The Church of Allopathy
"Doctors are men who prescribe medicines of which they know little, to cure diseases of which they know less, in human beings of whom they know nothing."
"I no longer believe in Modern Medicine. I believe that despite all the super technology and elite bedside manner….the greatest danger to your health is the doctor who practices Modern Medicine. I believe that Modern Medicine’s treatments for disease are seldom effective, and that they’re often more dangerous than the disease they’re designed to treat. I believe more than 90% of Modern Medicine could disappear from the face of the earth---doctors, hospitals, drugs and equipment---and the effect on our health would be immediate & beneficial……Modern Medicine can’t survive without our faith, because Modern Medicine is neither an art nor a science. It’s a religion."
--Dr Robert Mendelsohn MD
Genocide By Deception How The Religion Of Science Is Killing Us
Dr Peter Gøtzsche exposes big pharma as organized crime
“The terrible thing about the quest for truth is that you find it.”
-- Remy de Gourmont
"To teach the Rockefeller drug ideology, it is necessary to teach that Nature didn't know what she was doing when she made the human body."
Modern Medicine is not a science.
Dr. Vernon Coleman
Doctors, medical researchers and drug companies like to persuade all
present and potential consumers of health care that medicine is a science and has advanced far beyond the mystical incantations and witch doctor remedies of the past. But modern medicine is not a science and modern clinicians and medical researchers are not scientists. Modern clinicians may use scientific techniques but in the way that they treat their patients they are still quacks.
The foundation of modern, 20th century medical thinking is the Cartesian
principle that although the mind and the body are linked they are essentially separate entities. Accordingly, doctors treat the lesion or the organ that they believe to be failing to function properly rather than the patient, his or her fears, and symptoms. They organize laboratory tests and then believe that by treating abnormalities they are acting scientifically.
But since doctors have very little idea of what 'normal' blood levels are (since they ever measure the blood levels of people who are ill) the success of treatment is usually measured by how successful the doctor is at changing the laboratory results rather than at making the patient better. When a patient complains of pain the doctor does tests to find out why, but doesn't treat the pain because that would interfere with the results of the tests. Meanwhile, the patient suffers so much from the pain that s/he becomes even more severely ill. With that sort of background it is hardly surprising that the reputation of allopathic medicine as a healing branch of science is crumbling rapidly. Too many modern doctors neither cure nor care.
The modern clinician and the medical researcher base their opinions and conclusions almost exclusively on subjective observations and wishful
expectations which are likely to be based on inaccurate historical
perspectives and experimental experiences with members of another species.
Superstition and suspicion are the principal foundations of 20th century
medical science. Error is built upon error and unproven theories are used as building blocks for new ideas. Assumptions, prejudices and hearsay compete with subjective observations and personal interpretations of symptoms and signs for the doctor's attention and allegiance. To be truly scientific, doctors would have to subordinate their personal opinions to impartial knowledge gained by analysis and experimentation; but if they did this doctors would lose the mystique and authority which has traditionally been a part of the medicine man's armoury. By becoming scientists, doctors would become technicians and
lose their god-like powers.
In true science an idea is born and then tested before conclusions are drawn. Without testing there can be no science and an idea can never be more than an opinion or a hypothesis. True scientists will do everything they can to disprove their hypotheses, excluding probability, chance, coincidence and the placebo effect, and ignoring pride, vanity and all commercial pressures in their search for the truth. Sadly such devotion is rare indeed within the world of medicine. All too frequently doctors use case reports as testimonials. They will admit that all patients are different and then they will draw conclusions about the treatment of thousands of patients from single case reports published in a medical journal. Statistics are essential for determining probabilities, for
making predictions and for choosing the best possible remedy, but doctors frequently use their own interpretations of statistics. A doctor will say: "I have seen 300 patients with this disease over the last 5 years and this treatment or that remedy is best." He will forget that (???)ably never considered and he will ignore the fact that some of his patients may have died and many of them may have got no better. When case histories are viewed subjectively the mind of the viewer can and often will lie and distort in order to protect the viewer's pride and vanity.
Most patients probably assume that when a doctor proposes to use an established treatment to conquer a disease he will be using a treatment which has been tested, examined and proven. But this is not the case. The savage truth is that most medical research is organised, paid for, commissioned or subsidized by the drug industry (and the food, tobacco and alcohol industries). This type of research is designed, quite simply, to find evidence showing a new product is of commercial value. The companies which commission such research are not terribly bothered about evidence; what they are looking for are conclusions which will enable them to sell their product. Drug company sponsored research is done more to get good reviews than to find out the truth.
