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A new study published in Clinical Rheumatology exposes how vaccine manufacturers used phony placebos in clinical trials to conceal a wide range of devastating risks associated with HPV vaccines. Instead of using genuine inert placebos and comparing health impacts over a number of years, as is required for most new drug approvals, Merck and GlaxoSmithKline spiked their placebos with a neurotoxic aluminum adjuvant and cut observation periods to a matter of months.
Researchers from Mexico’s National Institute of Cardiology pored over 28 studies published through January 2017—16 randomized trials and 12 post-marketing case series—pertaining to the three human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines currently on the market globally. In their July 2017 peer-reviewed report, the authors, Manuel Martínez-Lavin and Luis Amezcua-Guerra, uncovered evidence of numerous adverse events, including life-threatening injuries, permanent disabilities, hospitalizations and deaths, reported after vaccination with GlaxoSmithKline’s bivalent Cervarix vaccine and Merck’s quadrivalent or nine-valent HPV vaccines (Gardasil and Gardasil 9). Pharmaceutical company scientists routinely dismissed, minimized or concealed those injuries using statistical gimmicks and invalid comparisonsdesigned to diminish their relative significance.
Of the 16 HPV vaccine randomized trials, only two used an inert saline placebo. Ten of the sixteen compared the HPV vaccine against a neurotoxicaluminum adjuvant, and four trials used an already-approved aluminum-containing vaccine as the comparison.
Scientific researchers view double-blind placebo trials as the gold standard for testing new drugs. To minimize bias, investigators randomly assign patients to either a “treatment” group or a “control” (placebo) group and then compare health outcomes. The standard practice is to compare a new drug against a “pharmacologically inert” placebo. To minimize opportunities for bias, neither patients nor researchers know which individuals received the drug and which the placebo. However, in clinical trials of the various HPV vaccines, pharmaceutical researchers avoided this kind of rigor and instead employed sleight-of-hand flimflams to mask the seriousness of vaccine injuries.
Of the 16 HPV vaccine randomized trials, only two used an inert saline placebo. Ten of the sixteen compared the HPV vaccine against a neurotoxic aluminum adjuvant, and four trials used an already-approved aluminum-containing vaccine as the comparison. One does not have to be a scientist to understand that using aluminum-containing placebos is likely to muddy the comparison between the treatment and control groups. Critics of the HPV vaccine have pointed to the aluminum adjuvant as the most likely cause of adverse reactions, and some researchers have questioned the safety of using aluminum adjuvants in vaccines at all, due to their probable role as a contributor to chronic illness. The aluminum-containing placebos appeared to provoke numerous adverse reactions among the presumably unwitting patients who received them, allowing the pharma researchers to mask the cascade of similar adverse reactions among the groups that received the vaccines. Although both placebo and study groups suffered numerous adverse events in these studies, there were minimal differences between the two groups. The similar adverse outcomes in both groups allowed industry researchers and government regulators to claim that the vaccines were perfectly safe, despite manifold disturbing reactions. The Mexican researchers’ meta-review confirms the difficulty of ascertaining vaccine-attributable differences from this mess; the researchers identified only a few indications of “significantly increased systemic adverse events in the HPV vaccine group vs. the control group” across the 16 pre-licensure trials.
The HPV promoters found it more difficult to employ deceptive devices in the 12 post-marketing safety reviews, and the Mexican authors summarize some of the more noteworthy findings. In Spain, they found a ten-fold higher incidence of vaccine-related adverse events following HPV vaccination compared to “other types of vaccines.” In Canada, they found an astonishing one in ten rate of hospital emergency department visits among HPV-vaccinated individuals “within 42 days after immunization.” Still, the industry researchers did what they could to minimize these injuries. The Mexican reviewers criticize the authors of the various post-marketing studies for failing to ask essential questions, to evaluate the many serious adverse events, or to elaborate on their often-troubling findings.
Abbreviated Trial Times
Typically, FDA requires drug companies seeking approval for a new drug to observe health outcomes in both the placebo and study groups for 4-5 years. Vaccine manufacturers take advantage of FDA regulatory loopholes that allow fast-tracking of vaccines and cut that period down to a few weeks or even a few days. This means that injuries that manifest, or are diagnosed, later in life—most neurodevelopmental disorders, for example—will…