Intended for healthcare professionals

Observations Medicine and the media

Fainting schoolgirls wipe $A1bn off market value of Gardasil producer

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39238.479479.94 (Published 07 June 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:1195

Democracy, or Orson Welles' 1984?

What should the main concerns of a public health worker be? That
fainting schoolgirls wiped a billion dollars off the market value of some
shares?

Is the tenor of Chapman's observations part of an orchestrated
campaign world wide along with cheer leaders, Paul A Offit and Arthur
Allen, to eliminate all discussion, and neutralize dissent so that public
health workers becoming the only lawful citadel of pharmaceutically driven
pro vaccine propaganda?

Or should their job be that of accurately informing the public as to
ALL the facts relating to any medical condition or vaccine which parents
may need education about so that they can exercise their democratic right
of choice?

My collection of advertisements from early medical journals, shows
doctors promoting smoking for the sake of "health", and my knowledge of
organizations such as ASH, has shown me that advocacy on behalf of people
damaged by smoking was started by lay-advocates, lawyers etc, with doctors
the 'johnny-come-latelies' who came out of the closet when it became
obvious that to not do so would hit them in the "pocket" harder than if
they continued to support the tobacco manufacturers.

Chapman reviles television reports in Australia sombrely recycling
the same footage of children reacting to Gardasil shots, yet the medical
profession finds it quite acceptable to use the same tactics themselves.
In New Zealand, The Meningitis Trust, IMAC (Immunization Advisory Centre),
and the Health Department encouraged TV, and newspapers to endlessly
recycle the footage of Charlotte Bisman who lost her arms and legs from
meningococcal disease, not just for MenZB purposes, but also to advocate
Prevnar. Two other meningitis affected individuals were similarly used
for the media merry-go-round fear-mongering campaign.

The New Zealand Health Department funded and chaperoned Charlotte's
father on a speaking tour throughout the country to campaign on their
behalf, at the same time as the Health Department paraded posters showing
a child with blackened legs on life support. Strategies such as these,
can also be interpreted as an attempt to create mass hysteria,
contagiously transmitting by line of sight, and anxiety, a condition
which the Health Department’s own information pamphlets had said, 5 years
before, was a very rare occurrence. Suddenly when a vaccine was available
it could happen to everyone?

However, when the Gardasil campaign hits a glitch, and the media
swings into like action repeating footage of what parents consider are
reactions, the gander isn't so happy.

It is ironic that into Chapman's "outraged" observations, starts and
ends with the drop in share prices. This is so much more important than
neurotic school children, who must be neurotic, because…no one other than
one mother has disputed the narrative. Perhaps other parents can't be
bothered fighting thoughtless Sherman tanks on autopilot.

And here's another point. Were these children neurotic? If so, why
do we never see fainting in the school programmes every year, where MMR,
and other vaccines are injected?

Chapman talks about "interest groups with a variety of agendas"
undermining public confidence in vaccines, diverting the efforts of public
health authorities, causing share market drops and creating confusion with
local authorities and education authorities. How is confusion created?

Perhaps Chapman needs to seriously look at what the role of a Public
Health Worker should be. Is Chapman’s job to push drugs and vaccines at
every opportunity, and indulge in “risk management” invective against anti
-vaccinators, or is it to tell the truth? For instance, does a heading
Chapman chooses to use ("Promiscuity fears killing a lifesaver") betray
his own agenda?

In the accompanying BMJ article
(http://www.bmj.com/cgi/reprint/334/7596/721) “Life saving treatment or
giant experiment?” Professor Fraser says: "I've provided vaccine for my
children and don't see it as an experiment but rather a prudent exercise
in risk management." Does Dr Frazer’s assumption that his vaccine
trialed for four years, will prevent cervical cancer thirty years down the
line, give him the right to ram that view down the throats of parents, or
tell them that their ideas of "risk management" aren't as prudent?

Gardasil cannot yet be proven to be a life saver. As an article on
line (http://www.cancermonthly.com/iNP/view.asp?ID=169 ) states:

"...In the studies that led to the vaccine's approval, the incidence
of cervical cancer was not measured. Instead CIN (cervical intraepithelial
neoplasia) 2/3 and AIS (adenocarcinoma in situ) were used as the surrogate
markers for prevention of cervical cancer because according to the
vaccine's insert "CIN 2/3 and AIS are the immediate and necessary
precursors of squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma of the cervix,
respectively." While this is true it is also true that CIN 2/3 and AIS
usually do not lead to cancer. For example, according to published data,
CIN2 only leads to invasive carcinoma 5% of the time and CIN3 only leads
to invasive carcinoma 12% of the time." ( Arends MJ, et al., Aetiology,
pathogenesis, and pathology of cervical neoplasia. J Clin Pathol. 1998
Feb;51(2):96-103. Available here:
http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/picrender.fcgi?artid=500501&blobtype=pdf)

This article goes on to point out that:

"...during discussions at the FDA it was admitted that HPV alone is
insufficient to cause cancer. Dr. Elizabeth Unger of the Centers for
Disease Control stated, "So it is believed that infection alone is
insufficient to cause cancer, and additional factors are required for
neoplasia. There are certainly lots of questions about HPV infection…"(Dr.
Beth Unger. See Minutes from: FDAVaccines and Related Biological Products
Advisory Committee, November 28, 2001, p. 21 available here:
http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/ac/cber01.htm#Vaccines%20&%20Related%20...)

… and that:

"....If HPV alone caused cervical cancer than the number of cases in
the U.S. would be the same as the number of women with HPV infections.
Since only a relatively small percentage of HPV infected women get
cervical cancer this raises the question whether a vaccine against HPV is
the right target at all? In fact, according to the text Cancer: Principles
& Practice of Oncology, "In most studies, HPV status was not a strong
independent prognosticator of outcome in cervical cancer patients; however
there appears to be a trend for HPV-negative tumors to do worse …those
tumors containing HPV DNA tend to be of an early stage and low grade.."
(Vincent T. Devita, Jr., et al., editors, Cancer Principles & Practice
of Oncology, 6th edition, volume2, p. 1523)

If tumours without HPV actually do worse, then what might be the flow
on effects of using an HPV vaccine? Might cervical cancer actually become
more serious and more deadly? Is this a stone that hasn’t been turned
over yet?

Have you ever seen a Public Health Worker sit down with young women,
with the huge pile of medical articles which show for instance, that
nutrient deficiencies (selenium and folic acid to mention only two) are a
key component in the development of cervical cancer? By impressing on
everyone the need to get nutrition right, Public Health Workers would not
only reduce the potential development of cervical cancer from a young age,
they might also slash the rates of all other cancers, infections, diabetes
complications, and many other hospitalizations.

Public health workers might find that a few of them have to be
retrained into other sectors of the illness industry, and the worth of
their shares drop, as fewer expensive pharmaceutical products are required
by a large sector of society. Yet they might find their jobs more
rewarding, as they encourage people to take more responsibility for real
health in a wider and more effective sense, with a healthier population as
a result.

Simon Chapman should be commended for so readily revealing a
mentality which not only completely misses the point at issue, but like a
light-house beacon, transparently exposes his own agenda.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

09 June 2007
Hilary Butler
freelance journalist
Home, Tuakau, 2121, New Zealand