Today's medical training is based upon pronouncement and opinion rather than on investigation and scientific experience. In medical schools students are bombarded with information but denied the time or the opportunity to question the ex-cathedra statements which are made from an archaic medical culture. Time and again new treatments and new techniques are introduced on a massive scale without there being any scientific support for them and without doctors knowing what the long term consequences are likely to be. Instead of experimenting and then practicing tried and trusted techniques, modern medical practitioners use all their patients as guinea pigs and practice their black art as a massive international experiment.
High dose contraceptive pills were prescribed for years for millions of patients without anyone knowing exactly what was likely to happen. When it became clear that such pills were killing hundreds of women lower dose contraceptive pills were introduced. As I pointed out in the 1960's, we still don't know what effect the contraceptive pill is likely to have on the children of women who took it. Medicine doesn't anticipate disasters - it simple reacts to them. This sort of approach can hardly be described as 'scientific'.
Three specific examples illustrate how medical techniques are adopted on a mass scale without doctors having any idea what is likely to happen to the patients who are involved. The use of drugs to lower blood cholesterol levels, for example. If you have a high level of cholesterol in your blood should you try to do something about it - such as taking a drug? Or van lowering your blood cholesterol level prove more dangerous than leaving it alone?
For years now many doctors and patients have believed that a patient who has a high blood cholesterol level will probably be more likely to suffer from heart trouble, high blood pressure or a stroke. Millions of pounds have been spent on screening patients for blood cholesterol levels. And many patients have been frightened half to death by finding out that their blood cholesterol levels were too high. As a result of this belief the drug-industry has for some years planned to introduce cholesterol lowering drugs on a large scale. The cholesterol lowering drugs are everybody's dream. The drug companies love them because they know that there is a massive, long term international market, and they love massive long term international markets. And patients love the idea of taking a pill to lower blood cholesterol because although they
believe that a high cholesterol level means a high heart attack risk they don't want to stop eating the fatty food that cause a high blood cholesterol.
So I believe that the biggest growth area in the 90's for the drugs industry is likely to be in the sale of drugs which lower blood cholesterol levels and there is already some evidence that the explosion has already started. Between 1986 and 1990 the number of prescriptions for cholesterol lowering drugs trebled in the U.K. alone. For the health service and for governments all around the world the prescribing of cholesterol lowering drugs will be an expensive business. A huge proportion of apparently healthy population will be turned into regular pill takers. The profits for the international drug companies will run into billions.
Some trials seem to suggest that simply lowering the blood cholesterol level may not always be wise. For example, a low cholesterol level may be linked to death from injury or suicide. Some doctors have even argued that a cholesterol level that is too low may lead to a high cancer risk. But doctors, encouraged by drug companies, are nevertheless busy writing out prescriptions for drugs to lower blood cholesterol levels.
Let us now look at 'surgical experiment' which involves male patients vasectomy - and one which involves female patients - breast enlargement - as two examples of widely used medical techniques of doubtful safety. Both experiments are surgical procedures which are performed on healthy, young adults. Vasectomies have been popular for several decades and around the world many millions of men have already had the operation. It is a fairly quick and simple surgical procedure and the number of men having the operation is steadily increasing. The tubes which lead from the testes (where the sperm are produced) to the penis are simply cut or sealed and so sperm cannot get through. By the end of 1991 approximately 50 million young and healthy men around the world were believed to have had the operation.
In recent years, however, some doctors have started to have fears about the safety of the operation, as independent studies have indicated that the operation may be linked to cancer of the testes or prostate, to heart disease, to immunological disorders, to a lack of interest in sex or to premature ageing. The possible links to cancer are particularly worrying. For example, a study of 3,000 men in Scotland who had undergone vasectomy showed that 8 developed testicular cancer within four years of the operation.
Likewise the fact that there might be real dangers associated with breast enlargement operations using silicone gel implants exploded into public view in early 1992 although the operation to increase breast size had, like vasectomy for men, been popular for several decades - and worries about the operation had been voice many years before.
Right from the start surgeons had realized that the widespread fashion for large breasts could become big business and they struggled hard to justify what come cynics saw as little more than an opportunity to make money.
In the early 1980's, the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons argued that there is a substantial and enlarging body of medical information and opinion to the effect that these deformities (small breast) are really a disease. Plastic surgeons gave the disease a name - micromastia - and did their best to stamp it out. It is estimated that in the last 30 years over 2 million victims of micromastia have been identified and 'cured' by plastic surgeons in America alone.
To start with, surgeons injected silicone directly into the breast but when it became clear that this might cause problems as the silicone wandered around the recipient's body and started to trigger all sorts of reactions and possible problems (not least the fact that the enhanced breast quickly started to shrink as its silicone boost disappeared), surgeons started to install their silicone breast enlargers in small plastic bags which were thought to be safer.
At the end of 1991, however, a huge controversy blew up over the safety of these implants. On January 6, 1992, the FDA asked doctors to stop using silicone gel implants while they reviewed new evidence suggesting that the gel might cause autoimmune reactions or connective tissue disorders leading to weakness, immune system damage, poor memory, fatigue, chronic flu-like illness and so on.
