October 26, 2009
Managing Editor’s Note: This post includes a follow up to the lawsuit discussed in J.B. Handley’s post titled, Columbia University Press and Dr. Paul Offit Sued for Autism’s False Prophets. Pay special attention to the phone call J.B. made to schedule an appointment for a child with autism with Dr. Offit, author of a book about autism treatments. It seems Dr. Offit does not treat patients with autism. Odd, yes? Grab a cup of coffee and read on. Don’t get the photo? Click HERE. And, Ringo? Don’t bother.
By J.B. Handley
Paul Offit wrote a book, Autism’s False Prophets, with the overt goal of repudiating the biomedical treatment movement for autism. Of course, the real goal of the book, and how it’s being used today, is to convince parents to keep on vaccinating.
As an inventor of the Rotateq (HERE) vaccine, a man who voted his own vaccine (HERE) onto the childhood schedule, and a multi-millionaire after his vaccine was sold to Merck, Offit has plenty of time on his hands to protect his legacy and the legacy of his peers.
The AAP has done a great job of getting Offit’s book out to their pediatric base, many of whom give the book to parents when they express concerns about vaccination. I have personal friends who have come home from their doctor with a copy of his book in hand.
The book is filled with factual errors and/or completely made-up information about a wide variety of our community’s most important players, including Dr. Andrew Wakefield, David Kirby, RFK JR., and Jenny McCarthy, to name just a few.
For a simple example of the book’s poorly-veiled intentions, consider the inside cover that includes a quote from a parent, Amy Pisani:
“Hearing all the rumors about vaccine side effects made me question the right thing to do. This book makes it clear that vaccines save lives, and they clearly do not cause autism.”
There are so many revealing things about this quote, which is literally the first thing you see on the cover’s inside flap. Firstly, Amy Pisani is the Executive Director of Every Child By Two, a vaccine advocacy organization funded by Wyeth, a vaccine maker. (HERE) The book only describes her as “Amy Pisani, mother.” Not only is Ms. Pisani’s conflict hidden from the reader, but her actually quote is a complete fabrication. Ms. Pisani has been advocating vaccines for children for YEARS, everything in her quote is a lie — she wasn’t questioning the right thing to do when Offit’s book came along. A liar with a conflict of interest — how perfect!
Biomedical doesn’t work?
In advocating for vaccines, Offit uses his book to take a sideswipe at an entire movement of scientists, doctors, and parents who are toiling away to recover children from autism. With roughly 1,000 worldwide doctors and more than 100,000 parents practicing biomedical treatments, it’s one hell of a sideswipe. Not only does he criticize the biomedical movement, he says it isn’t working to help kids:
“Instead of helping, these therapies can hurt those who are most vulnerable, and particularly in the case of autism, they undermine childhood vaccination programs that have saved millions of lives.”