By Anne Dachel
There was a stunning story published on October 17, 2016 in The Hill entitled,"The CDC is being being influenced by corporate and political interests," by Carey Gilam.
Concerns about the inner workings of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have been mounting in recent months amid disclosures of cozy corporate alliances. Now a group of more than a dozen senior scientists have reportedly lodged an ethics complaint alleging the federal agency is being influenced by corporate and political interests in ways that shortchange taxpayers.
A group calling itself CDC Scientists Preserving Integrity, Diligence and Ethics in Research, or (CDC SPIDER), put a list of complaints in writing in a letter to CDC Chief of Staff and provided a copy of the letter to the public watchdog organization U.S. Right to Know (USRTK). The members of the group have elected to file the complaint anonymously for fear of retribution.
“It appears that our mission is being influenced and shaped by outside parties and rogue interests… and Congressional intent for our agency is being circumvented by some of our leaders. What concerns us most, is that it is becoming the norm and not the rare exception,” the letter states. “These questionable and unethical practices threaten to undermine our credibility and reputation as a trusted leader in public health.”…
And the complaint cites as “troubling” the ties between soft drink giant Coca-Cola Co., an advocacy group backed by Coca-Cola, and two high-ranking CDC officials - Dr. Barbara Bowman who directed the CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention until retiring in June, and Dr. Michael Pratt, senior Advisor for Global Health in the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP) at the CDC.
Bowman, retired after revelations of what the complaint called an “irregular” relationship with Coca-Cola and the nonprofit corporate interest group set up by Coca-Cola called the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI). Email communications obtained through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests by USRTK revealed that in her CDC role, Bowman had been communicating regularly with - and offering guidance to - a leading Coca-Cola advocate seeking to influence world health authorities on sugar and beverage policy matters.
Carey Gillam is a veteran journalist, formerly with Reuters, who directs research for U.S. Right to Know, a nonprofit consumer education group focused on food safety and policy matters.
First of all, it’s refreshing that a “veteran journalist, formerly with Reuters” can write like this. When was the last time any experienced reporter openly criticized the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention? And if Gilam is troubled by the scientific fraud going on with women’s health and with obesity research, imagine how she’d react to stories on corrupt immunizations practices. Someone needs to talk to her about the one study done on thimerosal in 1930 where all the subjects died from meningitis, and tell her about Thomas Verstraeten, Simpsonwood, Poul Thorson, Julie Gerberding and Merck, Hannah Poling, conflict of interest waivers at the CDC, and most recently, William Thompson.