BREAKING NEWS: Julie Gerberding, former CDC Director, to become President of Merck's vaccine business
WASHINGTON, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Dr. Julie Gerberding, former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was named president of Merck & Co Inc's (MRK.N) vaccine division, the company said on Monday.
Gerberding, who led the CDC from 2002 to 2009 and stepped down when President Barack Obama took office, will head up the company's $5 billion global vaccine business that includes shots to prevent chickenpox, cervical cancer and pneumonia. [Editor's note: Gerberding will begin her new job on January 25th, 2010. One year is the minimum time allowable for former Federal officials to take such a job with companies they used to regulate]
She had led CDC from one crisis to another, including the investigation into the anthrax attacks that killed five people in 2001, the H5N1 avian influenza, the global outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, and various outbreaks of food poisoning.
"As a preeminent authority in public health, infectious diseases and vaccines, Dr. Gerberding is the ideal choice to lead Merck's engagement with organizations around the world that share our commitment to the use of vaccines to prevent disease and save lives," Merck Chief Executive Officer Richard Clark said in a statement.
She may be charged with reigniting flagging sales of Merck's Gardasil vaccine to prevent cervical cancer by protecting against human papillomavirus or HPV. After an encouraging launch Gardasil sales have been falling and were down 22 percent in the third quarter at $311 million.
We will have to keep an eye on these two trouble makers.These are very shameful times in medical history.Merck probably giving her a large paycheque
she just could not refuse.Now she is going to use her insider's knowledge to help Merck to get around the CDC/FDA.The system is corrupted to the core.
Posted by: just a Mother | December 23, 2009 at 09:09 AM
May the Christmas ghosts of her past, present, and future give her a very frightful visit that she'll never forget...
Posted by: CindyPDX | December 22, 2009 at 03:59 PM
No doubt this has been in the works for a long time. Recent comments about how "fragile" our nation's vaccination program is lead me to believe Gerberding has been courted for some time to help overcome that fragility.
The Pharma companies are very savvy and know their markets well. To those in the masses who rush to roll up their sleeves, and who do not follow vaccination news, this is likely to be perceived as a good move to shore up vaccine safety - "hey, we've got the former head of CDC on it - oh yeah, we're safe - just take the damn shot!"
Will average Americans fall for this tactic and see it as a positive?
They certainly will if the media fails to do their job and bring attention to the conflicts of interest. We'll see....
Posted by: Beth | December 22, 2009 at 12:12 PM
Dr. David Johnson, Dep. Dir. of Michigan Dept. of Community Health being interviewed on WXYZ (Steve Wilson) in 2003:
"Mainstream medicine recommends first and foremost, people get vaccinated and so I got vaccinated, I hope you'll get vaccinated this flu season to protect against the flu"
Wilson comments: "...doctors like Dr. Johnson maintain, 'It is crystal clear that there is no connection between Thimerosal in vaccines and things like autism.' Even though Dr. Johnson admits to never having studied the Geier research, nor that of Dr. Boyd Haley at the University of Kentucky, nor others who have published troubling conclusions to the contrary."
I recall the look on his (Johnson's) face when he said "I haven't actually read them" or something to that effect.
In an update to the same story - Wilson mentions that Johnson has left his job in public health to take a new position - I believe it with was with Sanofi Pasteur, where he's now Director of Scientific and Medical Affairs.
Of course Wilson got bashed for his "pseudo scientific" approach to reporting. But this same story keeps unfolding for several years - another parent chimes in with a story of a kid going south after vaccines, while another expert (who may not have actually reviewed any or all evidence to the contrary) offers "crystal clear" reassurances, as he / she packs up the office for the move (up) to a nice pharma job.
My concern at the time was not that Dr Johnson was "evil", but that he was human. As a Columbia School of Journalism editorial went on to later note, bad-mouthing thimerosal (or anything vaccine related for that matter) is career death.
So I wonder - how does the science "speak" for itself when the most vocal proponents are so busy climbing the corporate ladder that they don't see the mess lying below them? It's like scaling the side of a rock bluff - the motto seems to be "don't look down".
Its ALL about trust - in my world, even the perception of a conflicting interest can get you a pink slip. Here, for some reason, this seems to be the "norm".
In Public Health, the conflicts need to be resolved or the system is doomed. Fear and intimidation aren't cutting it. Tha's not my fault.
