Profits and popularity: the case of vaccines (and snake oils)

If I listed 100 treatment methods and then analyzed each of them for popularity, an odd thing might be that the more profitable the treatment method is, the more likely it is to be popular. Huge profits allow for big marketing budgets and swarms of lobbyists and lawyers (and biased researchers).

Consider how long it took for an immensely inexpensive treatment method for “curing” the diagnosis of scurvy (the consumption of citrus fruit) to become popular in western civilization. Do you know the history? Immense resistance to a simple, effective method can lead to immense campaigns to discredit it.

In the famous case of snake oil, it was not that certain snake oils did not produce tremendous benefit. They did. This terrified certain commercial interests.

So, those interests hired some salesman to sell snake oil that was not actually snake oil at all. That reactive wave of traveling snake oil salesman was sent across the nation (USA) with a tremendous marketing budget and soon the “threat” of snake oil (to conventional medical practitioners of the day) was eliminated.

There was no quality control in those days. Consumers could not reliably assess which liquids marketed as snake oil were effective and which were fraudulent. The demand for snake oil collapsed.

The above comment was in response to the following thread: (note that my own comments begin several down)

RQR wrote:

This has always been a big issue for me. The self-righteous ignorance of the anti-vaccination crowd, and how their ignorance endangers those around them while their own kids are benefiting from the so-called “herd immunity” of a vaccinated population in schools. In the mid-nineties, I almost lost a client over it – a chiropractor who refused to get his children vaccinated according to school requirements. Prior to that encounter, I had bashed heads with a chiropractor who I visited for a back problem – one who had in his office pamphlets encouraging patients to use “Chiropractic” and not vaccination to prevent disease. I told him to stick with his own field and quit spreading bullshit to his patients.


  • Robert Q. Riley PS: Please watch the video in the article.
  • Adam Fritz Agent and attenuated agent vaccination has a success and safety record going back to the late 1400’s. The european choice of vaccines and schedules has proven to be superior to our for over two decades.

    I’m vaccinated. It isn’t anywhere close to what the CDC recommends for children or adults. As one example how out of control the patented technology being used has gone past science and back to snake oil the only flu vaccination that proved to be effective last year was the active agent. The other two offered less protection than placebo.

    The appropriate and useful thing isn’t to requires vaccination of particular MFG, it’s to simply test for the antigens. My and almost all of our blood donations are screened for the tetanus antigen and if it is there the antigen is extracted and used in emergency room treatments. If I have the anitgen I don’t need to be vaccinated for tetanus again.

    Given the breakthroughs on lab tests on a chip it wouldn’t seem tough to have a antigen test that really wouldn’t be more complex than a modern blood sugar test. Patients who are lacking antigens could then make choices. Even better that would make the validation of vaccination technology far better than the antiquated FDA procedures that simply measure undifferentiated antigen response. WHILE allowing vaccine mfg to use adjuncts in their formulations that provoke undifferentiated antigen responses in dead animals.

    1 hr · Like · 1
  • Robert Q. Riley Thanks Adam. I didn’t know all those details. I grew up with the Polio scare. Then the Salk vaccine was developed and within two decades or so Polio was almost wiped out, worldwide. It’s almost impossible to remain unaware of that, and what the other vaccines have done to prevent the spread of disease. I place my trust in that.
  • George E Anderson OK.. so no problem If they do not want to vaccinate their children it should be their right to opt out. Nothing wrong with home schooling..
    1 hr · Like · 1
  • Robert Q. Riley George, I think there is something wrong with home schooling – except for perhaps in rare instances. But I’m okay with the idea of letting a few parents undermine their children with magical thinking and sorcery. And if they want to teach their children that the world is only 6,000 – 8,000 years old, and was created in six 24-hour days by a great wizard in the sky, just don’t ask that it be taught in public schools. Let them learn that stuff at home. And here I am talking about dogma and myth – metaphoric stories – not about God or spirituality.

    Children should be taught to think and socialize in a world of diverse opinions and cultures – not insulated and hidden away. Schools teach more than facts.

