The Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP)’s reforms: transformative or cosmetic? #medicalethics


Rema Nagarajan
25 February 2013, 08:14 PM IST, TNN

The Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP)’s has dismantled its Committee on Immunisation which recommends vaccines to be included in the annual immunization schedule. It is being reconstituted as IAP Advisory Committee on Vaccines and Immunisation Practices. (ACVIP).

The IAPCOI, which was almost entirely funded by vaccine manufacturers, was under a cloud following criticism about issues of conflict of interest.

In IAP’s new committee on immunization members have to abide by a very strict code of conduct and also have to sign a pretty exhaustive declaration of conflict of interest stating whether they, their employer or their immediate family members have received any money or travel grant or favour from a commercial business, industry association or research association or other enterprises with an interest related to the subject of the meeting or work. The declaration also includes statements about research support including grants, collaborations, sponsorships and other funding the person or his department or research unit might have received. It also includes non-monetary support for research such as equipment, research assistants, facilities, paid travel to meetings, investments such  as stocks, bonds, securities, in a commercial and so on. Plus, the members have to have undergone some training in the field of immunization and vaccines.

The brand name Rotarix is prominently displayed inside the hall of the PEDICON conference held last month, though IAP claims it does not promote brands

The brands Synflorix and Rotarix of GSK, a major sponsor of the conference displayed prominently all over the conference venue

Doctors thronging the stalls put up by various pharma companies especially vaccine manufacturers

Secretary general of IAP Dr Sailesh Gupta pointed out that all doctors’ associations take money, whether it is gynaecology association or the cardiology association of India, as they cannot conduct training without pharma support.

“Why only pharma? There should be concern about us taking funding from WHO or the UNICEF. Even they have an agenda. For example, UNICEF also promotes food products for children. So, even with these international agencies they will want to promote a particular food product they are using in say Africa. So, we need to be careful with them also,” said Dr Gupta. He added that there were very few organisations which were doing something about conflict of interest like the IAP.

Dr Gupta said that Medical Council of India (MCI) was not responsive to doctors’ concerns. “MCI never responds to any letter we send. Sometime back we were organising two conferences which were being funded by pharma companies. We wrote to the MCI seeking clarification regarding this. We got no response from them. Finally, we hired a lawyer specialised in MCI regulations who assured us that there was nothing amiss in conducting the conference. If MCI clarifies that organisations cannot take funds at all from pharma we will abide by that.”

He further explains: “We understand that the public has concerns about conflict of interest in us taking funding from pharma. But when we make recommendations we give an entire armament of medication for a condition and not by brand name. We ensure that pharma does not advertise inside the area where the programme is taking place even when a company is funding a session or workshop or training. We only use generic names and the only credit is to say that the programme is supported by so and so company. We are very careful about conflict of interest.”

While it is true that IAP is making efforts to address conflict of interest in its immunisation committee, it is not entirely true that IAP does not promote brands or that they do not allow advertising inside where programmes take place. A few photos from IAP’s annual conference Pedicon held just last month, show that industry particularly vaccine industry was visible everywhere and even during sessions their advertisements were being projected. Members were also being given gifts by companies at their stalls.

Is this a case of more things change, the more they remain the same? Or, is there a genuine effort to change illegal funding practices and address conflict of interest issues?

Calling all doctors to research into vaccine safety


Dear Dr ___,

Namaskar. Yes I do write against vaccines in general and do not support any vaccination program. This is because of my 27 years of study on the subject, something which I doubt any pediatrician and/or other doctors have done. These doctors do not know anything other than that a few children can get local injection site inflammation, suffer high fevers, even seizures and the cases of anaphylaxis, for which they are requested to be ready with an emergency kit but for which they are rarely prepared against.

I would like you to do some research yourself because nothing less will convince you. There are no safety tests done on vaccines and such tests are avoided. We all know what happened to Dr Wakefield who merely did a case study and suggested more research. Instead of welcoming the much needed advice the medical establishment reacted with alacrity and used the most dubious means possible to disgrace this good doctor, cancel his licence and verily deport him from the UK. His case study was also pulled out by the Lancet, an unprecedented event in the history of medicine.

The FDA has very recently conceded that no toxicity tests are done on vaccines because they are perceived to be safe. The only so called safety tests carried out for usually 14 days by the vaccine manufacturers themselves. They test extremely healthy children against a control group that are given another vaccine. Such tests even do not report serious adverse events as they are perceived to be due to other underlying causes, just as you so assiduously point out. This is a universal excuse that should be condemned rather than being entertained as pregnant mothers, infants and children are the most vulnerable populations.

In my 27 years long campaign for justice I have found that people, medical or non medical, do not wake up unless they or their children are affected. After that they sulk for long periods being affected by guilt, depression and utter helplessness. Rarely do they take up the cudgel to fight as they soon realise what they are up against. Both doctors and other people are threatened to keep quiet. Even I too face threats and there has also been an attempt to bribe me into submission. If vaccines are so sacrosanct and safe, why these highly unethical practices?

Regarding your own research I suggest the following;

1. Study the latest developments in the field of immunology
2. Study if vaccines being manufactured follow the recent findings
3. Collect all available medical literature that point out the dangers of the vaccination process
4. Study the incidence of those dangers pointed out in the child population
5. Study ALL the ingredients of vaccines with the help of a qualified toxicologist
6. Study the incidence of those disorders that come up in point no 5 in the child population
7. Study the presently available attempts that compare vaccinated with non vaccinated populations
8. Go through my articles “Vaccines: The Risk Vs Benefit Argument” and “50 Reasons to Protect Infants from Vaccines”
9. Ask the IAP on what basis they recommend the vaccines they do
10. Ask the Govt of India how they recommended the Oral Polio Vaccine, the BCG Vaccine, the Hep-B vaccine, the most recent Pentavalent and why they still continue with the DPT despite all developed countries discontinuing it.
11. Ask them how Bill Gates, a person with no medical qualification, is allowed to dictate our new Draft Vaccine Policy
12. Study how vaccines work, and whether the effect is prophylactic or anaphylactic
13. Question why the Pentagon is currently undertaking vaccine research
14. Question why known eugenicists like Bill Gates are involved with the vaccination process

After doing all these sincerely and with an open mind, study the history and politics of vaccines, not the doctored history that is now available but the real history and politics.

Regarding the measles vaccine, the recent catch up drive that was undertaken on the basis of a report that talked of 7 deaths, and the drive, as reported by scared doctors, killed 6 healthy children. The matter was ignored till certain persons intervened. And then the vaccine was exonerated and the blame put on program errors. Tell me which parent can be consoled with this semantic foul play.

Regarding the article I sent please get in touch with the authors of this study (after doing the above research), gain their confidence with the new knowledge gained in the process, and know for yourself their views on the matter.

You will also be interested to know that I have sensitized the chief functionaries of the IAP, the people who are directly involved with vaccine schedules and policies, and they have no answers for my questions. In fact many members of the IAP covertly support me and supply me required literature. I am in constant touch with highly reputed doctors and medical scientists in India and abroad on this highly controversial issue.

If you so wish I am willing to humbly help you in your research.

With regards,
Jagannath

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