Posted by: Randy | December 22, 2009 at 11:40 AM
No wonder Gerberding didn't get around to reading the Hannah Polling case files! She was too busy being courted by Merck!!! Hey Julie, is the foie gras better at the Four Seasons or Jean Georges?
Posted by: Is that gf/cf? | December 22, 2009 at 10:32 AM
The pharma/government revolving door goes both ways.
Christie's first major staff appointment as governor elect - A Pfizer executive as his chief of staff.
Posted by: seek | December 22, 2009 at 10:25 AM
The more things change, the more they stay the same. :( The merry-go-round continues.
Posted by: Penny | December 22, 2009 at 09:40 AM
kn said;" this is the equivalent of Bernie Madoff being named treasury secretary."
that is hysterical! great analogy kn
Posted by: Sarah | December 22, 2009 at 09:15 AM
The Fosamax story on NPR that Twyla mentioned was really quite the double-dose of Merck corruption yesterday. It is hard to be the most corrupt but they are really putting Eli Lily and Wyeth in their place.
At the end of the story the reporter makes the case that this same pattern could be seen for many drugs. That something potentially good could be exploited to an extreme where people are hurt. Yet why can't people see that it is true for vaccines or the vaccine industry as a whole too? I really just don't get it.
Posted by: Jack | December 22, 2009 at 08:46 AM
This sickens me
Posted by: Katie Wright | December 22, 2009 at 08:44 AM
Yeah, I guess that is why our doctor keeps taking bone density measurements for my whole family!
Son WAS on Dilatin for a couple of years - bone density test
Husband - oxygen problems but was also given a bone density test
I was informed I needed one this coming Feb, because --- well I am not sure?
Posted by: Benedetta | December 22, 2009 at 08:43 AM
Now they have Eddy Bresnitz, so they can get whatever mandates they want passed in NJ first; and they have Julie Gerberding, who knows the ins and outs of the CDC and the WHO. Lovely.
Posted by: AnneS | December 22, 2009 at 08:34 AM
this is the equivalent of Bernie Madoff being named treasury secretary.
Posted by: kn | December 22, 2009 at 07:48 AM
P.S. to my last comment, about the NPR news story on Fosamax for treatment of osteopenia -- At the NPR site, quite a few people commented that there are long-term effects of this type of drug. The drug does increase bone density, but can also make the bones more brittle (causing more fractures instead of less) and less able to heal. And, it can cause untreatable bone death ("osteonecrosis") -- a very serious complication -- especially in the jaw. Thank you, Merck!
Posted by: Twyla | December 22, 2009 at 12:58 AM
The time is right for a GAO investigation to any "benefits" she received while still at the CDC, such as travel, speaking engagements, Christmas gifts, vacations she took at locations, e.g., Hawaii, Vale, etc., where Merck flew her and/or family members, and where Merck picked up the tab for not only the speaking dates but for an extended vacation for the whole family, etc. You get the drift.
She should be audited by the GAO and the IRS like dogs from hell and if they find that laws were bent they should not hesitate to rip her to shreds. Force Merck to dump her without a parachute. I hope the Obama administration has the guts to do so. The President says he wants honesty and transparancy, OK, here's his chance to prove he means it, and an opportunity to put a warning shot across the heads of the administrators that he has appointed.
Posted by: John M. Hemenway (Bedford, Virginia) | December 22, 2009 at 12:08 AM
Congrats, Gerberding, this is what you've been working toward all these years.
Posted by: kristina | December 21, 2009 at 11:34 PM
Speaking of Merck, there was a very interesting story on All Things Considered today about how Merck created a market for the drug Fosamax. The story, called "How a Bone Disease Grew to Fit the Prescription" is here:
Osteopenia is a decrease in bone density which is less serious than osteoporosis.
To develope a market, Merck took many drastic measures, including:
- founding a nonprofit called the "Bone Measurement Institute" which consisted of one Merck employee sitting at his desk and a board of prominent doctors.
- intimidating companies to build cheaper bone scanning machines, funding development of cheaper scanning machines, and even temporarily founding their own company to make cheap scanning machines and bring prices down.
- getting a law passed so that Medicare would pay for bone scans.
- not doing studies of long-term med side effects.
The article concludes:
From Allen's perspective, by making a treatment for osteoporosis widely available, he helped save millions of lives.
But Mazess, from the Lunar Corp., doesn't see it that way. "He was complicit in a plot to misdiagnose American women," Mazess says of Allen.
From Mazess' perspective, millions of women with osteopenia are now needlessly exposed to the risks of a medication that may not ultimately help them.
