’s from a public-health standpoint. That’s stupid. It’s based on a lie. It’s based on a myth. And we’re putting children’s lives in danger. The woman ought to be arrested.

“So much for Jenny McCarthy.”


A smattering of the roughly 150 attendees in the room – a mix of patients, policymakers and members of the pharma, hospital, health insurance and tech sectors – applauded.

Pharma Guy's insight:

Really? Is this the opinion of the majority of pharma industry executives?

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Measles Vaccination: Should It Be Opt-Out Rather Than Opt-In?

Measles Vaccination: Should It Be Opt-Out Rather Than Opt-In? | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Protecting individual choice and promoting public health are seemingly at odds. However, an impasse is not inevitable. Achieving a balance between these two competing values is a dynamic process that requires dynamic policy. 


Vaccination practice may well be at a crossroads. Parents value choice and often request to follow a vaccination schedule that deviates from that recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Physicians consequently must decide how far to stray from the standard of care: do they forgo a fundamental feature of health promotion and disease prevention by respecting a parent’s refusal? Do they seek a compromise by requesting continued dialogue about vaccines at future visits or encouraging some vaccines over others? Or, do they take a strong stance and advocate for the child’s and community’s health? There is little consensus on the right approach.

Data are emerging, however, that support a physician communication strategy with parents that is aligned with current vaccination policy: presentation of vaccination as the default. While more research is needed, beginning the vaccination discussion during health supervision visits with a statement regarding which vaccines the child will be getting or are due for—rather than a question soliciting parental vaccine preferences—is substantiated by evidence in the fields of behavioral economics and social psychology that suggests that choice architecture can be a powerful means to achieving a desired goal. Choice architecture leverages the propensity humans have to stick with a decision that is already made, especially among decisions perceived to be complex. Vaccination constitutes such a decision for many parents; not only is it complicated by an overwhelming amount of information, it is also fraught with emotion. It is often easier in these situations to simply accept what is recommended, especially when that recommendation is made by someone as influential and trusted as their child’s pediatrician or family practitioner. Therefore, structuring the vaccination discussion as an opt-out, not an opt-in, may be one strategy that can help optimize the tension between individual choice and public health by better accommodating physician obligations to promote the child’s and the public’s health while minimally intruding on parental autonomy.

Pharma Guy's insight:


Way to go! Opting out is not a good policy for patient informed consent! 

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Pro-Life Groups Blame Merck for Measles Outbreak

Pro-Life Groups Blame Merck for Measles Outbreak | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it
As the measles outbreak focuses attention on parents who object to vaccination, some pro-life groups argue one culprit contributing to the problem is actually Merck.


At issue is the MMR – or measles, mumps and rubella – combination vaccine sold by Merck. Pro-life groups say they object to the rubella component on religious grounds because it was made using cell lines derived from aborted fetuses. As a result, the groups say pro-life supporters have avoided the MMR vaccine ever since Merck ended production in 2009 of a dedicated measles vaccine.


“The current outbreak would not be as severe or widespread if parents had the ability to access separate vaccines,” says Debi Vinnedge, the director of Children of God for Life, a non-profit, pro-life organization. “Parents are being unfairly targeted as the problem when Merck is the problem. If they had the separate doses available more people would have been vaccinated.”

Pharma Guy's insight:


On one hand, as one commenter said: "It really wouldn't matter what Merck did. The anti vaccine people would just come up with another excuse."


On the other hand, combining 3 vaccines in one shot is effective, but perhaps parents should have a choice.


BTW, if the current measles outbreak is due to some parents opting out of having their children take the MMR vaccine, where's the mumps and rubella outbreaks? Because these children also would not be vaccinated against those diseases. 

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The Price of Prevention: Vaccine Costs Are Soaring While Industry Blasts Those Who Refuse to Vaccinate

The Price of Prevention: Vaccine Costs Are Soaring While Industry Blasts Those Who Refuse to Vaccinate | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Vaccination prices have gone from single digits to sometimes triple digits in the last two decades, creating dilemmas for doctors and their patients as well as straining public health budgets. Here in San Antonio and elsewhere, some doctors have stopped offering immunizations because they say they cannot afford to buy these potentially lifesaving preventive treatments that insurers often reimburse poorly, sometimes even at a loss.


