Alison Singer: Autism Mom, Pharma Wife
Alison Singer: autism parent, IACC seat usurper, industry front group founder, recent guest on The Dr. Oz Show, and now - loyal Pharma-funded wife. Of course, that’s what she’s always been. We just didn’t know it, until now.
Mrs. Singer is married to Dan Singer, a longtime employee of McKinsey and Company: a global management consulting firm. Singer’s firm sponsors one of the awards given out by the British Medical Journal, which published and even endorsed British Pharmaceutical Industry sock puppet Brian Deer’s false allegations of fraud against Dr. Andrew Wakefield. McKinsey is not Pharma, you might say. True to an extent, but McKinsey’s commitment to the industry is significant. In the “industry practices” category of “client service,” McKinsey and Co. has a whole page on “Pharmaceuticals & Medical Products,” where they offer a wide range of consultation services to the pharmaceutical industry on everything from prescription pharmaceuticals, to over the counter medicines, to biotechnology and medical products and diagnostics. In 2006, in the company’s quarterly, an article was even run entitled “Avian flu: Expanding global vaccine production.” The avian flu vaccine is preserved in 49 micrograms of mercury, approximately twice that of a season flu shot.
But on January 12 McKinsey did more than consult for the pharmaceutical industry; they partied with its leading vaccine spokesman, millionaire vaccine industrialist Dr. Paul Offit. An email invitation sent out by Alison Singer’s group, the Autism Science Foundation, read:
“Please join us for the book launch and signing
at the offices of McKinsey & Company 55 East 52nd Street, 21st floor New York, NY 10022 Wednesday, January 12, 2011 6P-8P
Hosted by: Autism Science Foundation
RSVP: Julie Martin
Underneath that message is a bio of Paul Offit and next to it is a picture of Offit’s book cover. Below the book cover, it says:
“All proceeds from sales of Deadly Choices will be donated to the Autism Science Foundation”
It’s more than a little odd that McKinsey would be promoting the work of the Autism Science Foundation (ASF). Ever sensitive to the prestige and standing of its partners, McKinsey would seem a more natural partner of Autism Speaks, the Park Avenue charity of the autism world rather than an upstart run out of Singer’s garage (actually, ASF rents Singer a desk and receptionist from a “Sunshine Suites” property in Noho). Understanding their ASF promotion requires understanding McKinsey’s longstanding role in the autism-vaccine controversies.
And McKinsey partners have been closely connected to the debate, up to the highest levels of the firm. Up until recently, McKinsey was headed by Ian Davis, younger brother of GlaxoSmithKline board of directors member Sir Crispin Davis, and twin brother of Sir Nigel Davis - the judge who denied appeals from MMR litigation claimants to have their legal aid continued.
Though Ian Davis would eventually step down from his position at McKinsey in 2009, it was not before Alison Singer resigned from Autism Speaks. Her resignation was prompted by the charity rightfully condemning the IACC’s backhanded removal of research into some pharmacologic etiologies of autism from its mission. Mrs. Singer’s justification was that there are limited funds for autism research that could be better spent, even though Singer supports such funding being dumped into the money pit of genetic research, and even though not only pharmacologic, but environmental factors overall, have been horribly understudied by comparison.
So she founded a front group posing as an autism charity - the Autism Science Foundation - with millionaire pharmaceutical industrialist Dr. Paul Offit. ASF is the only autism research organization founded on the basis of the science it won’t pursue (it’s been “asked and answered, vaccines don’t cause autism”) than that it will do. And despite the fact that she was originally appointed to a public seat on the IACC as an Autism Speaks representative, she was allowed to keep her position as representative of her own corporate fringe offshoot, effectively usurping Autism Speaks’ representation on the committee.
During the time Singer resigned from Autism Speaks and began her front group, Ian Davis was still head of the company where her husband continues to work. Here’s a brief sequence of events. For more than 20 years, Dan Singer has been a loyal employee of McKinsey, joining the company out of Harvard Business School in 1989 and climbing the ladder until being promoted to director in 1994. That same year, he married his Harvard and Yale sweetheart, Alison Tepper, now Alison Tepper-Singer, whom we all know as Alison Singer. She would take up a job at NBC later that year and the couple would have a daughter together.
Then in 1999, Singer quit her job as a vice president of the network when that daughter was diagnosed with autism. She recently told CNN about her decision about giving MMR to her next child:
“I split the vaccine for my second daughter.”