The paradox of our health care system is that both of these men are probably right. That is, drug companies produce incredible drugs that can greatly relieve suffering. But one way they profit from those drugs is to extend their use to as many people as possible, which frequently means that medications are used in populations with milder and milder versions of a disease, so that the risks of medicating can come to outweigh the benefits.
This has been a story about osteoporosis and osteopenia. But there are versions of this story about a lot of diseases. Caleb Alexander, a pharmaco-epidemiologist at the University of Chicago, says the dynamic is well understood:
"There's a powerful economic incentive for pharmaceutical firms to expand the boundaries of the use of different therapies. So whether you consider treatments for osteoporosis or treatments for depression or treatments for high cholesterol — in all of these settings — pharmaceutical firms stand to benefit if the therapies for these diseases are broadly used," Alexander says. "Even if they're used among people who have very mild forms of these diseases."
Posted by: Twyla | December 21, 2009 at 11:20 PM
Gerberding might make a great scapegoat.
I haven't been this excited for a while!
Maybe I could start up that cable tv service . . .
and ask santa for some popcorn.
THIS is gonna be good!
"And the times, well, they are a changin' . . . "
MAKE AUTISM STOP
Posted by: MAKE AUTISM STOP | December 21, 2009 at 11:11 PM
Corporatism at its finest. I cry for the future of children.
Posted by: Sunshine | December 21, 2009 at 11:09 PM
Of course, it's just a coincidence that both Thomas Verstratten and Julie Gerberding went to work for phrama companies.
But is it just a coincidence that Julie Gerberding reminds me so much of Nurse Ratched?
Posted by: Twyla | December 21, 2009 at 11:06 PM
This is what RFK jr calls "captive agency phenomena", which is "the dynamic by which the regulatory agencies become captured by the industries they’re supposed to regulate."
Posted by: Twyla | December 21, 2009 at 11:02 PM
Dear Julie, I hope you can live with the fact that your famous company had it's hands in cancer and depopulation agendas? I hope you can live with yourself...and or, get the very vaccines that cause this stuff and let it proliferate IN YOU! Or are you really up to that? I mean, now you can take on the challenge of our kids schedule, and have at that too? What are your afraid of...put your money where your mouth is...and take the vaccine schedule yourself!
Don't mind me, George W. Merck, I'm just developing pathogens that attack your immune system while in charge of a vaccine company:
direction of George W. Merck, of the Merck Company. (166)
George Merck made it clear that "All possible living agents, or their toxic products, which were pathological for man, animal and plants were considered." (167) Merck mentions significant advances in "human immunity" biological warfare weapons as early as 1946. (168)
Records show the Merck pharmaceutical company received a major share of the Nazi "flight capital" - the working capital of the IG Farben Rockefeller chemical cartel - at the close of World War II. These facts were revealed by Norman Covert, Army public relations director at Fort Detrick in Frederick, MD (169) - the same "Camp Detrick" given to George Merck to use for his wartime research. Camp Detrick Army Chemical Corps worked with Germany's bio-warfare specialist Major General Kurt Blome - just two months after he was acquitted at Nuremberg. (170) Bayer worked at Ft. Detrick after WW2, developing "new weapons." (171)
No doubt Merck put all that Nazi know-how to work making war viruses. A "Special Virus Cancer Program" contract from 1971 revealed Merck developed "methods of propagation, purification, concentration, and specific quantitation of candidate viruses suspected or shown to cause cancer in man." One of the viruses mentioned in the contract was called the "KT strain of feline leukemia" - what leading experts have identified as a man-made virus, possibly a "cat/human mutant." At the onset of the AIDS epidemic, the Center for Disease Control hepatitis B Chief Dr. Don Francis said;
Combine these two diseases - feline leukemia and hepatitis - and you have the immune deficiency. (172)
Merck also created a Hepatitis B vaccine that they tested on New York homosexuals - their "Phase I and II studies" occurring between 1976 and 1977 (173) - which could account for the first recorded New York AIDS cases in Manhattan in 1978. (174)
One last interesting connection. George Merck lived on Jupiter Island, Florida - home to Paul Mellon (Andrew's son) and Prescott Bush. (175)
Posted by: Kathy Blanco | December 21, 2009 at 10:50 PM
One real ugly woman, I mean on the inside!