Old vaccines have beenreformulated with higher costs. New ones have entered the market at once-unthinkable prices. Together, since 1986, they have pushed up the average cost to fully vaccinate a child with private insurance to the age of 18 to $2,192 from $100, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even with deep discounts, the costs for the federal government, which buys half of all vaccines for the nation’s children, have increased 15-fold during that period. The most expensive shot for young children in Dr. Irvin’s refrigerator is Prevnar 13, which prevents diseases caused by pneumococcal bacteria, from ear infections to pneumonia.


Like many vaccines, Prevnar requires multiple jabs. Each shot is priced at $136, and every child in the United States is required to get four doses before entering school. Pfizer, the sole manufacturer, had revenues of nearly $4 billion from its Prevnar vaccine line last year, about double what it made from high-profile drugs like Lipitor and Viagra, which now face generic competitors.

Pharma Guy's insight:


Wow! Vaccines have no generic competition! Never thought about that. While everyone is blaming people who refuse to have their children vaccinated because of side effect fears (see link to article below), the drug industry (e.g., Pfizer) is pricing vaccines beyond the reach of many people.

Measles cases are spreading, despite high vaccination rates. What’s going on?

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Another Reason for Seniors to Skip Zostavax Vaccine for Shingles: Serious Side Effects Claim Attorneys

Another Reason for Seniors to Skip Zostavax Vaccine for Shingles: Serious Side Effects Claim Attorneys | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Merck & Co. could have a growing Zostavax problem on its hands. After several plaintiffs filed lawsuits claiming the drugmaker’s shingles vaccine caused serious injury and death, attorneys say more cases are on the way.

 

Plaintiffs have sued in state and federal courts in Pennsylvania alleging that Merck’s Zostavax—used to prevent shingles, the painful complication of varicella infection—caused serious side effects, including death.

 

“I think Merck has failed terribly … to warn about the very serious side effects and the failure of the vaccine to do what they claim it does,” attorney Marc Bern told FiercePharma.

 

Bern, founding partner at Marc J. Bern & Partners, said his firm has “thousands of complaints” yet to be filed in Philadelphia, with the injuries running “the gamut from contracting shingles as a result of the vaccine all the way to serious personal injuries such as blindness in one eye, individuals who have serious paralysis in their extremities, brain damage, all the way to death.”

 

In a statement, Merck said it “stands behind the demonstrated safety and efficacy” of the shot, which is licensed in 50 countries.

 

Further Reading:

Pharma Guy's insight:

Seniors have bee avoiding getting vaccinated for shingles even though the Affordable Care Act requires private insurers to cover Zostavax without co-pays for people older than 60 (read “Early Shortages, Delayed Marketing, High Prices, Other Health Priorities, Among Reasons Why Seniors Skip Shingles Vaccine”; http://sco.lt/4wT9NZ Perhaps the side effects mentioned in this article is a bigger reason.

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Want to Avoid Toxins in Your Flu & Other Vaccines? "Good Luck," Says Cleveland Clinic Wellness Doctor

Want to Avoid Toxins in Your Flu & Other Vaccines? "Good Luck," Says Cleveland Clinic Wellness Doctor | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

I, like everyone else, took the advice of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) - the government - and received a flu shot. I chose to receive the preservative free vaccine, thinking I did not want any thimerasol (i.e. mercury) that the "regular" flu vaccine contains.

 

Makes sense, right? Why would any of us want to be injected with mercury if it can potentially cause harm? However, what I did not realize is that the preservative-free vaccine contains formaldehyde.

 

WHAT? How can you call it preservative-free, yet still put a preservative in it? And worse yet, formaldehyde is a known carcinogen. Yet, here we are, being lined up like cattle and injected with an unsafe product. Within 12 hours of receiving the vaccine, I was in bed feeling miserable and missed two days of work with a terrible cough and body aches.

 

My anger actually stems from a constant toxic burden that is contributing to the chronic disease epidemic.

 

Why do I mention autism now twice in this article. Because we have to wake up out of our trance and stop following bad advice. Does the vaccine burden - as has been debated for years - cause autism? I don't know and will not debate that here. What I will stand up and scream is that newborns without intact immune systems and detoxification systems are being over-burdened with PRESERVATIVES AND ADJUVANTS IN THE VACCINES.