The absence of scientific evidence supporting medical practices is apparent in all areas of medicine. With a very few exceptions there are no certainties in medicine. What the patient gets will depend more on chance and the doctor's personal prejudices than on science. This problem isn't a new one, of course. In the preface to this play The doctor's dilemma George Bernard Shaw points out that during the first great epidemic of influenza which developed towards the end of the 19th century, a London evening paper sent a journalist posing as a patient to all the great consultants of the day. The newspaper then published details of the advice and prescriptions offered by the consultants.
Despite the fact that the journalist had complained of exactly the same
symptoms to the many different physicians, the advice and the prescriptions that were offered were all different. Nothing has changed. Even in these days of apparently high technology medicine there are many - almost endless - variations in the treatments preferred by differing doctors. Doctors offer different prescriptions for exactly the same symptoms; they keep patients in hospital for vastly different lengths of time, with apparently identical problems.
In America, each year, 61 in every 100,000 people have a coronary bypass
operation. In Britain only 6 in every 100,000 have the same operation. In Japan 1 in 100,000 patients will have a coronary bypass operation. In America and Denmark 7 out of 10 women will have a hysterectomy at some stage in their lives, but in Britain only 2 women in 10 will have the same operation. Why? Are women in America having too many hysterectomies or are women in Britain having too few? In America one in five babies are born by Cesarean delivery. In England and Wales the figure is 9%. In Japan it is 8%.
Even within individual hospitals one sees enormous variations between
the beliefs of different consultants. Some ear, nose and throat consultants still believe that tonsils and adenoids should be removed at the earliest possible opportunity while others believe that the operations is useless or harmful and should hardly ever be done. Some surgeons remove gall bladders through tiny incisions, others prefer massive incisions. Some doctors still recommend that ulcer patients follow a milky diet while others claim that such dietary advice should have been abandoned as a piece of pre-history. Despite all these
variations in the type of treatment offered, most doctors in practice seem to be convinced that their treatment methods are beyond question.
But, you may say, even if treatments are not selected with scientific precision, surely diagnoses are made in a scientific fashion? Again, the evidence does not support that contention. After one recent survey two pathologists reported that after carrying out 400 post-mortum examinations they had found that in more than half the patients the wrong diagnosis had been made. This presumably also means that in more than half the patients the wrong treatment had been given. And since so many modern treatments are undeniably powerful it also presumably means that a large proportion of those patients died because of their treatment. The two pathologists reported that potentially treatable disease was missed in one in seven patients. They found that 65 out of 134 cases of pneumonia had gone unrecognised while out of 51 patients who had suffered heart attacks doctors had failed to diagnose the
problem in 18 cases. Ignorance has become commonplace in medical practice.
Doctors go to great lengths to disguise the fact that they are practising a black art rather than a science. The medical profession has created a 'pseudoscience' of mammoth proportions and today's doctors rely on a vast variety of instruments and tests and pieces of equipment with which to explain and dignify their interventions. This, of course, is nothing new. The alchemists of the middle ages and the witch doctors of Africa realised that words and spells reeked of gods and sorcery and so they created a secret and impenetrable structure of herbs, songs, dance, rattling of special bones, chants and ceremonial incantations. Today's clinicians have much more sophisticated mumbo jumbo to offer. They have laser surgery and psychotherapy, CAT scanners and serum manganese assessments to substantiate their claims to be scientists. But however good the impenetrable pseudoscience may sound or seem to be, and however well based on scientific principles the equipments and the techniques is still little more than mumbo jumbo. Doctors may use scientific instruments but that doesn't make them scientists any more than a witch doctor would become a scientist if he wore a stethoscope and danced around a microscope!
Now, if doctors were aware that medicine was not a science and that they
were pulling what is undoubtedly the largest and most successful confidence trick ever tried the damage would be fairly minimal. But the problem is compounded by the fact that the vast majority of doctors believe the lie that they are taught; they believe that they are scientists, practising an applied science.
One result of this false faith is that doctors use the technology that is available to them with little or no thought for their patients: they have been taught to ally medieval authority and a godlike sense of superiority with 20th century gadgetry. The result is therapeutic chaos. Patients are wildly and dangerously over-investigated and treatment programmes, which vary from one doctor to another, are planned anddefined by guesswork rather than a scientific analysis of possibilities and consequences. In order to protect themselves from the anxieties which would otherwise accompany their ignorance and their lack of knowledge, doctors seek assurance and comfort by immersing themselves in technology. Doctors are taught that investigation is an end in itself rather than merely a signpost towards a therapeutic end. The needs of the patient are forgotten as doctors glory in their knowledge. Too many doctors obtain satisfaction not by making patients better or relieving their discomfort but by playing a series of intellectual games in which the collecting and analysis of test results is regarded as far more important than the support and comfort of a patient. Too often patients are over-investigated, over diagnosed , over treated and under cared for. 'Curing' not 'caring' has become the sole criterion and success is too often measured in the laboratory rather than the sickroom. What has happened? Why has medicine failed to become an authentic science?