Posted by: Paul Shapiro | December 21, 2009 at 10:34 PM
One year is the minimum time allowable for former Federal officials to take such a job with companies they used to regulate
I would like to see an investigation into how close of a relationship these two have had over the last 12 months. I would guess she has been on the Merck payroll for sometime.
Posted by: Dan, tx | December 21, 2009 at 10:03 PM
The financial conflicts of interest between the federal government and the pharmaceutical industry are so intertwined that it is difficult to tell where one ends and the other begins.
This decision by Merck could easily backfire because it is a blatant example of the financial conflicts of interest that the general public can understand. It should further undermine the weakening creditability of the vaccine program in the eyes of the general public.
Posted by: Rolf Hazlehurst | December 21, 2009 at 09:13 PM
It's a sad day when even this news is not shocking! We have relived this type of scenario like a broken record for so long, it's become the "norm!" I hope to live long enough to see the day that all their professional heads are on a silver platter! It's going to take a lot of platters!!!
Posted by: Elsie Russell | December 21, 2009 at 08:57 PM
I'm tired of shit like this.
Posted by: Charlie | December 21, 2009 at 08:54 PM
Interesting how this is Merck's second woman holding down that job.
Corporate strategists surely are banking on the implicit maternal warmth that consumers subconsciously seek for reassurance when getting stuck with needles full of unknown substances. No wonder people squeal indignantly when one questions the integrity of the nation's coffee-klatch network of vaccine administrators.
Me, I see that taught, guarded face and all I can think of is Tilda Swinton's cutthroat corporate executive in the movie "Michael Clayton."
Posted by: nhokkanen | December 21, 2009 at 08:48 PM
Before seeking any new sales,
I would imagine she will travel the world looking for children's "mitochondrial disorders" that might lead to Autism from vaccines.
After a few billion in vaccine sales, she might then travel again and look for the cases of Autism that the poor countries have been "missing" for decades.
Posted by: cmo | December 21, 2009 at 08:32 PM
I think it's fabulous. What great ammo for the coming years. This stinks of Paul (pr)Offit getting to vote for his own vaccine being added to the lineup.
What I would like to see is a big, long, fat list of all the people like this who had some say in public policy and their connections/ties to Pharma in any way. Julie could be at the top of the list.
Posted by: Jessica | December 21, 2009 at 08:00 PM
I'm confused--- Cruella de Ville worked at the CDC?
Posted by: julie | December 21, 2009 at 07:52 PM
It is this exact type of hubris demonstrated by Merck and Gerberding that will be their downfall. Who do they think they are kidding?
Posted by: kn | December 21, 2009 at 07:38 PM
Quid Pro Quo.
Posted by: JB Handley | December 21, 2009 at 07:31 PM
Its all part of the plan. Some of you are angry and want he removed. I see the bigger picture and I encourage you to let her stay. Then we will sit back and watch her make the biggest SNAFU in pharma history. Redemption is right around the corner and I will have a bucket of popcorn with extra butter to make it feel like a block buster movie!
Two tickets please for MERCury Rising Part II.
Posted by: Elucidatus | December 21, 2009 at 07:22 PM
At least it's now out in the open. If you color that ugly picture of her green, she'll look more like the toady she is and always has been.
Posted by: Garbo | December 21, 2009 at 07:17 PM
Nothing proves how broken our system is better than this.
And pharma is so brazen, they don't even care how bad it looks. I'm sure Merck had Gerberding lined up for the job while she was still at the CDC, and just waited the required year before giving her the thank-you she earned - a huge job with a mega-salary. After all, she protected the bloated vaccine schedule right through the height of the autism epidemic!
(How much you wanna bet that any infants in Gerberding's family are on a modified vaccine schedule and don't get thimerosal in their flu shots? She may be immoral, but she's not stupid.)
Posted by: Madvocate | December 21, 2009 at 07:14 PM
I just spoke to my husband. He said the Army requires two years before a civilian Army employee can jump to a position at a contractor, if you worked with the contractor at your civivian Army position. Looks like Julie got a good deal.
Posted by: mary podlesak | December 21, 2009 at 07:00 PM
I dare say that the vaccines against chickenpox, cervical cancer, and pneumonia will be among the first to be dropped when the full scope of vaccine reactions becomes acknowledged.
I wonder how long it will be until she is out of a job?
Posted by: GH | December 21, 2009 at 06:34 PM
Her seat at Merck was "bought and paid for" by her actions at the CDC over the past several years -- payment for services rendered, so to speak . . . DISGUSTING.