 

The adjuvants, like aluminum - used to stimulate the immune system to create antibodies - can be incredibly harmful to the developing nervous system. Some of the vaccines have helped reduce the incidence of childhood communicable diseases, like meningitis and pneumonia. That is great news. But not at the expense of neurologic diseases like autism and ADHD increasing at alarming rates.

 

When I was in medical school in the late 1980s, the rate of autism was 1 in 1,000 children. For those born in the 1950's and 60's, do you recall a single student in your grade with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for ADHD or someone with a diagnosis of autism? I do not.

 

As of 2010, the rate of autism in the U.S. escalated to 1 in 68 children. The deniers will simply state that we do a better job of diagnosing this "disorder". Really? Something (s) are over-burdening our ability to detoxify, and that is when the problems begin.

 

So let me be clear - vaccines can be helpful when used properly. But the vaccination timing and understanding one's epigenetics (how your genes interact with the environment) are all critical to our risk of developing chronic disease. Please talk to your doctor about the optimal timing of vaccinations for your children, and therefore reduce your risk of raising a child with a neurologic complication.

 

For those who want to dive in further, help me understand why we vaccinate newborns for hepatitis B - a sexually transmitted disease. Any exposure to this virus is unlikely to happen before our second decade of life, but we expose our precious newborns to toxic aluminum (an adjuvant in the vaccine) at one day of life.

 

And when they actually need the protection, many who have received this three-shot series in the first year of life will lack antibody protection--as immunity may not last. Perhaps delaying the series until the immune system is more mature would reduce the risk of neurologic complications.

 

[The Clinic responded by doubling down on its disavowal of Neides' column, saying that the health system is "fully committed to evidence-based medicine," and promising to take disciplinary action against Neides.

 

 

The Clinic's full statement reads:

"Cleveland Clinic is fully committed to evidence-based medicine. Harmful myths and untruths about vaccinations have been scientifically debunked in rigorous ways. We completely support vaccinations to protect people, especially children who are particularly vulnerable. Our physician published his statement without authorization from Cleveland Clinic. His views do not reflect the position of Cleveland Clinic and appropriate disciplinary action will be taken."]

 

Further Reading:

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Discredited Anti-Vaxxer Researcher Is “Very Positive” He Has an Ally in Trump

Discredited Anti-Vaxxer Researcher Is “Very Positive” He Has an Ally in Trump | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

The discredited researcher who launched the anti-vaccine movement met with Donald Trump this summer — and found him sympathetic to the cause. Now, with Trump preparing to move into the White House, leaders of the movement are newly energized, hopeful they can undermine decades of public policy promoting childhood vaccinations.

 

At the most basic level, they’re hoping Trump will use his bully pulpit to advance his oft-stated concern — debunked by an extensive body of scientific evidence — that there’s a link between vaccines and autism.

 

“For the first time in a long time, I feel very positive about this, because Donald Trump is not beholden to the pharmaceutical industry,” movement leader Andrew Wakefield told STAT in a phone interview.

 

“He didn’t rely upon [drug makers] to get him elected. And he’s a man who seems to speak his mind and act accordingly. So we shall see,” said Wakefield. A former doctor whose medical license was revoked, Wakefield launched the movement to question the safety of vaccines nearly two decades ago with a fraudulent study (which has since been retracted) suggesting that a widely administered vaccine against measles, mumps, and rubella can cause autism.

 

Wakefield and a small group of like-minded activists spent nearly an hour with Trump in the closing months of the presidential campaign. “I found him to be extremely interested, genuinely interested, and open-minded on this issue, so that was enormously refreshing,” Wakefield said.

 

Though he would be a powerful ally, there are limits to what Trump can do to undercut evidence-based vaccination policies.

 

Public health experts said it’s unlikely Trump will pack federal agencies with activists who would change the recommended childhood vaccine schedule or otherwise steer shifts in federal vaccination policy. The evidence that vaccines are safe and effective is so overwhelming, they said, that such a move would prompt a huge outcry from scientists and many politicians on both sides of the aisle.

 

But experts said there could be a cultural impact of having a doubter in the Oval Office.

Pharma Guy's insight:

Related article: “The Weird History of Anti-Vaxxers”; http://sco.lt/5OGVnd

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Your Next Flu Vaccination May Not Be as Effective as You Think

Your Next Flu Vaccination May Not Be as Effective as You Think | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Flu vaccination efforts are in full swing.

