HPV VACCINE: SEX, CONFLICTS OF INTEREST & VIDEOTAPE
PART ONE, THE PRESENT
Some stories have many parts; the HPV vaccine story is no different. I will discuss with you one part of this incredible story that needs to be widely known. I will follow-up with part 2 in another article. No doubt, there will be more parts to this story to unfold.
Most of us would believe or hope that when a new vaccine or drug is developed, it is thoroughly tested for safety and efficacy, and should only be used when necessary. Equally, however, most of us are probably aware that, overwhelmingly, that is simply not happening anywhere on this globe. There are many examples of just the opposite, in fact, covered in 1000s of articles across the internet. But today, we are not concerned with the obvious transgressions and biases of the pharmaceutical industry; today we are looking at the pressure groups that force a vaccine onto a schedule.
This year, controversy has surrounded the inclusion of the HPV vaccine for boys in the UK, with senior medical doctors and journal editors at loggerheads over flawed research that was used to justify the introduction of the HPV vaccine. But what of the players behind the scenes – the individuals and groups that were using all means of coercion to force that vaccine onto the UK schedule? We will discuss those players and let you be the judge if you feel this is the way honest business should be conducted in a democracy where your children’s health is at stake.
Jamie Rae (pictured) is an entrepreneur from Scotland who suffered from throat cancer and set up the Throat Cancer Foundation:
The Throat Cancer Foundation (TCF) was founded in 2012 by oropharyngeal cancer survivor Jamie Rae. Following his treatment and recovery, Jamie was concerned by the lack of resources and support available to people facing throat cancers, and established the charity to provide what was missing: information and reassurance for those facing throat cancers.
Mr Rae is central to the HPV vaccine being introduced and promoted by the UK government for boys in the UK. There is more to say about Mr Rae and we will cover that in part 2.
When the UK government announced that it would include the HPV vaccine for teenage boys, Mr Rae was asked for comment:
Mr Rae, who founded the Throat Cancer Foundation, which has been pressing for HPV vaccination for boys, added: ‘As someone who still lives with the aftermath of an HPV cancer, I can only express relief.’
One can only sympathise with anyone genuinely suffering from cancer and hope that prevention, relief or cure are available for them. However, the HPV vaccine has not been shown to prevent throat cancer.
Mr Rae set up the Throat Cancer Foundation (TCF) and quickly attracted experts to his cause. Two of those experts are Professor Ian Frazer (pictured) and Professor Margaret Stanley. Both were featured as belonging to “Our Team” at the TCF about the time of the push for the HPV vaccine for boys in the UK. Mysteriously, Professor Frazer no longer appears on the TCF website. Prof. Frazer is one of the co-inventors of the HPV vaccine and derives profit from the vaccine sales.
JAN 14th 2017 AUGUST 18th 2018
TCF— OUR TEAM: PROF FRAZER (CIRCLED LEFT) IS REMOVED FROM CURRENT MEMBERS (RIGHT)
PROF STANLEY (CIRCLED RIGHT)
Professor Margaret Stanley (pictured)has been employed as consultant for both Merck and Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK), the two manufacturers of the HPV vaccine. Professor Stanley was also an advisor to the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) at the time it approved Cervarix HPV vaccine for girls. The JCVI is the advisory body to the UK government regarding vaccines. The government is obliged by law to follow their recommendations.
British Association of Dental Nurses; British Association of Head and Neck Oncologists (BAHNO); British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH); British Association for Dental Therapists; British Dental Association; British Society for Immunology; British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy; Brook; Cancer Focus Northern Ireland; Children’s HIV Association of the UK & Ireland (CHIVA) ; European Men’s Health Forum; ENT UK; Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of England; Faculty of General Dental Practice; Faculty of Public Health; Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare; Family Planning Association; GMFA (The Gay Men’s Health Charity); Herpes Viruses Association; HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation; Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust; Let’s Talk About Mouth Cancer; London Cancer Alliance; London Friend; Men’s Health Forum (England and Wales); Men’s Health Forum Ireland; Mouth Cancer Foundation; National AIDS Manual; National Association of Laryngectomee Clubs (NALC); National Education Union; National Oral Health Promotion Group; National Union of Students; Northern Head and Neck Cancer Fund; Oral Cancer Foundation (USA); Oral Health Foundation; The Rainbow Project; Reproductive Health Matters; Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists; Royal Society for Public Health; Primary Care Urology Society; The School and Public Health Nurses Association; Sexpression:UK; Society of British Dental Nurses; Society of Sexual Health Advisers; Stonewall; The Swallows Head & Neck Cancer Support Group; Tenovus; Terrence Higgins Trust; The Throat Cancer Foundation; The Urology Foundation; Wellbeing of Women.
