By Leslie Carol Botha
September 20, 2011
In a striking move, Australian businessman and father of a Gardasil injured girl, Stephen Tunley matched University of Pennsylvania bioethicist, Dr. Art Caplan’s$10,000 reward for ‘proof of Bachmann vaccine claims.’
Dr. Caplan made headline news after Presidential Candidate Michelle Bachmann, speaking as the mother of three daughters and the foster mother of 23 other adolescent girls publically called “Gardasil – a potentially dangerous vaccine.’ Bachmann was approached by a mother of a Gardasil injured girl after the Thursday Republican Tea Party debate, and told her daughter was now ‘retarded’ (also known as brain damaged).
Caplan’s response was to place a wager on Bachmann’s ‘incredibly irresponsible falsehood.’
‘If she can produce a case in one week starting today verified by three medical experts that she and I pick of a woman who became ‘retarded’ (her words) due to HPV vaccine I will donate that to a charity of her choice.’ 1.
On Monday, September 19, 2011, SANE Vax Inc. issued a press release on what we feel is a blatant and unprecedented HIPPA violation by exposing a family of an injured child to media scrutiny. 2.
In addition, SAVE Vax Inc. emailed an Open Letter to Dr. Caplan, on September 18 stating our objections to his unethical bet.
‘On behalf of the parents of a group of neurologically injured teenage girls after HPV vaccination, we feel obligated to question your ‘bio’-ethics as you challenge Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann with a $10,000 bet to prove a claim that a vaccine to prevent cervical cancer caused mental retardation. We represent many parents of teenage girls who have suffered a variety of central nervous system (CNS) dysfunctions, including various degrees of mental ‘retardation’ (impairment) as a sequelae of Gardasil® vaccination injuries. It is hard to believe that as bioethicist you openly instigate violation of the HIPAA law.
‘Now, SANE Vax Inc. challenges you, Dr. Caplan. Prove the vaccine Gardasil® has prevented a single case of cervical cancer. We have not found such a case in the world literature, or in the published clinical trial materials. The endpoints used for evaluating the efficacy of Gardasil® were largely self-reversible precancerous changes, not true cancer as defined in any pathology textbooks.’3.
By Monday morning SANE Vax Inc. President, Norma Erickson received this response.
‘Find the case, present it to michelle bachmann, let the doctors we agree on confirm HPV vaccine as the cause and I pay. You have until thursday.’
Emanuel & Robert Hart Director of
The Center for Bioethics and
Sidney D Caplan Professor of Medical Ethics
University of Pennsylvania
3401 Market St. Suite 320
Alerted to the emailed response, Stephen Tunley, researched funding sources for the University of Pennsylvania Bioethics Department and to no one’s surprise found that their primary funding source was none other than the National Institutes of Health.
Outraged, Tunley matched Caplan’s wager – and upped the ante by adding the issue of financial disclosure in the following challenge:
Dear Dr. Caplan
I would like to offer you $10,000 to you to prove that Gardasil did not and does not cause the issues discussed by Ms. Bachman and others. Of course when I win, you might care to donate the monies to SANE Vax. However and unlike your gutless prove it by Thursday deadline – I am happy to keep this offer open for a while.
On a personal note I find it revolting that a ‘bioethicist” would engage in such a bet. Surely your responsibilities are to investigate, consider and approach this with an open mind. But I guess you have long since not been a “real” bioethicist and now are really a ‘vaxapologist!’
One more question: will the $10,000 be sourced from your pockets or from the bioethics centre? As you know, but perhaps many others don’t know, funding for the center comes from a range of sources – including the NIH http://www.bioethics.upenn.edu/funding.shtml, which as we say down-under has ‘skin in the game” by being a co-patent holder for Gardasil and receives royalties from its sale.
A wee bit of conflict of interest and perhaps a challenge for you and your supposed ethics! Interesting that this was not disclosed by you!
So Dr Caplan ‘man up;’ disclose your conflicts and take up the challenge!
Father of Chescia Tunley – yet another young woman damaged by Gardasil
The ball is in your court now Dr. Caplan.
1. Bioethicist Offers $10,000 Reward For Proof of Bachmann Vaccine Claims http://www.forbes.com/sites/matthewherper/2011/09/15/bioethicist-offers-10000-reward-for-proof-of-bachmann-vaccine-claims/
2. Bioethicists Not So Ethical When It Comes to Gardasil Injuries
3. SANE Vax: Open Letter to Dr. Art Caplan, Bioethicist , University of Pennsylvania