 

But you may have been hearing puzzling things about flu shots over the past couple of years.

 

While the flu is a common illness, that hardly means the science around it is static. Some recent studies have suggested that getting a yearly shot may actually diminish the benefit of successive vaccinations. Others have raised the possibility that statins — the commonly used cholesterol-lowering drugs — may actually interfere with your immune system’s response to influenza vaccine.

 

Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently recommended against the use of the nasal mist vaccine that many kids prefer over injected vaccine (read “CDC Says AZ's FluMist is Ineffective Compared to Flu Shots; i.e., 3% v. 63%!”; http://sco.lt/5E9L2P ).

 

So are the shots worth the bother?

 

P.S. In the not-to-distant past, the CDC and other public health institutes estimated that flu shots cut one’s risk of contracting flu by between 70 percent and 90 percent.

 

But that new way of assessing vaccine effectiveness we talked about earlier has shed more light on that question, and the effectiveness estimate was seen to be too high.

 

The more common claim is that the vaccine lowers one’s risk by an average of about 50 percent to 60 percent — though some years the protection is far less, depending on how well matched the viral targets in the vaccine are to the viruses making people sick.

Pharma Guy's insight:

I see that my supermarket is offering 20% discount off my grocery bill if I get the flu shot at their drug store. Hmmm...

 

Also read:

  • “Flu Shot Doesn't Work as Well as #pharma Clinical Data Suggests”; http://sco.lt/4pRtTd
  • "Everything You Wanted to Know About Vaccine Marketing, PR, Earned Media, Lobbying, and 'Anti-Vaxxers'"; http://bit.ly/29H0UOL
  • “Pharma Needs to Step Up & Help Develop a Universal Flu Vaccine"; http://bit.ly/PMBalbum012913
  • “Adults Only Really Catch the Flu About Twice a Decade, Study Suggests: Another Good Reason Not to Get Flu Vaccine”; http://sco.lt/7yRU9J
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Majority of Parents Do NOT Support HPV Vaccination School-Entry Requirement

Majority of Parents Do NOT Support HPV Vaccination School-Entry Requirement | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Background: The number of states proposing school-entry requirements for human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination has increased over the last decade. However, data are currently limited regarding parents' support of such laws. We sought to obtain the first national estimates of parents' support of HPV vaccination school-entry requirements.

Methods: A national sample of 1,501 parents of 11- to 17-year-old children completed a web-based survey between November 2014 and January 2015. Analyses used multivariable logistic regression to assess correlates of support for school-entry requirements for HPV vaccination.

Results: Overall, 21% of parents agreed that laws requiring HPV vaccination for school attendance “are a good idea,” and 54% disagreed. If school-entry requirements included opt-out provisions, agreement increased to 57%, and only 21% disagreed. Parents more often agreed with requirements without opt-out provisions if they were Hispanic [OR = 1.53; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.05–2.22], believed HPV vaccine was as or more important than other adolescent vaccines (OR = 2.76; 95% CI, 1.98–3.83), or believed HPV vaccine was effective for preventing cervical cancer (OR = 2.55; 95% CI, 1.93–3.37). Parents less often agreed if they resided in Midwest states or believed that HPV vaccine was being pushed to make money for drug companies (both P < 0.05).

Conclusion: Opt-out provisions almost tripled parents' support for HPV vaccine school-entry requirements. Our findings suggest that race/ethnicity, attitudes about HPV vaccine, and region of residence may influence support for requirements without opt-out provisions.

Pharma Guy's insight:

Read “Merck Ad Blames Parents & Asks: ‘Mom, Dad, Did You Know’”; http://sco.lt/4wtOs5 and “Marketing Gardasil Vaccination in the Halls of Colleges & Universities”; http://sco.lt/87OFSj

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NIH Study Leads the Way for #Pharma to Develop a More Effective Flu Vaccine

NIH Study Leads the Way for #Pharma to Develop a More Effective Flu Vaccine | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

The long-held approach to predicting seasonal influenza vaccine effectiveness may need to be revisited, new research suggests. Currently, seasonal flu vaccines are designed to induce high levels of protective antibodies against hemagglutinin (HA), a protein found on the surface of the influenza virus that enables the virus to enter a human cell and initiate infection. New research conducted by scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, found that higher levels of antibody against a different flu surface protein — neuraminidase (NA) — were the better predictor of protection against flu infection and its unpleasant side effects. Neuraminidase, which is not currently the main target antigen in traditional flu vaccines, enables newly formed flu viruses to exit the host cell and cause further viral replication in the body.

