By Jefferey Jaxen
In a frenzy brought on by this pandemic, we find ourselves in a web of Big Tech censorship. Facebook and Twitter now openly censor posts and stories by public figures and reputable media outlets with no reason, sometimes apologizing, but leaving a dangerous precedent in their wake. Not even White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Scott Atlas is immune to Big Tech’s hammer as they removed his tweet stating:
“Masks work? NO” followed by a series of misrepresentations about the science behind the effectiveness of masks in combating the pandemic.”
The media-fueled coronavirus response has kept fear stoked among much of the world’s population. And yet…numbers from both the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) signal, as many said from the beginning of this pandemic, the virus to be no more than a bad flu season.
Nevertheless, the world needs a savior. Media has conditioned us for a one-shot hero to save us and lead us into a Hollywood-honed ‘new normal’—or so we are led to believe.
What about…Aggressively shielding those who we now have the data to prove—beyond doubt—are the most vulnerable? At least cautiously allowing the economy to reengage and avoid the mounting ‘deaths of despair’? Opening schools, since children are the least vulnerable physically but most damaged psychologically?
Goldman Sachs analysts, in their infinite wisdom, have come out to proclaim that “The vaccine represents a more important factor than the election result for the path of equities…” No mention of the initial, unscientific lockdowns that throttled the economy. They then went on to warn, the biggest challenge is “convincing the population to get vaccinated…” Really?
In 2018, those same minds at Goldman Sachs asked ‘Is curing patients a sustainable business model?’….and they were serious.
In a report titled “Genome Revolution,” their analysts wrote, “The potential to deliver ‘one shot cures’ is one of the most attractive aspects of gene therapy, genetically-engineered cell therapy and gene editing. However, such treatments offer a very different outlook with regard to recurring revenue versus chronic therapies.”
Two years later, Goldman now has the best of both worlds, a so-called ‘one shot vaccine cure’ that is also tinkering with what vaccine-maker, Moderna, calls ‘the software of life,’ a quasi gene therapy and germ line reprogramming by an experimental mechanism of action in cancer patients.
Another Wall Street power player JP Morgan recently pegged its prediction for a deployable vaccine by mid-2021: “Let’s put it this way: Life can’t fully return to normal until a vaccine exists and is distributed to the masses…Consensus feels like there is a speed limit on the recovery—it can only go so far and so fast without a vaccine.”
Another company toying with the ‘software of life’ is America’s most loved corporate criminal, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and their Covid vaccine-maker subsidiary, Janssen.
Recently forced to pause their trial due to ‘an unexplained illness’ in a study participant, it’s been nearly a week and still no updates. By comparison, AstraZeneca’s UK vaccine trial went from stop to restart in four days – the FDA still has it paused here in the U.S.
Over the past few years, reporting on J&J has read like a fictional crime novel. Labeled a ‘kingpin’ and blamed for causing the opioid crisis in Oklahoma in 2019, J&J’s opioid-making subsidiary Janssen was ordered to pay $572M, later reduced to $107M. As a side note, in July, HHS’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority awarded Janssen with $456M taxpayer dollars for ‘clinical trials and other vaccine development activities.’ One month later, Janssen secured over a billion dollars from HHS to manufacture 100 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine for use in clinical trials, or to vaccinate Americans if authorized by the Food and Drug Administration.
A day after J&J’s vaccine safety trial pause, additional news broke regarding their potential master settlement against litigation alleging its involvement fueling the U.S. opioid epidemic. Last week J&J felt the need to pile on another billion to its already $4B settlement framework negotiated with a group of state attorneys general.
All under the veil of J&J’s public promise to be more ethical with its newfound vaccine contract.
As the popular maxim goes ‘the best predictor of future behavior is…past behavior.’
J&J also recently discontinued its century-plus legacy talc baby powder product. They claimed it was because of misinformation about the product’s safety. Yet internal emails, memos and documents showed the company knew it was harmful and sought to suppress the science and those who spoke out against it…for decades.
The company also recently paid over $100M to settle more than 1000 talc lawsuits. J&J still faces more than 19,000 lawsuits from consumers and their survivors, claiming its talc products caused cancer due to contamination with asbestos, a known carcinogen.
Over $2 billion to the Department of Justice to resolve criminal and civil investigation including off-label marketing and kickbacks to doctors and pharmacists for their prescription drugs. A billion to settle their mounting medical device hip implant lawsuits in 2019. Ordered to lay $8 billion (later reduced to $1.2B) in damages in a Risperdal lawsuit also in 2019. It just doesn’t end.
But they’ll act differently this time with their Covid vaccine. This time you can trust them to be ethical and transparent about any safety issues. Right?
And if they aren’t? Well at least those harmed in the future by Janssen’s products can sue J&J and have their day in court like so many victims before them for against J&J’s talc, Risperdal, opioid and medical device products. Right?
In conclusion, here’s a quote from October 11, 2020 by J&J’s Chief Scientific Officer Paul Stoffels speaking with the Wall Street Journal:
“It’s important for people, if there would be side effects, that they get compensated,” Johnson & Johnson’s chief scientific officer, Paul Stoffels, told the Journal. “But for the industry to make multiple billion vaccines available, you also have to have” liability protection, he said.