Pharmaceuticals Archives

Supreme Court Case May Wipe Out Vaccine Industry

By Michael Fumento

Back when Congress knew how to pass good legislation, in this case in the mid-1980s, it took most cases involving vaccine liability out of the normal court system and put them in a special vaccine court where science and medicine would rule instead of the whims of scientifically and medically ignorant juries.

That's because vaccine companies were going the way of the woolly mammoth, in part because it's just not a very profitable business and in great part because they were awash in over $3.5 billion of lawsuits claiming little more than the post hoc fallacy of "Before the person was vaccinated her or she was fine and since the vaccination he or she became sick." Seriously.

If certain people in black robes make the wrong decision, this guy in a black robe will need to be paid overtime.

Even as it dramatically cut spurious claims, it helped persons who really had suffered from adverse reactions both by cutting litigation costs and by taking them outside of "roulette wheel" justice wherein a case might net a reward of millions while a virtually identical one would be rejected entirely.

But as I write at Forbes.com, this system itself is now endangered by a Supreme Court case in which the plaintiffs are claiming that having lost their case in Vaccine Court that rather than appeal within that system they should be able to try the case in state or federal court. And Congress did allow for some such exceptions.

But no, not this one. It's very clear from the history of what led up to the statute that Congress did not want cases such as these to bypass the system. Why? In part as one court found, it could to a great extent destroy that very system. I provide other arguments. If we lose this system many, many children will not get their vaccines until something else is instituted. And many will die.

October 27, 2010 10:53 AM  ·  Permalink

I'm on ADHD medicine and it's great!

By Michael Fumento

A medical write wrote to me:

Hi Michael,

A little belatedly, I ran across your excellent article on the "hoax that is ADHD." :-)

I can't thank you enough for the excellent dissection. Five years ago, when I discovered that my scientist husband has ADHD and we both went through hell trying to coax decent care out of our very broken mental health care system - and some truly ignorant psychiatrists - I swore that others would benefit from my hard-won experience.

So, I've been volunteering almost full time - essentially a Peace Corps at Home stint - helping other people to understand this ridiculously common condition, especially in adults. At this point, after finishing a book so I can try easing out of doing so much volunteer work, I'm pretty much exhausted. But I've made my dent.

[Two paragraphs omitted.]

The idea that nutballs like Fred Baughman and overreaching egotists like Lawrence Diller (who has absolutely no clue about what happens when these children who are not treated grow up and leave the structure of "helicopter" parents) are the most prominent influences on the internet is appalling. So I really appreciate it when thinkers and writers like you put their focus on this subject.

Thank you,

I responded:

You're welcome. I started taking ADHD drugs a few months ago and it''s been wonderful. I've long known I have the problem, but I found lots of ways to cope. But it got to a point where I was simply blanking out and missing freeway ramps and stuff. That's not just frustrating; it's dangerous. And it's so nice not to be constantly mislaying things. Meanwhile my creativity hasn't been touched in the least bit. In other words, no, I am not a zombie thank you very much.

All the best,
Mike

January 20, 2008 02:45 PM  ·  Permalink

Hysteria, not illness or death, drives gov't disease spending

By Michael Fumento

You've heard that the highly-drug resistant germ MRSA causes 94,000 U.S. invasive infections each year, with about 19,000 deaths. Here's what you haven't heard. As I write in the New York Sun, the government is doing practically nothing about it.

Meanwhile it's working mightily and spending the bank on three diseases that have yet to kill a single American and probably never will: Ebola virus, SARS, and avian flu. Federally-funded Ebola and SARS vaccines are in human trials and the government is already stockpiling FDA-approved avian flu vaccine. Yet government-funded MRSA vaccine research is still in mice.

One spending comparison: Congress has specifically earmarked $5.8 billion for avian flu, the threat of which continually recedes. Yet, although the CDC lists in addition to MRSA 8 important diseases connected to antibiotic resistance, the total annual budget for these is merely $221 million.

I conclude: "We need a government that pays more attention to medical statistics than to headlines. The one we have now is killing us."

November 8, 2007 12:26 PM  ·  Permalink

Tysabri Update

By Michael Fumento

Makers of the MS drug Tysabri, Elan and Biogen Idec, have announced that no new cases of multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) have been found in patients, formerly on Tysabri, in clinical trials for the treatment of Crohn's disease and rheumatoid arthritis. This completes the review of all 3,000 patients on Tysabri. The companies had already requested permission from the FDA to return the drug to the market and are now awaiting the agency's response to their request for a priority review. I wrote one column asking for a sane, compassionate approach to the appraisal of Tysabri and another, after more data had come in, calling for the drug's return. This is exciting stuff for those with MS, other autoimmune disease like Crohn's and rheumatoid arthritis, and anybody who has loved ones who have or will develop these diseases. That makes just about all of us.

October 17, 2005 09:44 PM  ·  Permalink

Contact info to support bringing back Tysabri

By Michael Fumento

I hope nobody got the idea from my column on Tysabri that its return is a done deal just because it ought to be a done deal. It's not. A bit of lobbying by MS patients and their loved ones won't hurt a bit. You can e-mail FDA at ocoshi@oc.fda.gov. In the subject line it needs to read "Tysabri advocacy group". You can also send snail mails to Biogen that Biogen can then show to the FDA. Yeah, I know snail mail is a pain. That's precisely why written letters are more powerful than e-mails. Send those letters to:

Customer Service Manager
Biogen IDC
14 Cambridge Center
Cambridge, MA 02142

September 26, 2005 04:28 PM  ·  Permalink