 

As expected, the researchers found that the group of participants who had high levels of anti-HA antibodies when enrolled in the trial experienced a significantly lower incidence of mild-to-moderate influenza disease and some reduction in its duration compared with participants with low HA antibody levels. However, the NIAID researchers also found that these participants were just as likely to experience some flu symptoms as those with low levels of HA antibodies. If these results are consistent with naturally occurring flu infection, it suggests that while high HA antibody levels may limit viral shedding, and thus the spread of virus from person to person, these levels may not prevent the development of flu symptoms. This would help to explain why some people who receive the seasonal flu vaccine might still report flu symptoms.

 

Surprisingly, the researchers found that participants with high levels of NA antibodies experienced a more robust protective effect from the vaccine than did those in the high HA group. Specifically, the NIAID team found that the individuals with high NA antibody levels experienced less severe disease, a shorter duration of viral shedding and symptoms, and fewer and less severe symptoms compared with those with high HA levels when challenged with the 2009 H1N1 virus. HA and NA antibody levels considered together may be a better predictor of whether someone develops mild-to-moderate influenza disease — and the severity of their symptoms — than either factor alone, but this study suggests that NA antibodies are the stronger factor for determining disease severity, the authors conclude.

 

Based on these findings, the authors suggest that the role of NA immunity should be considered when studying influenza susceptibility and that NA antigens should be considered in the design of future flu vaccine platforms.

Pharma Guy's insight:

Why didn't the pharma industry do this research? for more on that read this article: "Pharma Needs to Step Up & Help Develop a Universal Flu Vaccine"; http://bit.ly/PMBalbum012913 

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The Weird History of Anti-Vaxxers: Especially Blame Travelers & Religion

The Weird History of Anti-Vaxxers: Especially Blame Travelers & Religion | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Measles and whooping cough, two infectious diseases US public health officials had gotten pretty good at preventing, have made a disturbing comeback in recent years.

 

Why? Many believe the recent outbreaks were closely tied to people who refuse vaccinations for all kinds of reasons.

 

And a new paper in JAMA confirms they're right.

 

The study, led by researchers at Emory University in Atlanta, reviewed 18 studies that traced the immunization histories of the 1,416 people (ages 2 weeks to 84 years) who were diagnosed with measles in the United States since 2000. Of those, 970 patients had detailed vaccine histories.

 

When the researchers looked closely at those histories, they found that 574 people were unvaccinated despite being vaccine eligible, and 405 cases had religious or philosophical reasons for refusing vaccines. In other words, about 29 percent of the total cases (or 42 percent of those for whom researchers had vaccine histories) had no medical reason to abstain from getting their shots.

 

Children with vaccine exemptions are at much greater risk of being infected with measles than fully vaccinated children. In one study the researchers looked at, the risk was 35 times that of the vaccinated population. Of the total measles cases, 178 were younger than 12 months — babies too young to get shots.

 

The cumulative epidemic curve of all the measles outbreaks since 2000 (when the disease was declared "eliminated" in the US) revealed that unvaccinated individuals were often "patient zeroes," meaning they sparked outbreaks by creating pockets of disease susceptibility that caused others to fall ill. Over that period, the US went from having no local spread of measles to 189 cases in 2015

Pharma Guy's insight:

80% of anti-vaxxers claim religious reasons for refusing vaccinations. It's not just ordinary crazy parents among us less fanatic religious types.

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Intelligent, High Income People Refuse Vaccinations

Intelligent, High Income People Refuse Vaccinations | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

The people most likely to refuse to have their children vaccinated tend to be white, well-educated and affluent, researchers report.


A study published in the January issue of the American Journal of Public Health used California state government data on “personal belief exemptions,” or opting out of vaccinations for nonmedical reasons. From 2007 to 2013, the rate of vaccine refusal for personal belief doubled, to 3.06 percent.


The researchers reviewed data among all kindergarten children in the state during that time. More than 17,000 children, attending 6,911 schools, were exempted.