Her second daughter now remains neurotypical. And the choice to vaccinate against measles, mumps and rubella separately seems not to have harmed Singer’s second daughter in any way. So Alison Singer not only followed Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s advice (and conceivably is benefiting from it), but was even an advocate for his cause in the popular press – at least in one instance.
When NBC ran an episode of “ER” in 2001 that featured a child who died of the measles presumably because he was not vaccinated with MMR, Singer reacted with outrage. According to The New York Daily News:
“Alison Tepper Singer, a former vice president in NBC's desktop video division, faulted the "ER" episode for its "complete belittling of another viewpoint," she told The News. Singer resigned from NBC in 1999 when her older daughter was diagnosed with autism.
"It was so irresponsible and so callous and so heartbreaking for parents who are dealing with this issue that I found it sad," she said of the "ER" episode.”
Then in 2003, Ian Davis became McKinsey’s worldwide managing director. In other words, he became Dan Singer’s boss. Did this change of leadership bring a new kind of influence into the Singer household? Only the Singers know for sure. But one thing is clear, that Alison Singer, after previously splitting up the MMR for her younger, neurotypical daughter and speaking out against a biased TV show, began changing her public position about what she thought might cause autism.
Now, I already have a good idea what Alison Singer might say to all this, her reading of the “science” convinced her otherwise. In response to a January 14, 2010 article I wrote about Kevin Leitch speculating that guilt over giving his daughter a vaccine that triggered her autism drove him to finding solace in the neurodiversity movement, Singer wrote the following comment on the Leftbrain/Rightbrain blog:
What a strange story. Many parents question whether vaccines are involved in autism because of the media coverage of the issue, but then they read the science and realize the studies are there and the science clearly indicates no causal role for vaccines. Kev, although I find your point of view refreshing and your posts unique, I dare say you are hardly alone at coming to this conclusion. Jake will have to try harder next time.
What a strange position for her to take. Not only did she not read my article but there was already plenty of purported “research” in 2001 claiming to disprove a link between MMR and autism, virtually all of which was thrown out as useless junk science in an international review by the Cochrane Collaboration in 2005, which also conceded the evidence of the vaccine’s safety was “largely inadequate.” Many of those sorts of studies published since 2001, including the CDC’s own study, were actually positive findings reported as negative ones. Perhaps most disturbing of all was the confirmation of vaccine-strain measles virus in the terminal ileums and cerebrospinal fluid of children with autism and bowel disease in the O’Leary paper published in Molecular Pathology and the Bradstreet paper published in JPandS respectively (contrary to the propaganda machine, the later Hornig paper did not falsify these findings). Finally, one would think the HHS concessions of children like Bailey Banks and Hannah Poling who developed autism after their vaccines becoming public knowledge would have ended this debate altogether.
I don’t know what “science” Ms. Singer is referring to, but scientifically, consumers have far more reasons to fear vaccines and the MMR vaccine in particular in 2011 than they ever had back in 2001. Whatever motive the Singers’ would develop for no longer believing the MMR causes autism, it was certainly not scientific. If the twin brother of a person who denied justice to personal injury claimants and the younger brother of a man helping to facilitate a smear campaign against one of the claimants’ expert witnesses became my boss, I would not want to say anything potentially favorable about that witness for fear of jeopardizing my job. I certainly would not want my wife to do the same, either.
Alison Singer had a very different opinion by the time NBC President Bob Wright founded Autism Speaks along with his wife Suzanne compared to her opinion in the Daily News piece in 2001. Whatever changed Mrs. Singer’s mind about what causes autism, it likely happened within a time period no sooner than 2001 but probably no later than 2005 when she joined Autism Speaks. Ian Davis becoming head of McKinsey occurred right in the middle of that, also happening at around the same time his brother Crispin joined Glaxo’s board of directors. She has kept this connection between her husband’s company and the pharmaceutical industry to herself.
Alison Singer cannot honestly call her group an “autism charity” when its activities are focused on promoting and defending drugs (ie vaccines) for the pharmaceutical industry. She has actually traveled with Paul Offit to Atlanta to speak at an immunization conference on how to compel parents to vaccinate recklessly. Autism Science Foundation is a corporate front group with an agenda that predetermines its approach to autism. Its non-profit status should be revoked.
Jake Crosby is a college student with Asperger Syndrome at Brandeis University majoring in History and Health: Science, Society and Policy and contributing editor to Age of Autism.
