Tuesday, April 22, 2008

All three, or so they say.

With Barack Obama's autism comment today, it appears that all three of the presidential candidates agree on at least one thing: that we need to know more about the links between vaccines and autism, as well as other neurological disorders. All three candidates have now said that they support research into this topic. Unfortunately, while reading this article about Obama's comments today, I had two nearly simultaneous cynical thoughts (don't I always?). Here were my reactions:

1. It doesn't matter what the president thinks. The big pharm companies are stronger, more powerful, and more influential than any president could hope to be. How many drug commercials are on TV every day? How many doctors get free lunches (and dinners and ballgames and who knows what else) from pharm reps every day? No individual in our government has that kind of power. Sorry to sound so conspiracy-theorist, but it is not difficult for the pharm industry to corrupt our government. Electing one of the current candidates does not guarantee that adequate research will be done or that the egos in the medical community who support following the current vaccination schedule at all costs will back off of their stance. Remember that vaccines make a lot of money for the pharm industry. Fighting the industry is going to be a bit like fighting the mafia.

2. Public opinion seems to be swinging toward supporting more research, especially after the Hannah Polling case. It's election season. Don't candidates sometimes say what needs to be said to get elected and then either forget about it or change their minds or let other priorities interfere later? Eg: the most famous campaign promise of all time, "Read my lips, no new taxes!" All three presidential candidates made it this far in the race in part because they are eloquent, dynamic speakers who have an unusual understanding of how to say what, when.

The author of the article linked above, the article that I read, is optimistic that, because of upcoming vaccine injury court cases, public opinion will continue to swing and by election day, most Americans will believe that there is at least some link between vaccines and autism. I'm hoping he's right!


Michael said...

let's hope they keep their word... this is an issue Liz and I are counting on being fixed before we have kids.

Hillary Dickman said...

Even now, vaccines aren't required by law, so I'm sure you'll be in a good situation when you have kids. Vaccine schedules can only get better from here, I think. The key is getting a reasonable pediatrician or family practice physician with whom you see eye to eye on this issue. Some of them tow the party line (or the medical model line, in this case) and some are willing to think outside the box. The less ego the doctor has, the more flexible they seem to be when it comes to vaccine schedules. At least, that's my experience. Modest doctors know that they don't know everything...that none of us know everything.