On January 9th, the Science Day Presentations were held in the Los Angeles Superior Court in the case of Jennifer Robi vs. Merck and Kaiser Permanente in which both parties presented information to the court in an effort to educate them about the science and controversy behind the safety and efficacy of Gardasil.
Lyn Redwood, President at Children’s Health Defense, was there for the presentations and recounted the proceedings in a post last week on the organization’s website.
Jennifer Robi, the eponymous plaintiff, is a 24-year old who has alleged that the 3-course vaccine she received when she was 16 caused her physical debilitation; she was an athlete and a scholar who became wheelchair-bound post-vaccination due to systemic autoimmune dysregulation symptoms. Her symptoms include involuntary neuro-muscular contractions and a circulatory disorder called postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) in which her heart rate increases rapidly when she stands up. Robi’s attorney is claiming that Merck, the company which manufactures the HPV vaccine, committed fraud during the clinical trials by hiding adverse reactions.
After reading though Lyn Redwood’s recounting of the days events, there was one point where I actually laughed out-loud at the absurdity of a remark by the defendant:
“…Merck’s Sally Bryan rose to the podium to explain to Judge Nelson that Merck’s AAHS adjuvant was safe because of the small quantities of this known neurotoxin in each vaccine. She told the judge that “the dose makes the poison,” and that even water in large enough doses can be toxic. She pointed out that there are only 225 micrograms of aluminum in each vaccine. To illustrate how small this is, she asked Judge Nelson to imagine a dollar bill – which weighs one gram – cut into 1 million tiny pieces. She pointed out that only 225 of these pieces would be in any Gardasil vaccine, far too little to cause any adverse outcome.”
To anyone who has ever worked in science or research of any kind, especially one that dealt with dosing drugs, would understand what an utterly stupid argument this was.
First of all, a dollar bill isn’t toxic. This is definitely a ruse to make the aluminum adjuvant itself seem innocuous, not just the quantity of it.
Secondly, the physical size of a dose doesn’t really tell you anything in and of itself; different chemicals have different physical masses, so 225µg of one compound versus another are not going to yield the same size pile. This is overly simplistic, but imagine a pile of feathers versus a pile of rocks. For them to weight the same, you’d need a pebble next to a very large pile of feathers. The important part is the chemical makeup and how it reacts in your body.
Thirdly, this vaccine is being given to children as young as 9 up to adults as old as 45 – there is a huge bodyweight difference between 9-year olds and 45-year olds. This another important factor in dosage – the weight of the body receiving the medicine, or in this case it is the aluminum adjuvant that is being discussed. There is a big difference in a 60lb kid and 150lb adult! To make the dose of aluminum equivalent based on weight, the 60lb child exposed to 225µg of the aluminum adjuvant would be akin to the 150lb adult receiving 562.5µg. Yes, I understand that there are some children getting 2 doses instead of 3, thereby lowering the total amount they receive, but not all are, and I’m not entirely sure how a doctor decides that considering the Gardasil leaflet says both regimens are viable.
Lastly, just to give an example to show how ridiculous her comparison was, drug studies can attest that 225µg of LSD would give an adult a pretty serious trip; people report feeling psychedelic effects with as little as 20µg. So just because she made 225µg seem infinitesimal, it doesn’t mean that it is by default too small to have any effect on the body. Not that the aluminum adjuvant is directly comparable to a mind-altering drug, but my point is that quantity is not the only factor; one must keep in mind that the quantity AND the compound’s effect must be concurrently considered. So while Sally Bryan’s statement that that the “dose makes the poison” is often the case, her flippant remark does not prove that the amount of the 225µg of aluminum adjuvant is benign ipso facto.
The Judge has ordered that the case will resume on February 7th. We will see how the case unfolds in the upcoming months.
Read Lyn Redwood’s full article here.