Please see below my email to Professor John Shine, President of the Australian Academy of Science, challenging him about the lack of disclosure of conflicts of interest in the recent AAS media release and video promoting meninogococcal vaccination.
John Shine became President of the Australian Academy of Science in May 2018. Interesting to note he was appointed to the Board of CSL in 2006, and was Chairman of CSL from 2011 to 2018, so he should be well across the HPV vaccination situation… Looks like industry has ‘science’ all sewn up. https://www.science.org.au/about-us/academy/president
I’ll use my emails to the AAS as a vehicle to raise some issues, this will be useful to have ‘on the record’ whether John Shine responds or not.
For the attention of:
Professor John Shine
President, Australian Academy of Science
Conflicts of interest were not properly disclosed in the recent Australian Academy of Science media release and video promoting meningococcal vaccination for rare meningococcal disease, i.e. Meningococcal disease spike prompts vaccination call: https://www.science.org.au/news-and-events/news-and-media-releases/meningococcal-disease-spike-prompts-vaccination-call (13 November 2018.)
I request the AAS urgently update their media release and video promoting meningococcal vaccine products to ensure conflicts of interest of people cited in the AAS media release and video are publicly disclosed, i.e.:
Robert Booy is Chair of the industry-funded Immunisation Coalition (funders include GSK Australia and Pfizer – manufacturers of meningococcal vaccine products), and also the medical advisor for Meningococcal Australia, which is funded by GSK Australia and Pfizer. Robert Booy’s role at the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance includes involvement with industry-sponsored research, i.e. studies supported by vaccine manufacturers, and this should also be disclosed. Robert Booy is an author on meningococcal disease publications listed in PubMed.
Allen Cheng is associated with funding from GSK and is co-chair of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation which influences vaccination policy.
Jodie McVernon has been associated with funding from GSK and Pfizer, and also Novartis which initiated the Bexsero meningococcal B vaccine product owned by GSK. She is an author on meningococcal disease publications listed in PubMed. Jodie McVernon is also a member of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation which influences vaccination policy. Jodie McVernon is also associated with the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, an institute involved with vaccine development, which is supported and funded by Foxtel and News Corp Australia, i.e. media groups associated with the Murdoch family. News Corp Australia tabloid newspapers, e.g. the Daily Telegraph, campaigned for the coercive No Jab, No Pay law, which was enacted in January 2016 by the Coalition government led by Malcolm Turnbull, with cross party support from Labor and the Greens.
Professor Shine, in the interests of transparency and accountability, I again request that the AAS urgently amend its media release and video promoting meningococcal vaccination to disclose the conflicts of interest of the people cited.
Please note I am also forwarding a copy of this email to Professor Andrew Wilson, Chair of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee, as this matter is relevant to the ongoing campaign to add the GlaxoSmithKline Bexsero meningococcal B vaccine product to the Australian taxpayer-funded vaccination schedule, despite the fact this vaccine product has already been rejected three times by the PBAC due to ‘multiple uncertainties’ and other reasons. This also raises questions on what basis the TGA approved this ‘uncertain’ product. (See PBAC document July 2015 – Subsequent decisions Not to Recommend.)
I also question whether it is ethical for GlaxoSmithKline to publicly promote meningococcal vaccination for rare meningococcal disease via the knowmeningococcal.com.au campaign, which has also been aired on free to air television.
Professor Shine, I request your early response on this matter.
cc: Professor Andrew Wilson, Chair, Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee