Conflict-of-Interest Reporting Serves to Replace Fact with Fiction in Vaccine Injury Cases

For Immediate Release:

June 25, 2007

Rita Shreffler, NAA (Nixa, MO) 401-632-6452
Wendy Fournier, NAA (Portsmouth, RI) 401-632-7523

Conflict-of-Interest Reporting Serves to Replace Fact with Fiction in Vaccine Injury Cases
Advocates for vaccine-injured children claim coverage of Autism Hearings heavily influenced by drug industry

Washington, DC - With the Autism Omnibus Proceedings now in the second week of testimony in the US Court of Federal Claims, advocates for vaccine-injured children are calling the bulk of media accounts biased against families. 

Often presented as iron-clad in many media accounts, the misinformation parents and advocacy organizations note as appearing most frequently in mainstream news include:

The use of spokespersons with ties to drug companies in news accounts has also been cited as form of bias.  Dr. Paul Offit has been quoted frequently in defense of the practice of injecting mercury into pregnant women and young children.  Dr. Offit’s work has been funded for over 15 years by pharmaceutical giant Merck, with whom he is co-patent holder of the RotaTeq vaccine.  The FDA announced last week that RotaTeq will now carry a label warning for pediatricians and parents about the vaccine's link to Kawasaki Disease, considered one of the leading causes of acquired heart disease among children in the US.

During the first week of the hearings, an NBC Today show segment featuring former Johnson & Johnson vice president Dr. Nancy Snyderman drew further criticism when Snyderman suggested that parents involved in the autism hearings were motivated by financial gain.  “Apparently, Dr. Snyderman is either completely ignorant of the emotional and financial devastation to families of children suffering from vaccine-related injuries or she’s speaking on behalf of her former employer.  Either way, it’s unacceptable,” commented NAA president and parent Wendy FournierDr. Snyderman's former employment with Johnson & Johnson was not disclosed to viewers.

Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ortho Clinical Diagnostics is involved in litigation for injuries, including autism, associated with its thimerosal-containing Rh immune globulin product, RhoGAM.

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