Exemption percentages were generally higher in regions with higher income, higher levels of education, and predominantly white populations. In private schools, 5.43 percent of children were exempt, compared with 2.88 percent in public schools.


In some suburban areas, rates of exemption were near 50 percent, and more than a quarter of California’s schools have measles immunization rates below the 92 to 94 percent required for herd immunity, the level of vaccination necessary to protect people who are not immune.


The lead author, Y. Tony Yang, an associate professor at George Mason University, said that broader vaccination coverage is critical for public health. The findings “emphasize the importance of a targeted approach, focusing on selected communities,” he said. “And we have to think about communicating with these people effectively without attacking them or making them feel defensive.”

Pharma Guy's insight:

Meanwhile, while there is so much handwringing over how to handle the "anti vaxxers," data shows that the measles vaccine at least is as effective as ever in preventing measles overall. See the date here: https://twitter.com/drflanders/status/681096070714257408/photo/1 

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Only 0.7 Percent of Children Received No Vaccines at All, Says CDC

Only 0.7 Percent of Children Received No Vaccines at All, Says CDC | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

The vaccination of children from 1994 to 2013 will prevent 732,000 early deaths in the United States, according to a recent estimate by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


In a report published last month, the agency announced that 90 percent of children under age 3 were vaccinated against poliomeaslesmumpsrubellahepatitis B and chickenpox in 2014. But fewer than 90 percent received DTaP — the vaccine against diphtheriatetanus and pertussis — or the vaccines against Haemophilus influenzae Type Bpneumococcal diseasehepatitis A and rotavirus.In addition, fewer than 90 percent received the recommended hepatitis B dose at birth.


About 71 percent of children received the combined vaccine series — shots containing more than one vaccine, including the DTaP (at least four doses); polio (at least three doses); measles, mumps and rubella (at least one); Haemophilus influenzae Type B (at least three or four); hepatitis B (at least three); chickenpox (at least one); and pneumococcus (at least four doses).


Only 0.7 percent of children received no vaccines at all.


“The really positive message here is that even though we hear a lot about vaccine refusal, most parents choose to protect their children,” said Dr. Amanda Cohn, a pediatrician with the C.D.C. “It’s impressive that so many parents are coming in to get their children vaccinated on time. Parents, providers and government have worked together to accomplish this.”

Pharma Guy's insight:

IMHO, these numbers suggest that the drug industry should stop focusing on the small number of parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated and focus instead on making vaccines using better technology -- e.g. flu vaccines.

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Li ShiJia's comment, February 3, 2017 10:28 PM
About 71 percent of children received the combined vaccine series — shots containing more than one vaccine like for chickenpox, measles, etc. Only 0.7 percent of children received no vaccines at all. On the bright side, the vaccination for children from 1994 to 2013 will prevent 732,000 early deaths in the United States, according to a recent estimate by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Singapore also encourages parents to allow their children to get vaccines when they are young to prevent their child from contacting the disease in the future. However, I feel that the vaccines do not work all the time. I got a vaccine for chickenpox when I was young but still got it (from Colin) last year.
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Is Gardasil a "Flop" Because of Faulty Investigative Reporting or Because of Social Media?

Is Gardasil a "Flop" Because of Faulty Investigative Reporting or Because of Social Media? | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it
The Toronto Star, Canada's highest-circulation daily newspaper, has built a reputation for excellent investigative reporting, including justly celebrated exposes of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.


But now that reputation is in tatters, due to an evidence-free "investigation" of the health risks of the vaccine Gardasil, which immunizes against the dangerous human papillomavirus. The Star's Feb. 5 piece, ominously headlined "A wonder drug's dark side," exploited heart-wrenching family anecdotes of illness and death to undermine a vast library of scientific studies proving the vaccine to be safe.


Worse, the Star responded to an uproar over the article by scientific and medical experts by smearing and demeaning critics -- until the paper's publisher finally acknowledged publicly that the story was wrong: "We failed in this case. We let down. And it was in the management of the story at the top," he told a radio audience on Feb. 11. On Friday, the Star added a subheadline to the online version of the article, acknowledging the uproar and stating in part, "There is no scientific medical evidence of any 'dark side' of this vaccine."

