[SaneVax: In the late 1980’s vaccine manufacturers threatened to stop production of childhood vaccines because litigation was eroding what little profit margin there was to be had in the current market. Less than 30 years later, this same ‘market’ accounts for over $25 billion per year and a 23% anticipated growth rate. How did this miracle of transformation take place?
Jagannath Chatterjee outlines the 18 rules of the “vaccination game” these manufacturers play to increase the bottom line for their corporate investors.]
Vaccination: Rules of the Game
By Jagannath Chatterjee, GaiaHealth
There’s method behind how vaccines are sold, tried and true through a century of campaigns. Here’s how it’s done, from the opening gambit (inflate the figures), to middle game (increase the profits/number of doses), to end game (take the win and start over). No trick and no lie is too big in the high stakes game of Vaccination!
The vaccine industry has a turnover of $25.3 billion and, growing at the rate of 23% in huge developing markets like India, is expected to reach $56.7 billion by 2017. . It has emerged as one of the most lucrative sections of the pharmaceutical industry. How has this happened?
The industry has a unique product, which is highly recommended and patronized by governments. Edward Jenner set the pace when he received a princely sum from King George III. They have a customer base that is truly captive. Many of them actually believe that they need it, with faith based upon a 200-year-old sustained marketing campaign. Those who have woken up, or are in the process of doing so, are herded by tough government rules. The manufacturer cannot even be sued if their children get seriously hurt or die, thanks to a 1986 law—a feat recently emulated by Monsanto. The sins of the industry are borne by taxpayer’s funds and the people whose lives have been devastated by adverse effects.
Pharmaceutical corporations have an extremely committed sales force. Sample these:
- “We are not ever going to come down that it (vaccines and autism) is a true side effect.”That was Marie McCormick, then Chair of the IOM Committee, addressing the IOM Safety Review Meeting in 2001.
- “You can give a child 10,000 vaccines at once.” Yes, you guessed it: Dr Paul Offit, the industry certified vaccine expert giving a vital push to sales figures.
- “Vaccines do not cause autism, they cause autism like symptoms.” Julie Gerberding, the previous CDC Chief, speaking to CNN.
- “My mandate as I sit here in this group is to make sure at the end of the day that 100,000,000 are immunized.” Dr John Clemens of WHO at the June 2000 Simpsonwood meeting of the CDC, despite knowing that the Verstraeten study being discussed originally showed that just 25 mcg. of thimerosal exposure from a vaccine would make a child 7.62 times more likely to get autism.
What other industry can boast of such champions?
The vaccine industry’s marketing strategy is the envy of all others. They have their own set of rules, religiously followed. Take the case of dengue. There is a vaccine for it in making, and the marketing arm is already flexing its muscles. They’ve already started following the Rules of the Vaccine Game:
Rule 1: Inflate the figures.
The first rule is to make estimates that sound scary and later help in reducing incidence, as it is very easy to reduce figures that are not real in the first place. In case of smallpox, against 131,000 reported cases worldwide, the incidence was estimated to be 15 million, according to the WHO report, “Fifty Years of WHO in the Western Pacific Region”. Recently, for forcing the oral polio vaccine (OPV) on developing nations, 32,419 cases of polio were inflated to 350,000.
Likewise for dengue: The recent estimate, since a vaccine is very near, is 390 million against the earlier estimate of 50-100 million—which was considered high when it was made.
It is also the norm to take the worst incidence rate that may have occurred in a corner of the world and extrapolate that to the entire population. This has recently happened with the incidence of Hib-related disease in India.