Canadian government ordered to release unpublished Tamiflu data in landmark rulingBMJ 2018; 362 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k3112 (Published 13 July 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;362:k3112
All rapid responses
I am a Canadian Registered Nurse with 25 years’ experience who, many years ago became gravely disillusioned with the reliability and authenticity of “evidence-based medicine” after discovering serious misrepresentation and manipulation of evidence involving the influenza vaccine.
I'm a living example of sentiments once expressed by Dr. Michael Osterholme (CIDRAP) that speak of the public’s trust as Public Health’s greatest currency that if lost bankrupts Public Health. I went from believing the advice of medical officials to losing trust completely when I discovered weak, biased evidence rampant throughout healthcare extending to the top tiers of government health authorities. As a result, I can no longer trust health officials to tell the truth. I have declined all further vaccines supported by weak science for myself and my family and consider only medical advice that passes checks and double checks as to authenticity. Although I am not a doctor, I at least have the skills to qualify advice with top tiers of research. More troubling, however, is the chatter I hear from online forums of alienated citizens with no such skills, equally mistrusting of medical voices who are now alarmingly declining valid and necessary pharmaceutical interventions. As an RN I am concerned this divide between the public and physicians is growing deeper with serious implications as a bankrupt public health system continues to prop up science with conflicted evidence.
However, voices like Dr. Peter Doshi stand to replenish public trust in medicine. The likes of Dr. Doshi supported by agencies such as the BMJ, give hope to mending broken trust. I have just read of Dr. Doshi’s efforts to fight a non-disclosure agreement thrust upon him by Health Canada. This man is a true healer and a hero whose bravery and valiant efforts to assure transparency and reduce conflict to interests in research are deserving of a chest full of medals in what has become a hostile and treacherous climate for any who challenge the status quo.
I write this letter to offer my heartfelt gratitude for the BMJ and long-standing efforts of the likes of Dr. Peter Doshi. Throughout his efforts to advance this cause, Dr. Doshi has maintained his credibility and professionalism and radiates a conviction to quality research. Long live the true scientists who seek to heal not only patients but a broken system
Cindy Gough RN, MScAH, CGNC
Competing interests: No competing interests
I doubt that we will ever know all of the true facts about HPV vaccines, but there is some reassurance knowing that, in Canada at least, unbiased researchers will have access to all of the data in the hands of regulators, not just what the manufacturers want us to see.
Partly in response to articles and Rapid Responses in The BMJ, I have been plowing through published information about Gardasil and Cervarix. For an old-time pediatrician, vaccine advocate, and grandfather it is a frustrating process. Will vaccine recipients have more cancer or less cancer in the next 20 or 30 years? We do not know. How frequent are serious adverse vaccine effects? In spite of official pronouncements, the numbers are not reassuring. However, as is usual with clinical vaccine research, studies are underpowered and time-limited, allowing officialdom to say, “no significant increase in adverse effects.” Then too, the hyper-aggressive marketing of HPV vaccines has not inspired confidence.
As immunization schedules have expanded, we have observed the appearance and progressive increase of some “mystery diseases”: SIDS, Kawasaki disease, autism spectrum disorders and, most recently, acute flaccid myelitis (AFM). There may be others, but in the absence of long-term and well-controlled trials and scrupulous postmarketing surveillance, we can neither confirm nor dismiss a causal role for vaccines.
This situation calls for some humility on the part of vaccine authorities. Instead, the US has a long list of vaccine mandates, regardless of the severity or the public health importance of the target diseases, and regardless of the scientific quality of the background research. The American Academy of Pediatrics wants to eliminate all nonmedical exemptions from all vaccine mandates. I am not alone in asserting that this policy is neither scientifically nor ethically justified. One victim of this policy is pediatrician Robert Sears, whose medical license was recently suspended by the Medical Board of California, largely because he advocated greater parental discretion and more selectivity in the choice of vaccines.
I am glad that Dr. Doshi will get to take a harder look at Gardasil, Gardasil 9, Cervarix, Tamiflu, and Relenza. My fervent hope is that Canada’s recent judicial decision will open the way to greater transparency in vaccine research south of the border.
Allan S. Cunningham
Competing interests: No competing interests