03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Something You Should Know About Profits, Vaccines and Tort Reform

According to

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has not only given immunity to the makers of Tamiflu and Relenza for injuries stemming from their use against swine flu, she has granted immunity to future swine flu vaccines and 'any associated adjuvants.' The last time the government embarked on a major vaccine campaign against a new swine flu, thousands filed claims contending they suffered side effects from the shots. This time around, they will have no recourse.

The 2006 Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (the PREP Act) allows the DHHS Secretary to invoke almost complete immunity from liability for manufacturers of vaccines and drugs used to combat a declared public health emergency.

On Dec. 30, 2003, the Food and Drug Administration cleared the way for the use of an anthrax vaccine against the threat of both inhaled and skin-related anthrax. This decision resulted from the lifting of an injunction by Judge Emmett Sullivan, of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Previously, Judge Sullivan had agreed with plaintiffs, soldiers who remain anonymous, that this vaccine was in fact "investigational," and was being administered to troops, for an "unapproved purpose."

To date, we still do not know who was responsible for the post 9/11 distribution of anthrax through the U.S. postal service. Yet we do know which companies, and individual investors will be making profits from the non-competitive contracts awarded to them, and the government grants resulting from the multi-billion dollar increases in defense and anti-terrorism spending pushed through by the current Bush administration.

In the case of anthrax, the biotechnology company, Elusys, presidential brother (and son of former president), Neil Bush, was not only on the board, he raised the venture capital in Houston for the biowarfare-technology start-up through Interlink Management, working out of his father's office. This same presidential brother was legally barred from certain financial activities after his involvement in the S&L Silverado Savings and Loan crisis, which cost taxpayers billions to bail out. Elusys is linked to biowarfare "research" and vaccines to be tested and used to vaccinate both soldiers and civilians in the near future. Now Elusys plans to start SARS vaccine research, as well, therefore accessing even more grant and contract money from the U.S. taxpayers.

Although the human deaths from anthrax and SARS were limited, the fear and financial costs related to the scare were immense. Then President George W. Bush, through provisions in the Homeland Security Act, opened the gates for billions of dollars in biotech financing. This money will eventually make its way into the pockets of those who were "at the right place at the right time," in other words, those given access to limited inside information about which companies were well-connected, and thus, most likely to benefit and even influence, government spending.

Elusys's board member, Steven Sudovar, testified post-9/11 before Congress, helping to smooth the way for the spending increase which followed, and which benefited many Bush supporters with investments in biotechnology. Yet the most disturbing aspect of the free reign given to these companies in this new age of terrorism and fear, is that they will be able to test their medicines and vaccines on humans, even selling these same products, without any real liability if anything goes wrong.

President Bush's tort reform, begun in Texas and now virtually to the national level, ensures that these same companies are protected from costly lawsuits, which have been the consumer, and individuals' only recourse in case of illness or death. It was during the first Gulf War that then President Bush's advisor, John Deutsch, demanded that vaccine companies creating biowarfare vaccines for troops be protected from potentially costly lawsuits. In other words, if the guinea pigs became ill or died, no one could sue them. And as it has been proven that some adjuvants used to render vaccines "more effective" squalene for one, can seriously harm human beings, we will surely see more illnesses as a result of increasing use of vaccines overall.

New technologies being used for vaccines are raking in profits for these companies. Monoclonal antibodies and the royalties are the mineral rights of the biotech/pharma world. The profit structure is even modeled on that of the oil industry -- and some of the same players are involved once again. And while the companies will make more profits, they will also not have to pay if any harm is done by their products. Their good ole boy buddies took tort reform to Texas and then once in the White House took it nationwide.

The Food and Drug Administration, which regulates drug approval, has a long waiting period and, until recently, strict codes of conduct for human research. This process has sped up considerably since September 11, 2001, and several companies have had their drugs put on "fast track" status and virtually pushed through to the human testing and approval stages. In some human drug and vaccine testing cases, FDA waivers are allowed for highly experimental vaccines due to circumstances related to being "at war."

Elusys, part of the Mederex group, is also benefiting from its strong Bush and FDA connections. Another Elusys board member is a former head of the FDA, virtually assuring the company that its products were pushed through, earning "fast-track" status. This company has already won millions in non-competitive bids, which include the government's agreement to purchase the vaccines as well.

Elusys came into existence only two years prior to the September 2001 anthrax poisonings by letters mailed from New Jersey. Elusys' headquarters are based in New Jersey. The anthrax cases have yet to be solved, but one hopes that Elusys' labs were investigated as they harbored live anthrax for making vaccines.

More research needs to be done looking into the companies supplying the vaccines for the troops. As these drugs are being "fast-tracked" through the FDA, they remain experimental, and the troops become in fact, guinea pigs for the human testing phase of the vaccines. Human testing is both the most expensive and dangerous part of any drug's life as it finds its way through the FDA to receiving approval for sales. Thus, once again, private companies and their well-connected investors, are being subsidized by the government, which is supplying troops for human testing, as they did during the first Gulf War. The new order will also include the enforcement of the utilization of a smallpox vaccine which will be administered to all soldiers and essential civilians in the Middle East, as well as to troops in South Korea.

Although I am not going to advocate from my research refusing to take any and all vaccines, I do recommend that people inform themselves about tort reform and the companies making the profits. We all know big Pharma is working against Americans having universal coverage, but what many do not know is how tort reform protecting these same companies was put in place as a result of 9/11. Remain vigilant when it concerns your health and that of your children.