You might think that an official rebuke of Pfizer's CEO for misleading the public on the benefits of its COVID vaccine would be big news, especially given the fill court press by vaccine absolutists to compel people to receive the shots.
But even with a Google search, I have not yet seen any US media coverage of a starling rebuke delivered to Pfizer CEO Dr. Albert Bourla by a panel convened by the UK Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority (PMCPA). The criticism followed remarks he made in a December 2021 interview with the BBC. The following account is derived from an article in the Melbourne, Australia Herald-Sun by Frank Chung.
In early December 2021, Dr Bourla used an interview with BBC Breakfast to claim that the virus was "thriving" in schools and "there is no doubt in my mind that the benefits, completely, are in favour of" giving five-year-olds the vaccine.
"This is disturbing, significantly, the educational system, and there are kids that will have severe symptoms," he said. (snip)
By March 2022, some data were showing the effectiveness of the children's vaccine plummeted to just 12 per cent within weeks of inoculation.
Dr Bourla said in the BBC interview that the main benefit of immunising children was "the indirect protection of adults".
"The extent to which we can do that and protect adults by avoiding them being infected by children with the current vaccines is still quite uncertain," he said.
"So, that's the balance - we clearly want to protect children as much as possible and we've got good evidence now that this vaccine, even at a low dose, produces a really good protective immune response in children and produces many fewer side effects because of the lower dose.
The CEO's touting of "good evidence" and his promotion of a jab that turned out to have but 12% effectiveness, drew an almost immediate complaint:
Shortly after the interview was published, parent lobby group UsForThem lodged a formal complaint with the Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority (PMCPA).
The complaint alleged Dr Bourla's remarks were "disgracefully misleading" and "extremely promotional in nature", breaching several clauses of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry's (ABPI) code of practice, The Telegraph reported. (snip)
There is simply no evidence that healthy schoolchildren in the UK are at significant risk from the SARS COV-2 virus and to imply that they are is disgracefully misleading," the complaint said.
A code of practice panel convened by the PMCPA found Pfizer had breached the code in a number of different ways, including by misleading the public, making unsubstantiated claims, and by failing to present information in a factual and balanced way, according to The Telegraph.
Pfizer appealed the findings, arguing Dr Bourla's remarks were based on "up-to-date scientific evidence" and could be substantiated by the "publicly available independent benefit-risk assessments".
An appeal board panel met in November, where the breaches relating to misleading the public, making unsubstantiated claims and the lack of balance were upheld.
The more serious findings, including that Pfizer had brought discredit to the industry, had encouraged irrational use of a medicine and had failed to maintain high standards, were overturned.
The full case report will be published in coming weeks.
Pfizer is one of the largest television advertisers in the United States. That's why I don't expect this strong rebuke of its CEO to get much publicity here.