By Kent Heckenlively, Esq.
Just when you thought things couldn’t get any stranger, comes a story from Newsmax that “The Nobel Prize Committee is facing criminal investigation of bribery and corruption after allegedly taking huge payments from a pharmaceutical company that directly benefits from the work of this year’s Nobel Prize in medicine.” (Newsmax, December 12, 2008, “Swedish Officials Investigating Nobel Prize Board”)
According to the Swedish trade journal Dagen Medicina, Nobel Media and Nobel Webb, (Nobel affiliated corporations) are accused of taking “many millions” of dollars from Astra-Zeneca, which holds patents for the two human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines on the market, Gardasil in the United States, and Cerverix in Europe.
According to the Swedish prosecutor in the case, Christer van der Kwast, “The criminal charges that may become formalized are bribery and corruption.”
The 2008 Nobel Prize in Medicine was given to German scientist Harald zur Hauser for his discovery of the human papilloma virus and its link to cervical cancer.
In response to the accusations, AstraZeneca spokesman Zhou Yi claimed the company had no influence on the selection of the Nobel Prize, and its only connection was to the two Nobel subcommittees, Nobel Media and Nobel Webb, organizations which get the word out globally about “the benefits of medical breakthroughs.”
According to the Newsmax article, however, “Yi did confirm that AstraZeneca board member Bo Angelina also sits on the committee that votes on Nobel candidates, but said it was still unclear whether he had actually voted for Hauser.”
Let’s break this down, because at times it seems like one of those plots from “Mission Impossible.”
A pharmaceutical representative from AstraZeneca sits on a board which votes on Nobel Prize candidates in medicine. That board voted for Dr. Hauser because of his discovery that the human papilloma virus causes cervical cancer. In turn, AstraZeneca gave several million dollars to Nobel-affiliated corporations to spread the word about “medical breakthroughs.” Just by coincidence, the vaccine patents against the human papilloma virus are owned by AstraZeneca.
Maybe a few positive words from the Nobel committee might be just enough to make some parents ignore all those reports about bad reactions, including death from the Gardasil vaccine.
Or am I reading too much into a potential criminal charge against a pharmaceutical company? Maybe it’s all just a terrible misunderstanding.
Kent Heckenlively is Legal Editor of Age of Autism