The answer is a simple one. In the last century the practice of medicine has become no more than an adjunct to the pharmaceutical industry and the other aspects of the huge, powerful and immensely profitable health care industry. Medicine is no longer an independent profession. Doctors have become nothing more than a link connecting the pharmaceutical industry to the consumer.
Leo Rebello's note:
Doctors and Drug industry have jointly killed thousand times more persons in peace than all the war-time casualties put together in the last 500 years. There is a graphic book titled Doctors, Drugs and Devils, which traces the grotesque history of modern medicine. There is another equally damning evidence titled America the Poisoned, which records the evil effects of deadly chemicals destroying our environment, our wildlife and ourselves. And then there is that all-time famous treatise by Dr. Ivan Illich called The Medical Nemesis (or Limits to Medicine), which the drug companies bulk-purchased and burnt. The intelligent readers of Amrit Manthan may read these scholarly books to
advantage and unite to protect their own health which is in great danger.
Dr. Vernon Coleman, M.D., D. Sc., has written 75 books which are sold in
more than 50 countries and translated into 22 languages.
By Dr. Vernon Coleman - Lynmouth, Devon EX35 6EE, England - Source: Amrit-Manthan - International Journal devoted to Holistic Healing Arts by Leo Rebello.
Modern Medicine: The New World Religion
The Hidden Influence of Beliefs and Fears
by Olivier Clerc, France
When the Christian missionaries of the last three or four centuries were evangelizing so-called "primitive people”, they believed that they had only to destroy or burn the various cult objects of these people in order to eradicate their religions, superstitions, and customs.
Centuries after the conquistadors tried to stamp out the Inca culture, or the Inquisition tried to stamp out the protestant ‘heresies’, or the similar attempts to annihilate the Voodoo, or the many African and Asian religions, we know that such arrogant high-handedness does not work. These beliefs still continue today, sometimes under different guises, long after the objects of worship associated with them have been destroyed.
This lesson from history is not only valid for primitive people and their religions. It can equally be applied – if not more so – to aspects of our own modern society. Indeed, even a superficial study of contemporary culture will reveal that the supposed secularization of present day society is just an illusion. Even though most people do not conform to the outward show of religious custom and practice – mostly Judeo-Christian in western culture – the beliefs and superstitions remain deeply embedded in their subconscious, influencing many aspects of their daily lives without them realizing it.
And as several sociology studies have shown, the superstitious beliefs that used to be attached to the formal religions have in many cases simply been transferred to other objects, persons or events. The daily evening television news bulletins, watched by millions worldwide in their respective countries, the stars of show business and sport, humanitarian associations, cults and all sorts of other things in modern life, these have now become the new gods we venerate or fear, or the shrines at which we worship or curse, and where we still experience those primitive religious urges and feelings, where we can believe without necessarily having to think or rationalize.
However, it is in the field of medicine that this unconscious transposition of the religious experience - and more specifically the Judeo-Christian ideology, myths, beliefs, expectations and hopes - seems to have had the greatest impact. The facts show clearly - for anyone taking the time to study them - that medicine enjoys today an astonishing degree of undeserved credit that is out of all proportion to its actual results or promises. Real health keeps regressing, while the great medical "miracles”, such as vaccines and antibiotics, are now clearly showing their limitations, which some had foreseen and warned of right from the start. This undeserved credit comes mostly from the fact that medicine and science have replaced religion as the only certain belief in an uncertain world. And the doctors and scientists are seen as the priests of the new religion, delivering through the certainties of science what the old discredited gods were not able to deliver. If we can no longer believe in the miracles, the cures, and the curses of the old religions, we can certainly believe in the miracles, the cures and the destructive powers of the new science.
Almost imperceptibly, medicine has taken on a saving, or messianic role, the characteristics of which we must examine. Looking back through history, there is a sense in which medicine can be said to have displayed characteristics that have at various times characterised the Roman Catholic Church: autocracy, centralization, the control and manipulation of people, censorship, propaganda, total obedience, infallibility, the destruction of heretics, the stamping out of individuality. All this, of course, has been done in the name of public health and the general good, just as the church acted for mankind’s salvation.
Let me make my position clear. I am not a conspiracy theorist. I do not believe that doctors, scientists and governments are intentionally and corruptly conspiring together, abusing their powers in pursuit of wealth, "Big Brother” and "Brave New World” just a step away. But rather, I do believe we are faced with a phenomenon that is largely of the unconscious kind.
