Allegations of Fraud Against Merck: What Happened to Investigative Journalism?

[SaneVax: Traditional journalists need to understand the allegations of fraud against Merck have nothing to do with being pro- or anti-vaccine. It is simply allegations of corporate fraud. If the product they produced were an automobile, or child’s toy journalists would fall all over themselves to be the first to investigate the allegations. Medical consumers the world over want to know why this is not the case when the product is a vaccine.]

Forbes Magazine backs Merck despite corporate fraud allegations

By Hilary Butler

Corporate Fraud?

There is no place for pro/anti vaccine divides, when it comes to allegations of corporate fraud.

Yet all across the media, the focus of the discussion about the Merck lawsuit is not to really discuss the issue, but to slap the “vaccine foes”. The first example came out loud and clear in Forbes magazine. You don’t have to read further than the title, to know where Gergana Koleva is heading.  She is hoping Krahling and Wolchowski lawsuit is all lies, and so she plants a decoy story.   Her article title was  “Merck Whistleblower suit a boon to vaccine foes even as it stresses the importance of vaccines.” The URL, reads, “Merck whistleblower suit a boon to anti vaccination advocates though it stresses importance of vaccines.”

Nothing like hanging out provaccine bias for all to see.  But the problem is, Gergana seems to be blind to her own message, insisting that those who are calling out her bias, are guilty of “baseless criticisms”.  Medical history from 1998, stated that there was something badly amiss with the Merck Mumps vaccine. These two 2007 medical articles Brunell and Peltola are compulsory reading.

When journalists like Gergana, who claim to specialise on corporate fraud, bioethics and health, publish an article, readers would expect to enjoy a competent fleshing out of facts; a time line; the medical literature; the legal process; the facts about the Department of Justice; the history of the company including history of previous corporate frauds, and how corporate fraud affects us all in day to day life.  Yet what they got from Forbes, was primarily a fingering of the “vaccine foe”, which is particularly noticeable if you analyse the adjectives she used when describing the two “sides”; dripping doubt about the case, and dripping sarcasm, aimed at the “vaccine foes”….

After glossing over the case as fast as possible with minimal analysis, Gergana launched into her main mission, incorrectly stating that the “Department of Justice refused to rule on the case.”  This was done in my opinion, to link her incorrect comment about the Department of Justice, to Merck’s statement that the case is “without merit”. A perception is thereby created in the reader’s mind, that if the DOJ’s investigation has found the case to be true, they would have joined with the whistleblowers.  The slant of the article infers that because the Department of Justice did not join the case, and Merck said that the case is “without merit”, ….there must be nothing to the case.

But is that what the Department of Justice said, and did?  No.

In case anyone is wondering, this document sets out the procedures which the DOJ should take:

“At the conclusion of the investigation, or earlier if so directed by the Court, the Department of Justice must choose one of three options named in the False Claims Act: 

1) intervene in one or more counts of the pending qui tam action. This intervention expresses the Government’s intention to participate as a plaintiff in prosecuting that count of the complaint. Fewer than 25% of filed qui tam actions result in an intervention on any count by the Department of Justice.

2) decline to intervene in one or all counts of the pending qui tam action. If the United States declines to intervene, the relator and his or her attorney may prosecute the action on behalf of the United States, but the United States is not a party to the proceedings apart from its right to any recovery. This option is frequently used by relators and their attorneys.

3) move to dismiss the relator’s complaint, either because there is no case, or the case conflicts with significant statutory or policy interests of the United States.”

The above quote makes it clear the DOJ could have recommended dismissal and should have recommended dismissal if they believed there were no case. From the available evidence, it can be safely assumed the DOJ did not choose option 3. That contradicts any who say that the DOJ believes the case has no merit.

Read the entire article here.

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