Kansas has sued Pfizer for intentionally misleading the public about the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine. The state’s attorney general has detailed several grievances regarding Pfizer’s profit motives and attempts to bypass accountability from the government and/or the public.

The suit alleges that Pfizer said the vaccine was safe but knew about serious adverse effects, including “myocarditis and pericarditis, failed pregnancies, and deaths.” The complaint says that Pfizer withheld this critical safety information from the public.

The suit also contains the following grievances concerning Pfizer’s messaging about the mRNA vaccines.

–       Pfizer said it was effective, despite knowing about the waning immunity.

–       Pfizer said the vaccine would prevent transmission, but never conducted studies to prove

         that statement.

–       Pfizer censored truthful speech on social media platforms that questioned the safety and

         effectiveness of the vaccine.

–       Pfizer earned a “record company revenue of approximately $75 billion from COVID-19

         vaccine sales in just two years.”

–       Pfizer violated the Kansas Consumer Protection Act

The lawsuit complaint also says, “Pfizer must be held accountable for falsely representing the benefits of its COVID-19 vaccine while concealing and suppressing the truth about its vaccine’s safety risks, waning effectiveness, and inability to prevent transmission.”

The complaint details that Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla chose not to participate in Operation Warp Speed to avoid government scrutiny in the manufacturing process. A quote from Bourla is included in which he stated “But the reason why I did it was because I wanted to liberate our scientists from any bureaucracy. When you get money from someone that always comes with strings. They want to see how we are going to progress, what type of moves you are going to do. They want reports. I didn’t want to have any of that.”

The suit says that Pfizer was able to get a “tailor-made” contract because it worked independently from Operation Warp Speed. This allowed the company to “forgo the taxpayer protection clauses found in most government contracts that fund inventions.” Pfizer stood to lose $1.5 to $2 billion if the vaccine did not receive approval from the government.

The complaint alleges that CEO Bourla engaged in a sort of insider trading scheme that allowed him to make $5.6 million from the sale of Pfizer stock shortly after the vaccine’s approval. The same day, Pfizer announced that the vaccine was 90% effective, which caused stock prices to increase significantly.

The Kansas attorneys described the messaging that the vaccine was “developed in the spotlight” and that the company “followed the science” while keeping the public informed. Despite these statements, the Kansas lawyers allege that Pfizer concealed the data through government confidentiality agreements.

CEO Bourla and Pfizer board member Scott Gottlieb included several statements to show how the company promoted the product as preventing transmission. Gottlieb is also the former FDA commissioner from the Trump administration. The complaint described how Pfizer partnered with Marvel to make an Avengers comic book to promote COVID-19 vaccination. One character said, “Everyday heroes don’t wear capes! But they wear a small bandage on their upper arm after getting their latest COVID-19 vaccination because everyday heroes are concerned about their health.”

Gottlieb messaged Twitter about an article by Alex Berenson that was critical of Dr. Anthony Fauci. He told Twitter that the promotion of articles like this is the reason why Fauci needs security guards. On August 27, 2021, Gottlieb spoke with Twitter employees on a conference call. The following day, Berenson’s account was banned.

The former assistant secretary for health, Dr. Brett Giroir, posted on Twitter that natural immunity is better than immunity provided by the vaccine. Once again, Gottlieb stepped in by messaging Twitter over concerns that this “corrosive” post would go viral. Twitter affixed a “misinformation” label to Giroir’s post, preventing users from sharing the tweet.

The complaint goes on to list previous consent judgments ruled against Pfizer in three different cases for Celebrex (2008), Lyrica (2012), and Rapamune (2014). The lawsuit alleges Pfizer violated the terms in these consent judgments and has asked $20,000 in relief for each violation.

The appendix and exhibits include a letter from Pfizer denying the allegations the Kansas Attorney General’s office laid out. Pfizer said in the letter that all statements from the company are consistent with FDA and CDC guidance. The letter struck back and accused the Attorney General’s accusations to be misleading.

The letter said, “Focusing on adverse events in the absence of causal association and without the perspective of countervailing benefits is a great disservice to both individuals and public health. Like every other medical intervention, there are adverse effects from vaccination. Serious adverse events from COVID-19 vaccines are rare and are far outweighed by the benefits of these vaccines for every age group.”

The letter continues by saying Pfizer was upfront about the myocarditis and pericarditis risks associated with the vaccine. Still, the federal health agencies have deemed the benefits far outweigh the risks. Pfizer used the CDC recommendations for pregnant women as evidence that they did not mislead the public about the risks of pregnancy complications.

They laid out the CDC statements regarding the harms of COVID-19 infection on pregnant women, which indicates it is safer for pregnant women to get the vaccine rather than not.

The Informed Consent Action Network (ICAN) sued Pfizer so the documents regarding the vaccine’s safety profile could be released within 2 years rather than the 75 years the company stated would be necessary. Naomi Wolf joined Del Bigtree on The HighWire to lay out the information that Pfizer had when they publicly spoke about the vaccine’s safety and efficacy. The Pfizer documents produced can be found here.

Despite that, Pfizer is clinging to the idea that the FDA and CDC statements support the safety and efficacy of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Since the product has support from federal health agencies, Pfizer argues they are not in violation for making misleading or false public statements.

The HighWire has previously reported on concerns related to a revolving door between pharmaceutical companies and public health agencies.

 

 

 

 

Steven Middendorp

Steven Middendorp is an investigative journalist, musician, and teacher. He has been a freelance writer and journalist for over 20 years. More recently, he has focused on issues dealing with corruption and negligence in the judicial system. He is a homesteading hobby farmer who encourages people to grow their own food, eat locally, and care for the land that provides sustenance to the community.

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