What I believe is happening is that people, whether within the medico-pharmaceutical industry or outside it, are being subconsciously influenced by their deeply rooted myths, fears and superstitions which are now being projected onto the new screens of science and medicine. This produces an amazing paradox.
Although medicine sees itself as exclusively scientific and rational, with no room for spiritual or human dimensions (such as psychic healers, or shamans, who are dismissed as charlatans), it organizes itself and functions in a way that can be described as intrinsically religious. The paradox is that by rejecting any spiritual dimension medicine in fact becomes the toy of the forces and myths it tries to ignore and cannot control. Mere denial of something’s existence has never made it disappear, except perhaps in our consciousness, but instead, it is banished to our subconscious mind, where, beyond our control, it can roam free, wreak havoc, and wield even greater power.
We can see, then, that even though our society considers itself to be secular, it has remained as Christian as it was a century ago, but with two major differences. Firstly, our society is not aware of it. It believes itself to be rational, scientific, and free of superstition. It fails to recognise that it is still, in effect, observing the old religious rituals, but under a new guise. Secondly, our society now lives its religious experiences through secular forms - medical ones, in particular - and has at the same time transferred its hopes and aspirations from the spiritual world to the material.
Medicine, then, has become the new world religion. The specific myths, beliefs and rites of Christianity have been unconsciously projected over medicine since Pasteur. As I explain in detail in my book, we can establish a very close parallelism between the catholic religion and modern medicine, although, for lack of space, I cannot go into all the details of each comparison in this article. In brief:
- physicians have taken the place of priests;
- vaccination plays the same initiatory role as baptism, and is accompanied by the same threats and fears;
- the search for health has replaced the quest for salvation;
- the fight against disease has replaced the fight against sin;
- eradication of viruses has taken the place of exorcising demons;
- the hope of physical immortality (cloning, genetic engineering) has been substituted for the hope of eternal life;
- pills have replaced the sacrament of bread and wine;
- donations to cancer research take precedence over donations to the church;
- a hypothetical universal vaccine could save humanity from all its illnesses, as the Saviour has saved the world from all its sins;
- the medical power has become the government’s ally, as was the Catholic Church in the past;
- "charlatans” are persecuted today as "heretics” were yesterday;
- dogmatism rules out promising alternative medical theories;
- the same absence of individual responsibility is now found in medicine, as previously in the Christian religion;
- patients are alienated from their bodies, as sinners used to be from their souls.
People are still being manipulated by their fears and childish hopes. They are still told that the source of their problems is outside them, and that the solution can only come from the outside. They are not allowed to do anything by themselves and they must have the mediation of priest-physicians, the administration of drug-hosts, and the protection of vaccine-absolutions.
Just as the magnetic field of a magnet placed under a sheet of paper controls the way iron filings fall on its surface, revealing the invisible lines of force between the two poles of the magnet, a "religious field” likewise imperceptibly structures and organises the development of modern medicine. Invisible, impalpable, this "religious field” is made up of all the beliefs, myths and values of the Christian - and more specifically the Catholic - religion. In other words, the secularisation of society happened only on the surface. We took away the "iron filings”, the specific religious forms, but we did not change the "current of thoughts”, the underlying "religious field”, which continued to exert the same influence, but through medicine. That is the reason why behind the different structures of medicine and the Church of Rome we find the same fundamental concepts, the same relationships, the same characteristics, the same fears, the same hopes and expectations.
This substitution of medicine for religion has had many unfortunate consequences. In medical research, it influences what should be looked for and what can be discovered. Any discovery or theory that is at odds with the over-arching orthodoxy is rejected, and its authors called heretics. Entire areas of research, as well as promising new lines of approach, are thus disqualified.
Furthermore, the unconscious need to bring the medical world into "religious” obedience frequently leads to (involuntary) falsifications of results, as became clear with Pasteur's discoveries. The medical credo takes precedence over reality, something that scientists refuse to acknowledge when it does not correspond with their preconceived ideas.
And lastly, the hidden religious dimension of modern medicine inhibits the free debating of already fixed beliefs, and preventing them from being properly re-examined and criticised. Indeed, dogmatism, irrationality and passions - all characteristic of the religious experience - take precedence over any calm and carefully thought out argument, even over the most tenuous facts. The same vehemence that led Galileo to be condemned by the Church for his theories, in spite of the scientifically demonstrable facts, is now being used by medicine to reject any thesis that is contrary to its own dogmas. Science has learnt its lessons from the Church.
My aims in writing and lecturing on this topic have therefore been several. Firstly, I wanted to bring to the fore this phenomenon of projection and transfer of religious content, which takes place in the medical field. In recognizing this phenomenon, we should then dissociate from medical practice the spiritual aspirations that quite logically can only be satisfied in the spiritual dimension. It is dangerous to mistake eternal life with physical immortality, or to think we can achieve collective salvation through science and genetic engineering instead of individual salvation through transformation and personal achievements.
