Heads up parents: Pediatricians are being bribed to over-vaccinate your child
BY J.B. HANDLEY September 16, 2016
PORTLAND, Oregon — First off: I have no financial reason to write this post. I’m just a dad. My son was injured by a vaccine, so I’ve spent more than ten years becoming an expert on a topic I never planned to know much about. My only audience for this article is other parents.
A few months back a parent told me they had proof that Pediatricians receive bribes for maintaining high vaccination rates in their practice, and the idealistic naive part of me struggled to believe that someone could prove something like that. Could it really be that blatant?
While I don’t start most of my articles by quoting the Institute of Medicine, it seems appropriate here to put something in perspective, as the IOM wrote in their report titled Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education, and Practice.
“The environment of medical practice has changed significantly in recent decades. Physicians providing patient care have experienced reduced autonomy, increased administrative burdens, and declining incomes.”
Said differently, being a doctor sucks way worse than it used to. I graduated from college in 1991, and many of my ambitious friends who expected to be doctors bailed out after doing the math on eight more years of school…and those who didn’t are dealing with the reality of declining incomes that the IOM discusses. The IOM report is really one elegantly worded slap to the face for physicians who have their patient care choices compromised by financial incentives, and the report even includes ethical guidance from two of the largest medical governing bodies, the American Medical Association:
“Ultimately, it is the responsibility of individual physicians to minimize conflicts of interest that may be at odds with the best interest of patients and to access the necessary information to inform medical recommendations…”
And the American College of Physicians:
“The acceptance by a physician of gifts, hospitality, trips, and subsidies of all types from the health care industry that might diminish, or appear to others to diminish, the objectivity of professional judgment is strongly discouraged. As documented by some studies, the acceptance of even small gifts can affect clinical judgment and heighten the perception and/or reality of a conflict of interest. Accordingly, physicians need to gauge regularly whether any gift relationship is ethically appropriate and evaluate any potential for influence on clinical judgment. In making such evaluations, it is recommended that physicians consider such questions as 1) What would the public or my patients think of this arrangement? 2) What is the purpose of the industry offer? 3) What would my colleagues think about this arrangement? 4) What would I think if my own physician accepted this offer? In all instances, it is the individual responsibility of each physician to assess any potential relationship with industry to assure that it enhances patient care and medical knowledge and does not compromise clinical judgment.”
Sorry, I know that’s a lot of language to absorb, but I was equally shocked by how clear the guidance is from the medical governing bodies, the guidance for doctors to not let money compromise their judgment about the right thing to do with their patients, the guidance that pediatricians, some of the lowest paid doctors in the medical profession, are completely and utterly ignoring. How low paid are pediatricians? Well, according to a Time Magazine article, they are literally at the bottom of the doctor pay scale:
“The lowest earning doctors are the family guys. Pediatricians and family practitioners make about $156,000 and $158,000, respectively.”
Vaccines. There’s that word again, that word that turns friends into enemies, causes some to froth at the mouth, and is without a doubt the hottest and most radioactive topic in childhood healthcare. In my humble opinion, the attention vaccines are getting is appropriate, because the risk-benefit of vaccines is wildly misrepresented at times, as I tried to make clear in this post I wrote three months ago:
For the purposes of this article, I’ll just make a few things clear about vaccines before I reveal the way pediatricians are being bribed to give them:
- Vaccines can injure children, as the U.S. Government’s Vaccine Injury Compensation Program makes very clear
- Kids get way more vaccines today than they did in previous generations:
- In 47 states, vaccines are NOT mandatory for a child to attend school (3 states make vaccinations mandatory: California, West Virginia, and Mississippi). And, in the 3 mandatory states, a child can still receive a medical exemption from a vaccine, although many parents complain the standards for receiving an exemption are impossible to meet.
- The notion of herd immunity (which is the rationalization doctors give you for why your child needs ALL these vaccines) is mythical, since 50% or more of the U.S. adult population is not up to date on their vaccines (and we haven’t returned to the Dark Ages), as an article this week in the U.S. Congress’ newspaper The Hill made abundantly clear:
“After a recent outbreak of measles at Disneyland, the state legislature in California took the extraordinary measure of rescinding religious and philosophical exemptions for vaccinations, even for children at higher risk of vaccine injury. State Sen. Richard Pan, who led the fight, argued that it was imperative to public health to maintain herd immunity among the general population, and that to ensure 95% compliance, vaccination had to be mandatory. The law he authored, which risks the health of many vulnerable children, accomplishes nothing — because herd immunity is a myth.”
So, here’s the beef of this whole article, and it’s shocking every time I look at it, take a read for yourself:
Here’s the actual booklet so you can see for yourself on page 15.
So, let me spell this out for you:
Blue Cross will give your pediatrician $400 per child that has received 100% of the 25 vaccines they recommend by the age of 2. Incredible!!!
Pediatric practices, according to this study, average 1,546 patients per doctor.
This means that a 5-doctor pediatric practice, if they reach 100% compliance on vaccinations, will receive a bonus of just over $3,000,000 (that’s not a typo, my math is right, that’s $3 million bucks!!)*.
(* The math I used here is simple: 1,500 kids X 5 Pediatricians X $400. This is NOT an annualized number, think of it as the total amount the practice gets for kids who reach their second birthday within their practice if they get all of their vaccines. How much is it annually? What does the average pediatrician actually get? I have no idea because I can’t find this information anywhere in the public domain which is partly my point: this is a behind the scenes bribe, it’s a lot of money, and it’s hard to imagine it isn’t impacting the guidance pediatricians are giving parents.)