Posted by: BJ | December 21, 2009 at 06:24 PM
Love that you picked this unflattering picture...but that said, I am reminded of a scripture..
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
In truth, I think Merck messed up big time hiring her...she has no spokesperson skills, and looks the death. By the way Julie...we don't believe you....
Posted by: Kathy Blanco | December 21, 2009 at 05:44 PM
Just one more uh, whats-it, at the trough.
This is insult to injury. REWARDING her for very bad behavoir.
Posted by: DoubleDisgusted | December 21, 2009 at 05:25 PM
Don't get too fired up. She is just getting her reward for being a good soldier, their best soldier as her record shows. Never before has one single person given so much to pharma. She never worked for us, citizens, she's always worked directly for them.
Posted by: we shall overcome | December 21, 2009 at 05:03 PM
symbioses: a reationship of mutual benifit or dependence.
Posted by: CODYSDAD | December 21, 2009 at 04:47 PM
"...like winning the lottery..."
Posted by: Randy | December 21, 2009 at 04:31 PM
I am sure this job was hers all along.....probably knew or agreed she would get it when she took the CDC job years ago. Its an incestuous type relationship between CDC-Pharma. Kind of disgusting, huh?
Posted by: David | December 21, 2009 at 04:01 PM
Like I said, "POP Goes The Weasel".
Posted by: kerbob1 | December 21, 2009 at 03:38 PM
I'd say "unbelievable" if it were so. It's par for the course.
What's happening with vaccine policy, production and promotion is a modern day Greek tragedy. Gerberding's act is just another scene in the play.
Posted by: Tired of Spunk | December 21, 2009 at 03:38 PM
Now there's a match made in Hell! I'm sure it's the beginning of a beautiful relationship...or is it the beginning?
Posted by: Pamela | December 21, 2009 at 03:37 PM
What the....insert explitive of choice (God knows I just did!)?!?!?
Ok, seriously, you can not even THINK to begin to make this kind of stuff up? YET WE ARE THE ONES who are the crazies because we can put 2 + 2 together? WHAT?!
This is absolutely disgusting, I think I just puked in my mouth a little (sorry for the visual, but I am sure you all have just done the same thing :) )
So, with the CDC's 'announcements' about increase/environment/etc this past week and now this, I wonder what Orac and the other idiots can use to refute the FACTS anymore...hmmm....I would wonder over there but it just gets me more and more angry to read their BS...anyone been over there after these announcements?
Mom to Ethan, Alex, and Megan
Posted by: Angie | December 21, 2009 at 03:24 PM
Not at all surprising...
Really, how could you not expect a job with a pharma after she held one of the most respected jobs in the country. Merck is BUYING her respectability, actually playing on it for Guardasil!
Posted by: Kevin D. | December 21, 2009 at 03:17 PM
The fact that no one here is the least bit surprised by this news tells you that the system is way, way out of control. Public Health is completely corrupted by BigPharma. There can be no doubt about that point.
Posted by: Sylvia | December 21, 2009 at 03:11 PM
Posted by: 4Bobby | December 21, 2009 at 03:00 PM
You can't make this stuff up.
Posted by: Kathy | December 21, 2009 at 02:53 PM
All those years of giving the drug companies a comfy space in our government earned her a job.
Posted by: Jake Crosby | December 21, 2009 at 02:52 PM
We need legislation to prevent this from ever happening!!! How can we expect our health agency leaders to do an honest job representing the best interests of the american people... if they can be bought in advance by the very industry they're entrusted to help keep in check???
Posted by: Erik Nanstiel | December 21, 2009 at 02:52 PM
..... told ya!!!
Posted by: will anyone notice | December 21, 2009 at 02:48 PM
So, did Julie already have this job all lined up when she put out their Gardisil recommendations:
The f-ing gall of these people is mind-boggling.
Posted by: Jack | December 21, 2009 at 02:46 PM
If we were actually "uniquely powerful" I suspect they'd be a little less brazen with their corruption.
As RFK Jr. said, this isn't even high quality fraud.
Posted by: Jack | December 21, 2009 at 02:43 PM
Ugh. Just another example of how intertwined the CDC and the pharma companies have become. Julie Gerberding is off to continue destroying the lives of children all over the world. Way to go, Julie!
Posted by: Sue M. | December 21, 2009 at 02:39 PM
Wow, isn't this a demotion? As the CDC head she was in charge of ALL vaccines manufacturers - now its just Merck's ...
Posted by: Diane | December 21, 2009 at 02:23 PM