Sure, that is a long list to read but it shows the depth and breadth of the support for what is in reality a vaccine that hasn’t been proven to work in preventing cancer either in girls or boys. What has been demonstrated to reduce the risk of HPV associated cancers is responsible, safe sex in a monogamous relationship thereby decreasing the number of sexual partners, but that doesn’t sound street enough and doesn’t generate billions of dollars in profits whereas unproven gender-neutral vaccination, a term that has no basis in science, sounds more acceptable in a “progressive culture”!
HPV Action was launched in 2013 with the aim of achieving gender-neutral vaccination in the UK. It was the brainchild of two organisations in particular, the Throat Cancer Foundation led by Jamie Rae and the HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation (HPVACF) led by Tristan Almada. They contributed the funds needed to launch the campaign and helped to sustain it over the next five years.
HPV Action’s main target over the next five years was the government’s vaccination advisory committee (known as JCVI) [Emphasis added].
There is no mistaking the aim of those groups: target the JCVI. As the diagram clearly shows (see below POSSIBLE CONFLICTS OF INTEREST IN HPV VACCINE PRESSURE GROUPS), that’s just what they did.
The TCF sued the JCVI in order to pressure it into recommending the HPV vaccine to boys; the HPVA also brought pressure to bear and was allowed privileged access (JCVI Minute of the meeting on 04 October 2017 Item 24) to an important public health body – Public Health England – in order to press their influence. They were even granted access to important unpublished research (JCVI Minute of the meeting on 04 October 2017 Item 24). As far as I am aware, no campaigners that had an opposite view to TCF and HPVA were afforded the same privileges.
HPV Action’s advocacy work was almost entirely funded by its own members – many contributed, including in kind – and no funding came from the vaccine manufacturers or any other organisation with a commercial interest. This meant that money was tight – the whole five-year campaign was delivered for around £60,000 – but there could be no accusations of a conflict of interest.
A laudable aim, especially when promoting a product of an industry that has more than a brief association with fraud.
However, their assertion of not involving vaccine manufacturers to avoid conflicts of interest, already tested by its association with TCF and its advisors, was further challenged by another “project”, Jabs for the Boys:
One may argue that the “educational grant” from MSD, aka Merck, is limited or “ring fenced,” but it is still commercial support from the manufacturers of the HPV vaccine administered via a member of HPVA.
When we search the advisory experts for Jabs for the Boys, we see a familiar name:
Professor Margaret Stanley appears to be advising this project as well.
We also note the connection between MP Sir Paul Beresford and the OHF, providing political support for one of its campaigns:
ORAL HEALTH FOUNDATION CAMPAIGN SUPPORTED BY UK MP
Sir Paul Beresford MP has also called for the introduction of the HPV vaccine:
The question has to be asked: is it appropriate for a member of parliament to campaign for, or be associated with, a foundation that has ties to a manufacturer that gains financially from that campaign?
POSSIBLE CONFLICTS OF INTEREST IN HPV VACCINE PRESSURE GROUPS
The result of the pressure groups helped to persuade the JCVI to change its model, such that its previous recommendation to not advise the UK government to adopt the HPV vaccine for boys was changed to advise the introduction of that vaccine onto the UK vaccine schedule.
Let us be clear: no allegation of misconduct or fraud is inferred or stated here; in fact, this is how business appears to be done. But it begs an enormous question: is this right? Should individuals or companies that have benefited or may potentially benefit financially, e.g. from the sales of a vaccine, be allowed to form, fund or be part of pressure groups/committees or other organisations that can change policy in their favour? Especially when that will affect our children (or anyone for that matter) directly or indirectly by using their products?
Apparently, in the UK the answers is YES.
But should that remain the case? In fact, at least in relation to research, the recent European Parliament resolution of 19 April 2018 on vaccine hesitancy and the drop in vaccination rates in Europe (2017/2951(RSP)) proposed:
[T]hat researchers must declare any conflicts of interest; Proposes that researchers subject to a conflict of interest be excluded from evaluation panels; calls for the confidentiality of the deliberations of the EMA’s evaluation panel to be lifted; proposes that the scientific and clinical data which inform the conclusions of the panel, and whose anonymity is guaranteed in advance, be made public; recalls the importance of transparency in building and maintaining public trust in medicines.
We need to see that adopted across all spheres of influence, not just science.
Bias works on many levels; even the scientist who feels he is acting independently needs the rigor of the scientific method, statistics and peer review to ensure bias hasn’t crept into the process. And I’m sure that all those involved in the organisations we have discussed, similarly, may feel that no financial bias is at play here and they are working for what they feel is the common good. But unless potential conflicts of interest are removed and seen to be removed, how can the general public and those to be vaccinated be sure of that? I think the honest answer is – they can’t.