I feel bad for her sweet daughter, Jodi. This lady is making money off of HER OWN CHILD. It's gross. You don't put your own flesh and blood into 'residential placement' & then market off of the situation. No soul. Absolutely NO SOUL.
Posted by: Heather | November 30, 2015 at 05:44 AM
Alison Singer like Mark Lynas have moved away from the stance of harm from Big pHARMa to one that thinks anything they make or do must be completely and totally safe.
Making a refreshing change from their (big pHARMa) past errors which are even admitted by Big pHARMa themselves.
I think with age people must lose the power of their SIGHT?
Or lose their power of reason?
But people as they get older do tend to get richer.
So its not all downhill.
BLIND, DAFT but FILTHY RICH!
Posted by: John Fryer | September 02, 2013 at 02:56 PM
UNICEF are monitoring ANTI-VACCINE sites and bloggers and it is interesting that their knowledge is of such INEPTITUDE that they put Kevin Leitch down as an anti-vaccine promoter.
Likewise their ineptitude in not realising the hundred years old work of hundreds of scientists that discovered ANAPHYLAXIS was a normal reaction to vaccines and still believing they are safe.
But going back to Kev he does live right on top of a mercury emitting power station and has never answered me if he thinks mercury from there might be bad not just for his children but EVERYONE in the area.
Posted by: John Fryer | September 02, 2013 at 02:49 PM
With minor outbreaks of measles in UK and USA it is necessary for people in that area to get their measles vaccines.
They are in desperate need for measles protective vaccines.
But like the trips to the moon.
But like trips on Concorde.
We dont do single measles anymore.
It is what I call BACKWARD TECHNOLOGY.
Posted by: John Fryer | September 02, 2013 at 02:44 PM
Keep up the good work Jake. (From Australia).
Posted by: AussieMum | August 06, 2012 at 06:10 AM
"Is it likely that pharmaceutical companies would be deceptive and underhanded in one area of their business (medications) and honest and aboveboard in their vaccine studies? Uh-uh."
They're also far worse in pushing vaccines than other drugs because they are pushing for forced vaccinations in a system where they also determine the perceived safety and necessity of their own vaccines while being immune to vaccine litigation.
Posted by: Jake Crosby | March 13, 2011 at 04:28 PM
"Pharmaceutical companies fund the bulk of clinical research that is carried out on medications. Poor outcomes from these studies can have negative effects on sales of medicines. Previous research has shown that company funded research is much more likely to yield positive outcomes than research with any other sponsorship....Thus far, efforts to contain bias have largely focused on more stringent rules regarding conflict-of-interest (COI) and clinical trial registries. There is no evidence that any measures that have been taken so far have stopped the biasing of clinical research and it’s not clear that they have even slowed down the process. Economic theory predicts that firms will try to bias the evidence base wherever its benefits exceed its costs. The examples given here confirm what theory predicts. What will be needed to curb and ultimately stop the bias that we have seen is a paradigm change in the way that we treat the relationship between pharmaceutical companies and the conduct and reporting of clinical trials."
Is it likely that pharmaceutical companies would be deceptive and underhanded in one area of their business (medications) and honest and aboveboard in their vaccine studies? Uh-uh.
Posted by: Carol | March 02, 2011 at 02:40 PM
To Kelly in Big D- One of my daughters vaccinated her child with MMR at age 3. Another daughter waited till two and a half.Whats the hurry? The only disease here that could be any problem at all is measles, and the chance of dying of that must be like getting hit by lightening . For MMR the child should be healthy, by the way , because the chance of getting sick afterwards, with any other disease, is high for 6 weeks. In case the child was vaccinated for flu, you really should wait , because the childs immune system could have been damaged by the flu vaccines and is not prepared to handle the MMR. Be careful !
Posted by: Cherry Sperlin Misra | March 02, 2011 at 12:49 PM
Zophie, yeah maybe time for another one pager in USA Today listing all the pharma-funded experts when it comes to autism and vaccine safety.
Posted by: Jen | March 01, 2011 at 08:01 PM
Thank you, everybody. I was as shocked as all of you are when I first found all this stuff out.
"you will either get the pulitzer prize or get shot"
I sure hope it's the former!
Posted by: Jake Crosby | March 01, 2011 at 02:16 PM
VACCINES CAUSE AUTISM
Great piece of work AGAIN, you will either get the pulitzer prize or get shot
Congratulations and be careful!!