I also hope that by bringing to the fore the influence of religious beliefs in medicine, which is but one example of a very widespread phenomenon today, readers will start thinking about how their beliefs filter their perceptions, biasing and distorting them. Every time an object, a person, a social group or an event becomes the target of religious projections, there is danger. Their real characteristics fade in the eyes of those who colour them with their beliefs. These targets then become the objects of religious urges, impervious to any rationalisation, whether they are expressed through fear, hatred, "devilisation” and search for scapegoats, or through deification, idealisation and unconditional devotion. From Princess Diana to Wacco, and from Mother Teresa to Saddam Hussein, there are numerous examples of the kind of consequences brought about by this transfer of religious expression to real persons or situations.
Beyond this dissociation of medicine and religion, I would like to encourage an increased awareness of the fears found in the depths of our consciousness, which remain the hidden determining factors of most of our actions. As shown in my book, these fundamental fears - fear of death, mostly, but also fear of evil, fear of suffering, fear of separation, fear of solitude - have lead humanity, at all times throughout history, to make up all kinds of beliefs, in an effort to exorcise these fears. Then, with the development of science and the rise of intellectualism, mankind has tried to justify rationally these beliefs, hidden under the cloak of medicine and life sciences.
In other words, there are three layers superimposed inside us:
1) a core of fears, from which we have learned to protect ourselves by covering it with
2) a layer of beliefs, which make us feel safe (even though those fears have not disappeared), this layer being itself dissimulated under
3) an intellectual varnish, a rational facade, which give us the illusion of having transcended superstitions and beliefs, and which shelters us from our fears, keeping us barricaded behind intellectual knowledge.
But in reality, as soon as any unexpected event scratches this varnish, our underlying beliefs and fears reveal their presence and their indirect influence.
As long as they are not acknowledged, accepted and transformed, these fears will feed on every area of human endeavour. The intellect cannot think freely and the heart may not love fully, as long as both of them are hamstrung by the permanent task of appeasing our deepest anxieties, which keep trying to re-surface in our consciousness. No technological innovation, no scientific discovery, no external knowledge will ever enable us to avoid this confrontation with ourselves, and - more specifically - with our shadow. It is quite instructive to see to what degree the intellectual and technical knowledge of this century - often quite remarkable - remains captive to the fears that haunt society. We only have to look at the poor state of our planet, at the multiplicity of wars and at the emergence of new diseases, to see how this way of using our inner capacities is unproductive.
Finally, through this increasing awareness and consciousness to which I invite my readers, I hope to encourage greater individual responsibility, be it on the medical or on the spiritual level. It seems inexplicable to me that we should give away our power to whatever external authority (priests, physicians, experts) and then blame them for abusing us with it. Very few people are capable of being totally impartial and disinterested, especially when money and power are at stake. And especially when psychological studies show that the noblest motivations often go hand in hand with more dubious unconscious intentions.
Therefore, taking personal responsibility for our own health, our own inner evolution, and our own life at every level, without rejecting any available help or advice, remains the safest and most rewarding attitude. The obscurantism that endures under new forms will not so much be fought by the lights of science than by the sparks of our own self-awareness, that each one may awaken in himself. At least, such is my conviction.
This text first appeared in CONTINUUM Magazine and is the introduction to the book "Médecine, Religion et Peur; l’influence cachée des croyances” by Olivier Clerc.
The book has been published with Editions Jouvence, 1999. France.
Olivier Clerc has been working for 20 years in the field of alternative medicine, spirituality and personal development, as author, translator, journalist and publisher. Beside his book on medicine and religion, he has written a book on lucid dreaming ("Vivre ses rêves", Helios, 1983) and another about isolation tanks ("L’océan intérieur", Soleil, 1985), and was chief editor of a French magazine dedicated to health, ecology and social issues. He was editorial director of Editions Jouvence, Switzerland, until February 2001.
Voting Himself Rich: CDC Vaccine Adviser Made $29 Million Or More After Using Role to Create Market
By Dan Olmsted
and Mark Blaxill
Dr. Paul Offit of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) took home a fortune of at least $29 million as part of a $182 million sale by CHOP of its worldwide royalty interest in the Merck Rotateq vaccine to Royalty Pharma in April of last year, according to an investigation by Age of Autism. Based on an analysis of current CHOP administrative policies, the amount of income distributed to Offit could be as high as $46 million.
There is nothing improper about receiving compensation for a patented innovation; but the extraordinary valuation placed on CHOP’s patents raises concerns over Offit’s use of his former position on the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to help create the market for rotavirus vaccine -- to effectively vote himself rich.