Some more points:
- That’s 25 separate vaccinations before your child is 2 years old
- Some of the vaccines, like for Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B, are for diseases that are not even communicable (this means they can’t be spread. A child with an active Hepatitis B infection is welcome to attend public school in most states.)
- If a physician gives your child 24 of the 25 shots above, they do NOT get their bonus
- A physician must have more than 63% of the patients in their practice with all 24 shots; otherwise they get no money at all! ZERO! If you wonder why a pediatrician is happy to “fire” a parent who doesn’t comply, it’s because you might cost them serious dough
More isn’t better?
This study just came out in July 2016 in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.
“Our study showed that infants who receive several vaccines concurrently, as recommended by CDC, are significantly more likely to be hospitalized or die when compared with infants who receive fewer vaccines simultaneously. It also showed that reported adverse effects were more likely to lead to hospitalization or death in younger infants.”
Pretty simple question at this point:
How likely is a pediatrician — who will make $400 from your child alone — to recommend slowing down the vaccinations if they need to pump 24 into your child before they turn 2 years old?
“They make millions per year by being “compliant”. Can we trust any doctor with any intervention if they are getting kickbacks for using it? No. Can we trust doctors who get kickbacks and then abuse and humiliate and intimidate and coerce you to take their interventions that make them rich? Heck no.’’ — Dr. Suzanne Humphries, discussing revelation of pediatric kickbacks for vaccination.
Pediatricians are completely and utterly compromised when it comes to giving you and your child advice about vaccinations. With enormous profits at stake for giving your child every single vaccine on the schedule without any consideration, what are the odds you will receive advice tailored to the specific needs of your child? What happened to personalized medicine? Since when does one size fit all? Are any pediatricians explaining this financial conflict before vaccinating your child? Like the American College of Physicians asked:
“What would the public or my patients think of this arrangement?”
I know what I think. And, parents, I encourage extreme caution when it comes to dealing with Pediatricians, there is so much subterfuge and misrepresentation when it comes to vaccines and vaccine appointments. Here are things that most pediatricians do NOT do when they meet with you:
- They don’t tell you they have a financial incentive to give your child every single vaccine they can
- They don’t tell you vaccines are a choice (in 47 states) and not required for school entry
- They don’t tell you most schools require far fewer vaccines than the ones they are trying to give your child
- They don’t offer you the vaccine package insert so you can read about potential risks from the vaccine
- They don’t tell you that the Vaccine Injury Compensation program exists or that you should report any adverse reaction from a vaccine to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System
- They don’t differentiate the risks from not getting a polio vaccine vs a measles vaccine vs a flu shot and they sure don’t tell you which of the vaccines are for communicable diseases
- They don’t explain to you that vaccines are responsible for 60–80% of their income
- And, there are rampant reports of using guilt and pressure to get parents to comply with vaccines
Parents need to do their homework.
Parents need to decide which vaccines are right for their child.
Parents need to recognize potentially insurmountable financial conflicts their pediatrician may be dealing with.
And, it’s my hope that state legislators will remove a bribery system for vaccination that threatens the sanctity and trust of the parent-pediatrician relationship.
P.S.: There is a Facebook post so perfect that’s making the rounds where a woman walked into a pharmacy this week and tried to get the actual vaccine insert. While I recognize a pharmacy is different from a pediatric office, trust me the conflcit and how we parents are treated is exactly the same. She writes:
Me: “May I please have the package insert for the flu vaccine?”
Rite-Aid Pharmacist: “Why?”
Me: “So I can read it.”
P: “Which one?”
Me: “The one advertised with the little banners on every aisle.”
P: “I will print you the information sheet.”
Me: “No, that’s not the same thing.”
P: “What do you want to know? I can tell you.”
Me: “I would just like to read the whole thing before I consider getting one…side effects, contraindications, effectiveness, ingredients like mercury.”
P: “I don’t think I have any. Let me check. (checks) Sorry, I can’t give you one until the box is empty, because it has to stay in the box. And there isn’t any thimerisol in the single dose flu shot any more. I can print you the information sheet.”
Pharmacy co-worker with big smile at me: “Hi, I found one.” (hands insert to P, hands to me).
Here are some things in the insert not on the store’s sheet:
1. The single dose vial contains mercury at ≤1mcg (This is called a “trace amount” by the industry.) (The multi-vial contains 25 mcg.)
2. People with egg allergies are contraindicated.
3. “Safety and effectiveness have not been established in pregnant women, nursing mothers and children under four. There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. This vaccine should be used during pregnancy only if clearly needed. It is not known whether fluvarin is excreted in human milk.”
4. “Fluvarin has not been evaluated for carcinogenic or mutagenic potential, or for impairment of fertility.”
5. “Antibody response is low in the geriatric population.”
6. “Serious reactions, including anaphylactic shock, have been observed.”
7. “There are no data to assess the concomitant administration of flu vaccine with other vaccines.”
8. “The vaccine has been associated with an increased frequency of Guillain-Barre syndrome.”
9. “In some studies, fluvarin protected up to 50% of subjects.”
Yes, I went back and showed the pharmacist the trace amount and he was genuinely puzzled, kept staring at it and scratching his head, thanked me for the information. With love to those who read this far. Please share.
J.B. Handley is the father of a child with Autism. He and his wife co-founded Generation Rescue, Jenny McCarthy’s autism charity. He spent his career in the private equity industry and received his undergraduate degree with honors from Stanford University. He is also the author of “The Only Vaccine Guide a New Parent Will Ever Need” and “An Angry Father’s Guide to Vaccine-Autism Science”
Mr. Handley has started a podcast called “How to End the Autism Epidemic” — you might enjoy his first five interviews: