By Jeffry John Aufderheide | January 9th, 2012
Sometimes gems are difficult to come by. However, when we find them, just clean them up a bit and we can appreciate their ‘real value’. The little treasure I discovered was a document located on Merck Pharmaceutical’s website. It disclosed how much Merck paid doctors as speaking fees in the third and fourth quarter of 2009 alone.
The 72-page document is titled, “Merck & Co., Inc., Disclosure of Payments to U.S. Speakers for Promotional (non-CME) Medical Education Activities conducted in 3Q and 4Q 2009.” And, according to my calculations the sum was a hefty $18,810,495.52. 
Keep in mind that, that amount is just for speaking fees!
You may be wondering why this information was made available.
Merck said it was because of transparency. According to one article, “[Merck] has started disclosing payments to U.S.-based medical and scientific professionals who speak on behalf of our company or our products.” 
It’s a good start, but apparently the reports were going to be available annually thereafter (July 1, 2009). Well, where are they? It is now 2012.
Document Shows Heavy Vaccine Promotion
Have you ever wondered why some doctors may be so rabidly in favor of promoting vaccines? Or, haven’t you considered that aspect? Well, here’s the answer: Pharmaceutical companies pay doctors to talk about the ‘problem.’
Not only is it subtle, it’s legal and has financial rewards.
For example, Merck was pushing two new vaccines: Gardasil and Rotateq. After filtering the results in the PDF file for the terms, “HPV, Vaccine, and Rotavirus” the total amount paid came to $2,313,942.81.
Let’s do something mathematically radical. Since Merck reported numbers for only half the year, I’m going double the amount they paid to see what a year’s worth could possibly be.
This would mean Merck spent roughly $4,627,885.62 to encourage doctors to promote their solutions/products, which definitely include vaccines. After reading this, aren’t you sick to your stomach thinking about the ‘Ask Your Doctor’ commercials? I know I am.
But what does this all mean?
‘Rotten to the Core’
Think about this, parents. Who do you trust for reliable information? Maybe a better question would be, “Can you trust pharmaceutical companies?”
Outside of the money being doled out to doctors, consider other ways Big Pharma uses its money. Here are some other examples:
- Julie Gerberding, former head of the Centers for Disease Control, paved the way for eventual approval for Merck’s Gardasil vaccine, guaranteeing billions in profits for her future employer. After her tenure at the CDC, she became President of the Vaccine Division at Merck Pharmaceuticals. 
- Dr. Paul Offit  is often seen in the media promoting vaccines as being safe. As a matter of fact, he states children can safely get up to 10,000 of them.  What isn’t often discussed is the royalties he made from vaccine sales.
- Dr. Andrew Wakefield identified the measles virus from the MMR vaccine in the intestines of autistic children. For his reward, this heroic doctor was stricken from the medical registry. Furthermore, his professional reputation was targeted to be destroyed. One website details how Merck deals with doctors who threaten vaccine profits. They say, “Court evidence now available on-line at the University of California library shows drug giant Merck systematically targetted [sic] “hit-lists” of doctors to discredit, neutralise or destroy critics of the safety and effectiveness of Merck’s drugs… One memo stated: ’we may need to seek them out and destroy them where they live….’”