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Rapid response to:


Measles: Europe sees record number of cases and 37 deaths so far this year

BMJ 2018; 362 doi: (Published 20 August 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;362:k3596

Rapid Response:

Re: Too many vaccine mandates subvert measles vaccine update

Allan S Cunningham makes an important point, and hovering behind the discontent in Italy are the recorded statements back in 2015 of senior Italian GSK executive Daniele Finocchiaro to an Italian pharmaceutical website [1]:

«Recentemente ho accompagnato il nostro Ceo mondiale, Andrew Witty, da Matteo Renzi. Il premier ci ha detto chiaramente che considera – ed a ragione – il settore farmaceutico come strategico per l’Italia. Anzi, ha detto che il farmaceutico è proprio il futuro del nostro Paese.. io ho poi incontrato anche il ministro Lorenzin e altri componenti del governo che mi hanno ribadito la sensibilità del governo rispetto a chi investe, crea lavoro ed opportunità per i giovani. Insomma siamo partiti col piede giusto. Non è così scontato trovare sensibilità di tal fatta nei palazzi romani. In quanto a noi, Andrew Witty ha chiesto poche cose: regole certe e stabilità a fronte di fortissimi investimenti in ricerca avanzata e apparati produttivi. Ci siamo intesi».

"Recently I accompanied our global CEO, Andrew Witty, to Matteo Renzi. The premier told us clearly that he considers - and rightly so - the pharmaceutical sector as strategic for Italy. Further, he said that the pharmaceutical is precisely the future of our country ... I then met also Minister Lorenzin and other members of the government who reiterated the sensitivity of the government to those who invest, create jobs and opportunities for young people. So we started on the right foot. To find such sensitivity in Roman palaces is not to be discounted. As for us, Andrew Witty asked few things: certain rules and stability in the face of very strong investments in advanced research and production equipment. We understood each other."

So, yes it is likely that Italians of all political shades will be suspicious when they are that their children have to have ten vaccines because of specific fears of measles. It probably also does not help that they were told by erstwhile Minister of Health, Beatrice Lorenzin, that 270 children had died in London from measles in a recent outbreak {2]. And I do not believe it is possible to understand the current political situation in Italy without these matters being reported.

[1] 'L’ ACCORDO DI GLAXO CON NOVARTIS «Verona è centrale nello sviluppo Gsk»' Fedederazione delle Associazioni degli Informatori Scientifici del Farmaco e del Parafarmaco (FEDAIISF), 28 February 2015,

[2] John Stone, 'Re: Compulsory vaccination and growing measles threat - Prof Melegaro's response'

Competing interests: No competing interests

24 August 2018
John Stone
UK Editor
London N22