Offit has steadfastly refused to say how much he made from the vaccine. Based on the income distribution guidelines set forth in CHOP’s current administrative policy manual (HERE) entitled “Patent and Intellectual Property Policy,” Offit’s share of this transaction -- the “inventor’s share of net income” -- would have earned him a personal distribution of 30%. In a Moody’s report dated June 2008, CHOP reported net proceeds from the Rotateq transaction of $153 million, a deal basis that would put the value of Offit’s 30% share at $45.9 million.
Although the royalty transaction amounts and current CHOP inventor shares are publicly known, several factors complicate a precise calculation of Offit’s income. Royalty Pharma paid $182 million for the RotaTeq royalty stream, but CHOP reported proceeds of only $153 million. Since most universities calculate income based on net royalties, the lower number might more closely reflect the basis for calculating Offit’s income. If CHOP applied an inventor share of 30% to a transaction value of $153 million they would have then been required to distribute $45.9 million to Offit.
CHOP’s 30% policy for inventor share is consistent with the current practices of other children’s hospitals. But depending on what standard was in effect when the patents were filed and how it was applied to Offit’s proceeds, the amount could be lower. For example, the $29 million difference between the payment made by Royalty Pharma and the proceeds received by CHOP comprises 15.9% of the Royalty Pharma payment (15% is the lowest inventor share percentage we uncovered in our investigation) and could reflect the distribution to Offit, so although it is clear that Offit’s personal share of CHOP’s royalty transaction was large, the exact amount could range from as little as $29 million to as much as $55 million. Age of Autism chose to feature the smaller amounts in this report.
CHOP spokeswoman Rachel Salis-Silverman, contacted by Age of Autism about Offit’s income from the vaccine, first said, “I don’t even know. That’s not public information.” She initially refused to provide an e-mail to which Age of Autism could send a detailed account of how it determined Offit’s income, but subsequently sent an e-mail saying she was expecting the information.
“We are declining comment to your questions,” she then replied after receiving our inquiry. Offit did not respond to an e-mail sent to his Children’s Hospital address.
While refusing to disclose his personal profit from this transaction, Offit told Newsweek reporter Claudia Kalb last year that he got a “small percentage” of the payment and confessed that “it’s like winning the lottery.” The $29 million-$55 million range is consistent not only with CHOP’s published royalty arrangements but with typical medical patent standards:
-- At Boston Children’s Hospital, inventors get 25% of “net lifetime revenues” for all income over $500,000. For royalty amounts smaller than $500,000 inventors receive 45-100% of revenues.
-- At Arkansas Children’s Hospital, inventors get 35% of “net royalties” after the first $200K and 50% before that.
-- At the University of Virginia, inventors get 15% of “total royalty income” over $1 million and a sliding scale of 25-50%for amounts smaller than that.
-- At the University of California, inventors get 35% of “net royalties.”
Offit’s claim to a share of the profits from Merck’s Rotateq revenues is based on his role as a listed inventor on the cluster of patents that protect Merck’s vaccine. These patents share the title “Rotavirus Reassortant Vaccine” and include four granted US patents -- US5626851, US5750109, US6113910 and US6290968 — and two granted European patents — EP323708 and EP493575.
All of the patents are jointly owned by CHOP and the Wistar Institute. Offit is one of the three listed inventors on the vaccine patents but holds 100% of CHOP’s inventor rights. The other two inventors, Fred Clark and Stanley Plotkin, are both affiliated with the Wistar Institute (in a December 2005 transaction that was similar to CHOP’s deal with Royalty Pharma, the Wistar Institute sold its royalty interest in Rotateq to Paul Capital for $45 million).
The CHOP policy manual that delineates the distribution of income for inventions owned by CHOP can be found (HERE) (see section III B). Clearly, based on the distribution of income rights outlined in this manual, Paul Offit had a greater personal interest in Rotateq’s commercial success than any other single individual in the world. And more than other individual in the world, he found himself in a position to directly influence that success.
Unlike most other patented products, the market for mandated childhood vaccines is created not by consumer demand, but by the recommendation of an appointed body called the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). In a single vote, ACIP can create a commercial market for a new vaccine that is worth hundreds of millions of dollars in a matter of months. For example, after ACIP approved the addition of Merck’s (and Offit’s) Rotateq vaccine to the childhood vaccination schedule, Merck’s Rotateq revenue rose from zero in the beginning of 2006 to $655 million in fiscal year 2008. When one multiplies a price of close to $200 per three dose series of Rotateq by a mandated market of four million children per year, it’s not hard to see the commercial value to Merck of favorable ACIP votes.