  • J R Fibonacci Hunn Robert, your terminology is rather adversarial. Your emotions are triggered, right?

    Adam brings up something that I consider an intelligent point: measuring the actual effectiveness of various interventions (including various vaccines). Respectfully, I did not see anything that I consider an intelligent point in your comments.

    as someone interested in promoting health, that focus would involve considering both the alleged benefits and alleged risks of any treatment. Perhaps a month ago, I shared a recent report by the US department of justice on the recent wave of civil court cases in the US in which damages were awarded to family members of people in whom vaccines allegedly caused results as extreme as death.

    commercial interests are prominent in many (all?) political institutions. The Science taught in most public schools is not presented for open debate, but as if correlation was the same as causality. In other words, it is not very scientific.

  • Adam Fritz Polio vaccination has been based on attenuated agents. That is technically a very long way from todays suite of GMO derived toxoid vaccinations. I do not understand how the success of agent and attenuated agent vaccinations is assumed to transfer to toxoid based vaccinations. Even the CDC schedules show that toxoid based are short lived in the human animal at best.
  • Adam Fritz BTW: If your kid is bullied in todays schools you will have to medicate and home school them anyway. Not sure I see the big value in a social structure that is a safe haven for bullies and mandates the drugging, isolation and rejection of their victims.

    In many communities home schooling is evolving to being schooling, just without the support of public monies that are going to maintaing these charming little prisons run by gangs.

  • J R Fibonacci Hunn Adam, since the original topic was in my opinion about school bureaucracies as much as about health, I will comment on that topic. Schools promote the interests of those who create them, fund them, regulate them, and operate them.

    The idea of “bullying” as something that “we are all against” is notable. Notice that how public schools define bullying will tend to exclude all forms of systematic coercion by governments (at least “our” governments) and by schools.

    50 mins · Edited · Like · 1
  • J R Fibonacci Hunn And then Karl comes in with extensive data that refutes the speculative claim that there is even a direct correlation between the use of vaccines and declines in disease rates. (Then there are the correlations and claims about rising disease rates and vaccinations.)
  • J R Fibonacci Hunn The simple fact is that bias exists. When the way that a disease is diagnosed (the protocol) significantly changes close to the timing of the introduction of a vaccine, that naturally biases the data.

    What I have found is that there is tremendous ignorance of heAlth and physiology amongst the mainstream (including MDs). The promotion of hysterias and delusional paranoias by schools and mass media is, I argue, not just a major influence on popular thought, but further I assert that promoting delusional hysterias is the specific target of certain campaigns.

    We may think “that only happened hundreds of years ago” or “that only happens in other places.” What a fascinating response to the stress of cognitive dissonance, eh? Delusional hysteria, even when wildly popular, is still hysterical and still delusional. Calling it “science” is… predictable.

    Hysteria can be great for business, right?

  • Robert Q. Riley JR, you’re right. This triggers my emotions. I’m aware that it’s not so black and white. And I’m aware that there are commercial manipulations, which would also include a chiropractor encouraging a patient to use chiropractic instead of vaccines.

    This client/chiropractor I mentioned was the one who first triggered such a strong response in me. He was anti-vaccine, but he was also a user of people.

  • Adam Fritz OH!! Amid all this there is some science that is critical to understand and promote.

    WASH YOUR HANDS! There are plenty of instructional video’s and it does not require anything but soap. There is no single action you can take to reduce the spread of disease with greater efficacy than this one thing. PLEASE WASH YOUR HANDS….

    COVER YOUR MOUTH AND NOSE! Wear a mask in public if you have to. Again this is completely supported by science. Every expulsion with cough or sneeze atomizes bodily fluids that act as a disease carrier. Many of the expectorant droplets are micronized and can float in the air for hours acting as a huge carrier of viral and bacterial contagens.

    If all of us did these two things reliably there is NO DOUBT the incidence of ALL viral and bacterial illness would be DRAMATICALLY reduced.



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