By Christina Waldman
In the past weeks, Prof Dorit Reiss of Hastings law school in San Francisco has been bombarding the blogs with many hundreds of comments in relation Katie Couric’s broadcast on HPV vaccine - likely in excess of a thousand.
(KatieCouric.com: Rosie Perez
Katie Couric.com: What Are Your Thoughts on Gardasil
KatieCouric.com: Conversation Continued
HuffPo: Furthering Conversation)
So many, in fact, that it is hard to imagine how it could not interfere with her normal professional routine. Whether or not Reiss has been able to perform her normal professional tasks during this period there is an issue of whether her advocacy may be conflicted by the sponsorship and institutional affiliations of her employer, examined here by Christina Waldman.
In an exchange a few days ago (Dec 8) between University of California (UC) Hastings Associate Law Professor Dorit Reiss and "Vince Brown" on KatieCouric.com, Brown accuses Reiss of being “paid to post” in favor of vaccines. Reiss replies: "Not really. My lawschool [sic] would pay me the same salary whether or not I post here." Brown persisted, and Reiss confirmed, “I am sorry you had trouble understanding my comment. No, no one is paying me to post here.”
Be that as it may, the institutional activities of Hastings have latterly become bound up in partnerships between UCSF/UC Hastings and Kaiser Permanente, the largest managed health care organization in the US , the head office of which is just across San Francisco bay in Oakland.
According to Wiki:
“UCSF is administered separately from Hastings College of Law, another UC institution located in San Francisco. In recent years, UCSF and UC Hastings have increased their collaboration, including the formation of the UCSF/Hastings Consortium on Law, Science, and Health Policy.”
The Consortium “offers impressive opportunities” for students in education, research, and clinical studies, including internships/externships with Kaiser Permanente and others. (8/28/13 press release). (Paper by Consortium members, “Price Transparency in the Health Care Market)
A November 14, 2013 press release announced a new center for the study of uses for the human genome, a joint endeavor of Kaiser Permanente, UC San Francisco and UC Hastings College of Law. To this end, the National Human Genome Research Institute provided $778,000.
One of the papers most frequently cited by Reiss in her defense of HPV and Gardasil vaccine was conducted by Kaiser Permanente or behalf of Merck:
Author Affiliations: Kaiser Permanente Vaccine Study Center, Oakland (Dr Klein, Messrs Hansen, Emery, and Lewis, and Ms Deosaransingh), Research and Evaluation, Kaiser Permanente Southern California, Pasadena (Drs Chao and Jacobsen, Messrs Slezak and Takhar, and Ms Sy), Department of Pediatrics, South Bay Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente Southern California, Los Angeles (Dr Ackerson), and Pharmacy Analytical Service, Kaiser Permanente Southern California, Downey (Dr Cheetham); and Department of Epidemiology, Merck Sharp and Dohme, Whitehouse Station, New Jersey(Drs Velicer and Liaw)….
Financial Disclosure: This study was funded by Merck & Co. Dr Klein receives research support from Merck & Co, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Novartis, and sanofipasteur for unrelated studies. Dr Jacobsen and Mr Slezak received research funding from Merck & Co for another study related to HPV4. Mr Slezak served as an unpaid consultant to Merck & Co. Dr Chao received research funding from Merck&Co, Amgen, and Pfizer for unrelated studies. Drs Velicer and Liaw are employees of Merck & Co.
Role of the Sponsor: The study sponsor, Merck & Co, provided substantial input into the study design and analytic plan. In collaboration with the Kaiser Study Team, the sponsor reviewed data analyses and helped draft and revise the manuscript. The Kaiser Study Team investigators made final decisions regarding manuscript edits.
Kaiser Permanente is a self-proclaimed “national leader in vaccine research” through its Vaccine Center Study and Division of Research, including much Gardasil-related research.
The CDC and Kaiser Permanente work together closely on a multitude of projects. (Morgellons and
Money flows from the CDC Foundation to Kaiser, and also from Kaiser back to the CDC Foundation.