VACCINES CAUSE AUTISM
Posted by: WILLIE | March 01, 2011 at 11:40 AM
elaine, Hopewell Pharmacy no longer has the single measles vaccine in stock. Merck stopped production in December 2008.
Posted by: Kristina | March 01, 2011 at 02:43 AM
Cronyism and greed. What an ugly couple.
Another excellent post, Jake!
Posted by: nhokkanen | February 28, 2011 at 11:52 PM
This is a great idea, Autism Grandma. We should expose all these pharma funded “experts” in the media and other organizations for who they are and for what they stand for. Parents should know why in the US, after presumed removal of thimerosal containing pediatric vaccines, immediately other thimerosal laced vaccines (flu) were pushed to be injected to infants and pregnant mothers.
Thimerosal is a well known toxin, there should be no doubt about that. In addition to causing encephalopathy and other brain injuries, which result in autism, it stimulates the inflammatory and autoimmune attacks on the thyroid and pancreas, contributing to Hashimoto disease and diabetes. Is anybody surprised that the same companies, which push toxic vaccines on children, also manufacture hormones and drugs to treat these debilitating vaccine-induced diseases?
Posted by: Zofie | February 28, 2011 at 11:32 PM
Thank you Jake. Wonderful piece exposing the intricate web. The Autism Science Foundation is a complete sham (and evil).
Posted by: Henderson | February 28, 2011 at 09:11 PM
Re: Post by David Taylor: "I hope that soon you or someone can put together an interactive presentation of the vast web of BigPharma connections behind these vaccine zealot mouthpieces."
Yes Jake, how about a video documentary. People really need to learn about all of these undercover background connections and ulterior motivations. A documentary produced by you would just be the BOMB. And then you are on your way to making a full length movie. Paul Offit can be portrayed as Dr. Death, Deer could be portrayed by the Grinch, and Alison Singer would make a great Benedict Arnold.
Posted by: AutismGrandma | February 28, 2011 at 08:37 PM
This is the 'science' Singer is referring to:
"Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services."
Posted by: Steve | February 28, 2011 at 05:13 PM
Another great post, Jake - Keep 'em coming! What a sickening, incestuous bunch of lowlifes these vaccine damage deniers are!
I stopped at a very busy Border's store that is liquidating their inventory yesterday to see if I could nab a few more copies of "Vaccine Epidemic" at a discount. The manager showed me to the section where I could find it, but all the copies were gone. She then picked up a copy of Paul Offit's book (there were a bunch of them on the shelf) and said "What about this one?". I laughed and said "Are you kidding? Why do you think no one is buying that book - even when the price has been slashed??"
Posted by: PJCarroll | February 28, 2011 at 05:02 PM
It may be mentioned as well that McKinsey are also closely involved in National Health Service management and strategy in the UK. It was interestingly enough an NHS agency which signed GSK's indemnity (or SmithKlineFrench as it then was) for Pluserix MMR vaccine in 1988 (after it had already been withdrawn in Canada). If GSK had lost in court it was nevertheless the NHS which stood to be the potential loser in many of the cases if the litigation had gone ahead.
Posted by: Glax Brittanicus | February 28, 2011 at 04:49 PM
To get a measles single dose I believe Hopewell Pharmacy in New Jersey may offer it. You do need a dr scrip though. As to the rubella and mumps, I don't know.
Posted by: elaine | February 28, 2011 at 03:51 PM
Wow - I did not know of that connection . . . telling. Great article.
Posted by: Parent | February 28, 2011 at 03:49 PM
I think people would be amazed at how much of "objective" journalism and science is piffle generated by public relations firms, how many "grassroots" organizations are creations of same.
Wendell Potter laid much of it out for us in _Deadly Spin_.
Posted by: Carol | February 28, 2011 at 01:24 PM
Merck no longer makes single M-M-R. Called last month to confirm. No plans to.
Their reason? That the ACIP recommends the MMR vaccine.
Posted by: Ginger Taylor | February 28, 2011 at 01:19 PM
My head is spinning. Jake, what an extraordinary piece. Thank you for writing it. I am sick. Truly, truly sick. God, let it get better.
Posted by: lj goes | February 28, 2011 at 12:56 PM
Kelly in big D asks about availability of single vaccines.
I have no idea about the US but in the UK it is still possible to obtain single vaccinations for Measles and Rubella on a paid private basis. They are NOT available free on the NHS. The UK Government withdrew this free option in 1998, shortly after the Wakefield Lancet article was published.
