Why Age of Autism Exists -- Exhibit A: Merck and Reuters

Pharma By Dan Olmsted

If you want to know why those concerned about autism deserve an alternative to the mainstream media, look no further than the announcement today that the CEO of Reuters Group PLC, Thomas Glocer, has joined the board of Merck. Many of us who believe autism is an environmental illness -- and vaccines likely play an unacknowledged role -- have long commented on the seeming sheepishness of Big Media. When you look at the amount of pharma advertising propping up the newsweeklies and the evening news, and notice how credulous their coverage of this issue is, it's hard not to suspect the worst.

Now we KNOW the worst. Reuters is best known as a financial news service, but it covers a wide range of topics, including health. According to the company, Reuters is "the largest provider of medical and healthcare news in the world." Merck, of course, is one of the largest providers of prescription drugs in the world -- some of them quite controversial. A settlement over Vioxx recently cost the company several billion dollars.

And Merck is right in the middle of the vaccine-autism controversy. Posted on our site right now is an account of the vaccine court trial over whether the MMR vaccine (made by Merck) causes autism. Merck also makes Varivax, the chickenpox shot, for lack of which several hundred parents and their kids were summoned to court in Maryland this month and threatened with jail. Yet a realistic look at the shot suggests it's not needed and probably counterproductive, likely triggering an epidemic of shingles (for which Merck makes the newly approved vaccine.)

And so on. I am sure that the Reuters CEO plays no role in decisions about health coverage, yada yada. That's hardly necesssary, not when you know your boss is also a board member of a controversial pharmaceutical company. Don't board members have a legal responsibility to look out for a company's stockholders and do everything within the law to maximize shareholder value? What about information that comes into the Reuter's CEO's hands by virtue of his service to Merck? For instance, the board members must have known in advance of the Vioxx settlement. Presumably, the Reuters CEO would have to sit on his hands and wait for Merck to issue its press release.

I'm going to stop here because this development is really beyond comment. Obviously, the CEO should reconsider this ill-advised decision and decline the board membership. And our readers should be reminded that the reason Age of Autism exists is to offset in a small way this kind of cozy but ultimately catastrophic relationship between Big Pharma and Big Media.


Raymond Gallup

While the established US media ignores the autism rates soaring, here and on FCN they don't ignore it.
"On Oct. 28, 2007, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, during a live address delivered from Mosque Maryam in Chicago, Ill. told the country that his research team had discovered there were soaring rates of autism due to vaccines. "

Mary Webster

Unfortunately, Thomas Glocer’s appointment is no precedent-setting event. Sir Christopher Hogg simultaneously served as Chairman of both GlaxoSmithKline’s and Reuter’s boards of directors. During his time as chairman, Hogg also chaired both boards’ nominations committees. In this capacity, Sir Christopher undoubtedly wielded considerable influence – explicit and implicit - in both corporations. Glocer is likely to enjoy similar perks. It’s difficult to see how these appointments could be viewed as anything other than serious conflicts of interest.

Someone alert the media!

Erik Nanstiel

To take a lighthearted jab... I wonder how far below ground level Merck's HQ elevators go??? At least SEVEN levels, I'm sure...

Raymond Gallup

Add the Associated Press along with many of the US newspaper and TV outlets along with Reuters. I have sent numerous information to these sources besides Reuters and not one time where they picked including "When 1 in 150 is really 1 in 67" which is on our site at

Really not surprising about Reuters. After all the drug companies like Merck have billions of dollars to spend on bribing lots and lots of people....and they do it.


It is really discouraging to read the news on a daily basis and see article after article put out by "Big Pharma". They crank out all the 'get your flu shot' articles, and 'get your daughter/son/mother the HPV vaccine articles' and 'new study shows drug is better than other drug' articles and 'vitamins do not work' articles. I want real news. I'm tired of paid-for fake science articles.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)