In under three weeks, Ken Stoller’s Medical Board case for writing medical exemptions from infectious disease immunization beyond the ACIP guidelines will go to hearing. For sure, if you haven’t donated to his legal defense fund, please do. Here is the link.
Given all the international fear about the possible pandemic, the quarantines, restrictions on travel and the increase of protective measures around the world and even here in the US, it might be less than an ideal time to try this case. But you play the cards are you dealt. Sure, in a technical sense, coronavirus may be irrelevant to the actual issues in the case, but still…
Because of how I roll, we will confront the issue directly in the case. You’ll have to wait and see how we do it.
Thinking about how we are going to address the issue in the hearing got me thinking about how the VC community is addressing and should address the issue.
I spend some, but not a great deal of time on social media. I have seen discussion from the primary blogger Larry Cook talk about Vitamin C or Liposomal. I think a discussion about possible natural treatments is a good thing. There is a lot of talent out there, and anyone who is raising awareness of inexpensive, natural, harmless possible treatments is doing a public service, as long as they do not minimize the seriousness or risks of the disease, because doing so would play into the rabid provaxxer view that all these “anti vaxxers” are wackos!
So, my advice is to get the medical information out there, but don’t feed into the pro vax “wacko” narrative.
As a related aside, I handeled an FDA felony criminal case a dozen or so years ago defending the inventor of arguably the most popular cold remedy, who subsequently invented a treatment for avian flu during its outbreak. It was a combination of a couple different herbal extracts, like teas, echinacea, and some other stuff, each with literature based proven effects on parts of the viral replication cycle. He did some lab work and tested it out at a prominent Hong Kong Hospital, with apparently amazing results. Unfortunately for him, the epidemic ended in Asia, so he tried to reimport it into the US, and that’s where he got into trouble with the feds, primarily because he called it a bird flu treatment, which is a no-no under the FDA law. He got indicted on multiple felony counts. Eventually he pled out to a misdemeanor with no jail time which isn’t a bad result since the US Attorneys’ office are “felony factories” and they usually don’t do misdemeanors.
I hope some of my more biochemically inclined maverick docs and lab scientists are working along those lines, but if they are, a word of advice from an FDA criminal defense lawyer: don’t call it a cure or treatment!
Back to the matter at hand. Based on TV reports over the past few days, the Coronavirus is becoming the dominant news story, and once it gets to the US ( and per CDC “it’s not if, but when”) the story and disruptions it will cause will become an ever-present and all encompassing force in American life for some undetermined time.
The thought leaders in the vaccine concerned movement need to get ahead of this. The wacko fringe may start promoting conspiracy theories. Some luney-tune is going to claim it’s a big pharma hoax to promote current or future vaccines. I hope the community will shut down that crap when it arises (as I’m sure it will).
I actually see this as an opportunity for the community to show itself as thoughtful, responsible and flexibly adapting to life’s circumstances. When you have a fire on a ship in the middle of the ocean, you don’t have a debate on the environmental impact of the fire retardant and you don’t argue about whether it is really is a fire, or just the fire retardant industry’s ploy to sell more product, because if you do, and don’t act, then the fire will end the debate, and natural selection ultimatley gets rid of the terminally stupid and clueless.
So, to the thought leaders, you may not have the hard deadline I have to get in front of this (and in truth, I’ve already had to deal with this problem in other matters, but I can’t talk about that now). However, it behooves you all to get ahead of this and turn it into the opportunity to both be part of the solution and help advance the process of educating the public.
For what it’s worth.
Rick Jaffe, Esq.