We managed to get one of the last available single Mumps vaccinations after a long delay, for my autistic grandson's wee brother. The private clinic had to stop single mumps vaccinations soon afterwards when they were were permanently withdrawn by the manufacturer, Merck I think.
I hope this is helpful.
Posted by: Jenny Allan | February 28, 2011 at 11:44 AM
Yes, of course, whether Leo Blair had MMR vaccine or not was scarcely an intimate personal matter, while being politically sensitive to say the least. Anyhow, little Leo's confidentiality was somewhat more carefully protected than the families of the MMR damaged children. Evidently some people's children matter, and other's don't - and if a journalist just happens to get hold of confidential material and chooses to display it selectively for the benefit of the pharmaceutical industry then an executive blind eye can be turned.
But here is another scenario. Supposing that they had said that Leo had the MMR and Leo subsequently became autistic (bearing in mind that there was reputedly another case in the family), then the game would have been up - or at least a whole new vista of poltical trouble would have been unleashed.
Posted by: John Stone | February 28, 2011 at 11:42 AM
Great essay Jake. What an amazing incestuous web; the same names keep coming up. Don't forget that Crispen Davis is also the CEO of Elsevier, the publisher of the Lancet and numerous other medical journals that have blackballed any vaccine safety research.
GSK Board of Directors member
CEO of Elsevier
Judge that denied MMR litigation claims
Head of McKinsey - pharma consultant, ties to BMJ
Boss of Dan Singer, Alison Singer's husband
I'm sure there are a few more links yet to be discovered.
Posted by: Jeff C. | February 28, 2011 at 11:37 AM
This is outstanding research, Jake. How do I know? It was nauseating. I hope that soon you or someone can put together an interactive presentation of the vast web of BigPharma connections behind these vaccine zealot mouthpieces.
Posted by: David Taylor | February 28, 2011 at 10:29 AM
Just to confirm, no one is producing the separate M / M / R vaccines now, correct? I know Merck stopped some years back, and then they said they would start again (maybe last year?) and then for some mysterious reason (ha!) they changed their minds.
Does anyone know a source for split Measles/Mumps/Rubella vacs?
I've encouraged my little brother and his wife to at least take it slow and spread out with their newborn.... but it's sad to me there's no options for split MMR now. :(
Posted by: Kelly in Big D | February 28, 2011 at 09:19 AM
Oh dear Jesus. Just when you think it can't get any lower.
Posted by: casey | February 28, 2011 at 08:35 AM
It always comes back to money with these people. Ms Singer has to live with her choices.
Posted by: julie | February 28, 2011 at 08:28 AM
As Ms Singer explains:-
“I split the vaccine for my second daughter.”
'Her second daughter now remains neurotypical. And the choice to vaccinate against measles, mumps and rubella separately seems not to have harmed Singer’s second daughter in any way. So Alison Singer not only followed Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s advice (and conceivably is benefiting from it), but was even an advocate for his cause in the popular press – at least in one instance.'
In The UK we have the weird situation of a former Prime Minister, Namely Tony Blair REFUSING to state publicly whether or not his young son Leo was given MMR or single dose vaccines for Measles Mumps and Rubella. The reason cited was Leo's 'confidentiality', but there was huge public pressure at the time for the Blairs to state publicly that Leo had received the MMR. This would have been an excellent way of restoring confidence in the vaccine. Needless to say, Tony Blair just stated his son had 'received all his vaccinations'. There IS autism within the Blair's extended family and the general concensus of opinion in the UK is that Leo got single jabs.(Leo is now 10 years old).
Perhaps Bill Gates might like to redirect his venom towards those high profile hippocrites who publicly extoll parents to vaccinate their children, in spite of genuine safety concerns about some vaccines, whilst taking the safest options with their OWN children!!
Posted by: Jenny Allan | February 28, 2011 at 08:26 AM
Why does Alison find Kev's point of view "refreshing". I suppose it might be reassuring to find anyone who given the same experience takes the same line, but isn't it just screwy?
Posted by: Quislings | February 28, 2011 at 08:24 AM
Parents who sell out their own children and this entire generation of kids are the lowest of the low. How do they live with themselves? I do not understand.
Posted by: Sell outs | February 28, 2011 at 07:48 AM
Very interesting Jake - few autism parents have discovered new faith in the pharmaceutical in the last decade.
Posted by: John Stone | February 28, 2011 at 07:37 AM