April 2

Ripping Off the Rights of Children

Ripping Off the Rights of Children

Thu, 17 Apr 2003

“Parents are frustrated that corrupt politics are playing such a large role in their children’s fate. Many believe Sen. Frist has large financial ties to pharmaceutical companies and doesn’t care at all about the future of thousands of sick children.”

PRNewsire reports how prevailing corrupt practices give the pharmaceutical industry unchecked influence in Congress. Senators and congressional staff members who transition from public officials to pharmaceutical company lobbyists, continue to have inordinate influence in Congress. These powerful forces are ganging up against children and their beleaguered families in an effort to prevent them from having their day in court to determine whether or not, their children’s disability is a result of mercury laced vaccines.

The obscenity is that the most aggressive, high-ranking public official leading the charge against compensation for children who have been harmed is a physician. It is particularly galling that a doctor who must surely know that the Food and Drug Administration has just sharply lowered its mercury safety level in the wake of compelling findings.

A landmark mercury consensus report, “Blood Mercury Levels in US Children and Women of Childbearing Age, 1999-2000,” appeared in the April 2, 2003 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The report is the result of a collaborative effort by a team of scientists from the following institutions: National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hyattsville, Md; National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Ga; Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Food and Drug Administration, College Park, Md; National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Pascagoula, Miss; The Orkand Corporation, Falls Church, Va ; and Office of Science Coordination and Policy, Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances, Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC.

See: JAMA. Vol. 289 No. 13, 2003;289:1667-1674.

Before the JAMA report, the FDA had set its safe mercury level at 4 times higher than the level set by the Environmental Protection Agency. As a result of the definitive JAMA findings, FDA has lowered the safety level to that of the EPA.


Ripping Off the Rights of Children

Drug Companies are Enlisting the Help of Heavy Hitters to Protect Themselves from Liability– Senators Frist and Gregg Look like Minions of High Profit-Vaccine Industry

Senator Frist’s Former Health Advisor Dave Larson Along with Former Senator Dale Bumpers are Expected to Lobby on the Behalf of Drug Companies Adamant About Leaving Thousands of Mercury-Poisoned Chidren out of the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

WASHINGTON, Apr 17, 2003 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Sources say that Merck, Wyeth, and Glaxo-Smith-Kline will be paying former Frist Health Advisor Dave Larson and former Senator Dale Bumpers to lobby on their behalf when vaccine legislation comes back for a markup session in two weeks. The markup was originally scheduled for last Wednesday, but an article in The New York Times said that nervous lobbyists from Merck and Wyeth suddenly requested the meeting be postponed. Sources say the representatives were not in agreement with the legislation language and miscellaneous excuses were used by Senators Frist and Gregg to explain why the meeting was cancelled.

Many believe enlisting the help of Larson and Bumpers is an obvious conflict of interest. Dale Bumpers’ wife, Betty Bumpers, just shared the microphone with Frist and Gregg at their press conference last week about their new vaccine bill.

Now, while being paid by the drug companies, Dale Bumpers along with Dave Larson will likely reiterate Frist’s selling points for leaving thousands of vaccine-injured children out of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP), a “no-fault” program established in 1988 to deliver quick and non-adversarial compensation for lifetime care.

A key selling point Frist continues to use is that parents of mercury- poisoned children have filed “frivolous lawsuits.”

“Trying to get care for my mercury-poisoned child is anything but frivolous,” says Lori McIlwain, part of The Right to Fight Mercury Damage Campaign and The Autism Autoimmunity Project. “Families have real medical needs and real education and therapy costs. Plus, it shouldn’t be up to Senator Frist. Let the very able U.S. courts decide if the lawsuits are frivolous.”

Claims of vaccine makers leaving the market for fear of liability is a popular, yet groundless selling point used by Frist to instill fear into the American public and political colleagues. “An HHS study in 1995 and a GAO study in 2002 both examined why manufacturers have left the market in the 1990s, and neither mentioned liability concerns as a factor in those decisions,” says Laura Bono, mother of a vaccine-injured child that currently does not meet the statute due to his age. “Contrary to what Senator Frist has implied, mergers decreased the number of suppliers in recent years but at the same time, those companies were allotted greater production and research capacity.”

Parents say they want open hearings in Congress to discuss the following: Numerous problems with the NVICP; Equal justice and protection under the law for all vaccine-injured regardless of age; Ways to prevent hard-working Americans from having to pay the tab for the product mistakes of wealthy drug companies. Parents are frustrated that corrupt politics are playing such a large role in their children’s fate. Many believe Frist has large financial ties to pharmaceutical companies and doesn’t care at all about the future of thousands of sick children. Should the bill move to the Senate floor without family- friendly amendments, several advocacy groups say they will place a large media buy in Tennessee and New Hampshire which will include all major newspapers, adult contemporary and talk radio stations, and any other medium that targets voters and families.

For more information about the autism-mercury connection, visit www.factsformedia.com, www.momsonamissionforautism.org, www.altcorp.com and www.autismautoimmunityproject.com.
Laura Bono, Autism Autoimmunity Project, ldbono@nc.rr.com
(919) 403-9443
Lyn Redwood, Safe Minds
(404) 932-1786
SOURCE Autism Autoimmunity Project

CONTACT: Laura Bono of Autism Autoimmunity Project, +1-919-403-9443
or Lyn Redwood of Safe Minds, +1-404-932-176
URL: http://www.autismautoimmunityproject.org
Copyright (C) 2003 PR Newswire. All rights reserved.

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