Pharma Guy's insight:

 

Meanwhile, some think social media is to blame. Read the following excerpt from a comment to "Will Social Media Make it Harder for Pharma to "Hide" Drug Side Effects?", a Pharma Marketing Blog post:

 

"Why was Gardasil a flop? It flopped because girls told each other via social media that they felt like $#^& after getting the shot. Not only is uptake in general low but the percentage of girls who get one shot and don't finish the three dose series is astronomical. Social media is killing Gardasil. People won't put up with feeling terrible for some theoretical protection thirty years down the road against something that may never happen to them anyways. Parents won't watch children suffer for the same reason. When they thought their child's adverse reaction was the proverbial "one in a million", they put up with it. Once they began to network (and read the package inserts) and realized how common these adverse reactions really were, parents started saying no. More an more say no every year.

"Pharma can't put the genie back in the bottle. They once controlled the flow of information as the mainstream media wouldn't jeopardize their pharma advertising revenue with critical stories. Blogs, facebook, twitter, etc. have broken the gatekeepers stranglehold on information. It's already happened with vaccines, and it will also happen with traditional drugs. The only reason it hasn't fully happened yet is that the primary market (senior citizens) aren't as plugged into social media as younger consumers. That's changing and it won't be good for pharma."

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Merck - the Josef Mengele of Vaccinators?

Merck - the Josef Mengele of Vaccinators? | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

As cases spike and despite the weight of scientific opinion opponents of vaccination are undeterred in what they see as a battle between good and evil.


Eileen Dannemann is at war. “It’s a war between good and evil. It’s a primordial, cosmic war,” she says. At one point in our interview she compared Merck, the pharmaceutical company that makes the MMR vaccine, with Josef Mengele, the infamous Nazi doctor at Auschwitz.


Her website, which is called the “Vaccine Liberation Army”, is one of a network of blogs and forums espousing, largely, the same message: that vaccines are bad for you, and that they are part of a nefarious, nebulous scheme by “Big Pharma” and, in some cases, the government.

In a way, it is a war – one of opinion, being waged on blogs, on parenting forums, in the media and, lately, by politicians.


An outbreak of measles – one of the most virulent diseases known to man, but one which the CDC declared eliminated (defined as the absence of continuous disease transmission for greater than 12 months) in the United States in 2000 – in the US this year has brought the issue to the forefront of public awareness.


Last year saw a drastic spike in measles cases compared to the years since 2000, with 644 cases reported in the US, and 2015 is on track to exceed that easily, with 102 reported in 14 states in January alone. Two other diseases that had been all but eradicated from the US after mass vaccination for them began – whooping cough, also known as pertussis, and the mumps – are making comebacks of their own.

Pharma Guy's insight:


You're not going to win the argument by just saying these people are crazy. You have to use numbers. For example, this article cites an anti-vaccinator claim: “Zero measles deaths in 10 years, but over 100 measles vaccine deaths reported.” I have not seen any data disputing that statistic, which applies only to the U.S.


To win their argument, however, Pro-vaccinators deceptively cite global numbers indicating that hundreds, even thousands of people -- mostly children in poor countries -- die each year from measles (not actually measles itself but other complications caused by measles). This statistic has little relevance for the U.S. where conditions are much better and where measles doesn't lead to more serious conditions that actually do the killing.

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What it Takes to Market & Deliver a Public Vaccination Program

What it Takes to Market & Deliver a Public Vaccination Program | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it
Health providers, government and the pharmaceutical industry must get together to create powerful single-minded marketing


It's time to create a national public health campaign; imagine having everyone in the room.


  • The NGO that coordinates the national marketing campaign
  • The two pharmaceutical companies that supply the vaccine
  • Primary care representatives – doctors and nurses who administer the vaccine
  • Representatives of midwifes and pharmacists who recommend their patients and customers receive the vaccine
  • Secondary care representatives who encourage their staff get vaccinated too
  • A world-renowned virologist
  • The Ministry of Health's comms team
  • The payer - the Government's medicine funding agency.


And us, the advertising agency.


It's a rare thing, but it is consumer-focused collaborative healthcare marketing and it is happening in New Zealand for the National Influenza Immunisation Awareness Campaign.

Pharma Guy's insight:


Well, that's how it may be done in New Zealand, but we do it differently here in the U.S. Read this: Who's Easier to Buy? A Physician or a Politician?


You may also be interested in reading this: "Government's role important as pharmaceutical companies hesitate to invest on tropical disease research"

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