Note: This is Part V in a series of articles adapted from the second Children’s Health Defense eBook: Conflicts of Interest Undermine Children’s Health. The first eBook, The Sickest Generation: The Facts Behind the Children’s Health Crisis and Why It Needs to End, described how children’s health began to worsen dramatically in the late 1980s following fateful changes in the childhood vaccine schedule.]
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has issued annual vaccine recommendations for the U.S. civilian population since 1995. ACIP works in partnership with leading medical trade organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the American College of Physicians (ACP) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).
ACIP’s industry-beholden membership roster reads like a “who’s who” of the individuals and organizations who spearhead the nation’s vaccine business: fifteen voting members from leading medical schools, children’s hospitals and universities; eight ex officio members from federal agencies such as the FDA and the Department of Defense (DOD); and thirty non-voting representatives serving as liaisons with entities ranging from Sanofi to Cigna and Planned Parenthood (with the latter being a leading promoter and provider of HPV vaccines).
A tangled web
The longstanding conflicts of interest that hold ACIP members captive to pharmaceutical industry interests are well known and well documented. In the early 2000s, a four-month investigation by United Press International (UPI) identified “a web of close ties” and financial entanglements between ACIP members and vaccine companies, including:
- Sharing vaccine patents
- Owning vaccine company stock
- Getting research funding or money to monitor vaccine testing
- Receiving funding for academic departments or appointments
According to an investigation by the Committee on Government Reform in 2000, the CDC not only frequently grants waivers but also looks the other way when ACIP members provide incomplete financial disclosure.