From 1998 to 2003, Offit served as a member of ACIP. Before and during his ACIP term, Offit was involved in rotavirus vaccine development activities, the value of which ACIP influenced. Shortly before his term began in October 1998, Offit’s first two rotavirus patents were granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the first on May 6, 1997 and the second on May 12, 1998. During his ACIP term, Offit received two additional patents in 2000 and 2001.
Receiving a patent provides the potential but not the certainty of financial reward. In most cases, when an inventor’s employer receives a patent, the commercial value of the patent award is highly uncertain. In the case of Rotateq, the business uncertainty revolved around three factors: 1) the creation and eventual size of the rotavirus vaccine market, 2) the market share of competing products such as Wyeth’s RotaShield vaccine and 3) the success of Merck’s clinical trial for Rotateq and subsequent FDA approval. For the first two of these three factors, Offit’s ACIP membership gave him a direct opportunity to favorably influence his personal financial stake in Rotateq.
Four months before Offit was appointed to ACIP in October 1998, the committee had voted to give the rotavirus category a “Routine Vaccination” status, in anticipation of an FDA approval of RotaShield (oddly, ACIP made this vote before the FDA approved Wyeth’s RotaShield vaccine on October 1, 1998). Shortly after Offit’s term began, there were several additional votes involved in establishing the rotavirus vaccine market and Offit voted yes in every case. In May of 1999, the CDC published its revised childhood vaccination schedule and rotavirus vaccine was included. This series of favorable votes clearly enhanced the monetary value of Offit’s stake in Merck’s rotavirus vaccine, which was five years into clinical trials.
Nevertheless, Merck’s Rotateq vaccine was several years behind Wyeth’s RotaShield, which stood to be the market leader based on its lead in making its way through clinical trials. But when the widespread administration of RotaShield to infants started producing a high incidence of intussusception reports, including numerous fatalities, ACIP was forced to reverse itself. On October 22, 1999, ACIP voted to rescind its recommendation of the RotaShield vaccine.
Offit recused himself from this vote, although he participated in the discussion. In the meeting in which ACIP discussed RotaShield, Offit remarked, "I'm not conflicted with Wyeth, but because I consult with Merck on the development of rotavirus vaccine, I would still prefer to abstain because it creates a perception of conflict.” CDC records make it clear that Offit was not silent on RotaShield. By 2001, he was actively advancing a “unique strain” hypothesis, an argument that RotaShield was formulated in a way that did increase intussusception risk whereas other formulations (e.g. Rotateq) would not.
In commercial terms, Offit had a clear stake in the earlier RotaShield decision. As a competitor to Rotateq, RotaShield’s withdrawal provided a financial opportunity for Offit’s partner, Merck. Not only did RotaShield’s withdrawal give Rotateq an opportunity to gain 100% of the rotavirus vaccine market Offit had voted to create (until April 2008, when GlaxoSmithKline’s Rotarix vaccine was approved, Merck held a monopoly on the rotavirus vaccine market), but the absence of competition enabled Merck to charge a premium price for its vaccine, significantly more than Wyeth had charged for RotaShield.
With RotaShield out of the market and the favorable rotavirus policy precedent established, when the FDA approved Rotateq on February 3, 2006, the path to profitability for Merck was set. And for CHOP, which had licensed its patent rights to Merck, the valuation of its patent portfolio soared. Faced with this newly valuable asset, CHOP chose not to take their profits in the form of a series of smaller royalty checks. Instead, they opted to sell off their rights to the income stream and receive a lump sum payment in its place. Royalty Pharma -- an intellectual property investment firm that “provides liquidity to royalty owners and assumes the future risks and rewards of ownership” -- stepped in to pay CHOP for the rights to its Merck royalties. CHOP, in turn, paid Offit his inventor share. Although neither CHOP nor Merck has disclosed Merck’s royalty obligation around CHOP’s patents, the fact that Royalty Pharma was motivated to pay CHOP $182 million for the right to receive the Rotateq royalty stream suggests that obligation was significant.
Other news organizations, most notably CBS News, have asked Offit to disclose the financial details of his Merck relationship. CBS New reporter Sharyl Attkisson wrote last July that, “future royalties for the [Rotateq] vaccine were just sold for $182 million cash. Dr. Offit's share of vaccine profits? Unknown.”
Offit protested loudly over the CBS News report and went so far as accusing Attkisson of unethical conduct. “Did [Attkisson] lie about whether or not we provided materials? Of course,” Offit claimed in an August interview with the Orange County Register. He argued that in responding to a CBS News investigation of his financial ties to Merck, he readily provided full details of the payments that CBS asked for including: “the sources and amounts of every grant he has received since 1980”; “the details of his relationship, and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s relationship, with pharmaceutical company Merck”; and “the details of every talk he has given for the past three years.”
A personal profit of at least $29 million seems like more than a small detail to leave out.
Dan Olmsted is Editor and Mark Blaxill is Editor At Large of Age of Autism.