Tag Archives: Gus Nossal

More re conflicts of interest and ‘the science of immunisation’…

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Since December 2012 I have sought potential conflict of interest disclosures for academics associated with the Australian Academy of Science publication “The Science of Immunisation: Questions and Answers”.

See my previous posts on this subject published in May 2013 and August 2013.

On 12 November 2013, I forwarded another email on this matter to Professor Suzanne Cory, President of the Australian Academy of Science, saying:

Professor Cory

Re my previous questions about possible conflicts of interest of members of the Academy’s Science of Immunisation Working Group and Oversight Committee, and my request for disclosure statements.  (Refer to email thread below.)

It is now nearly a year since I forwarded my first enquiry to you in December 2012.

In the interests of transparency and accountability, I suggest any potential conflicts of interest of members of the Working Group and Oversight Committee should be disclosed on the Academy’s Immunisation webpage: http://www.science.org.au/policy/immunisation.html   I believe this would be in accordance with The Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, in particular sections 4.9 “Disclose research support accurately” and 7.2 “Conflicts of interest”: http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/_files_nhmrc/publications/attachments/r39.pdf

I have also copied the incoming President of the Academy, Professor Andrew Holmes, in this email.

Professor Cory, given the inordinate delay, I request your urgent email response on this matter.

Yours sincerely

Elizabeth Hart

On 14 November 2013, I received the following response from Dr Martin Callinan, Director Science Policy Section of the Australian Academy of Science:

Hi Elizabeth,

Thanks for your email. As discussed, including when we most recently spoke, the Academy is in the process of establishing Register of Interests to cover all our activities. Involving database, website and management system upgrades, this process has been underway for more than a year. We anticipate it being operational in March 2014. As with almost all non-government, not-for-profit organisations, our infrastructure is modest, dated and resources are increasingly scarce. We do our best.

In response to your first email, I quite agreed with you about transparency and current standards. At any one time, we have many projects and activities underway that involve 100+ Fellows and experts, all of whom contribute their time on a pro bono basis. I can assure you we are addressing our organisational need for due disclosure. It is a large systematic process being undertaken with available resources. As promised, as soon as I have a publication date I’ll give you a call to let you know in advance.

regards

martin

The lack of transparency to date on potential conflicts of interest of academics involved in Australian Academy of Science projects and activities is a serious omission.

As we are now approaching the end of January 2014, it will be interesting to see if the Australian Academy of Science’s ‘register of interests’ will finally be operational in March 2014.

 

UPDATE: Conflicts of interest and ‘the science of immunisation’

hBack in May I outlined my correspondence with the Australian Academy of Science requesting disclosure statements for people associated with the publication “The Science of Immunisation: Questions and Answers”.

Martin Callinan, Science Policy Manager of the Australian Academy of Science, had contacted me to advise this matter was going to be addressed.  However, it is now August, and still there are no disclosure statements on the Academy’s website.

In the interests of transparency and accountability, it is important that potential conflicts of interest of academics working in the areas of vaccine development and vaccination policy are on the public record. 

Academics involved with the Academy’s The Science of Immunisation publication are influential on the Australian government’s vaccination policy.  For example, Professor Terry Nolan is Chair of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (ATAGI).  Professor Peter McIntyre is an ex-officio member of ATAGI.  (It is notable that the identity of members of ATAGI was not accessible to the public in 2011.  I raised this matter in an email to then Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon on 26 November 2011, also requesting that details of any links with the pharmaceutical industry (e.g. research funding) should be publicly listed.  While a list of members of ATAGI and their professional affiliations was subsequently published on the ATAGI website, there are still no disclosure statements listed.  I also raised this matter with Federal Minister Health Minister Tanya Plibersek in an email dated 23 July 2012.)

From other sources, I am aware that Professor Ian Frazer receives royalties from the sale of HPV vaccines in the developed world, and that Dr Julie Leask is a member of the advisory group for The Vaccine Confidence Project, a project which monitors negative commentary about vaccination.

I suggest these and any other potential conflicts of interest of members of the Science of Immunisation Working Group and Oversight Committee should be disclosed on the Academy’s Immunisation webpage.  I believe this would be in accordance with The Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, in particular sections 4.9 “Disclose research support accurately” and 7.2 “Conflicts of interest”.

In this regard, see below my recent follow-up correspondence to Professor Suzanne Cory, President of the Australian Academy of Science.

____________________________________

From: Elizabeth Hart <eliz.hart25@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, Aug 18, 2013 at 5:06 PM
Subject: Conflicts of interest and ‘the science of immunisation’

Professor Cory

Re my email to you dated 16 May 2013 (below) following up on progress on the Australian Academy of Science’s ‘Central Register of Interests’.

Looking at the Academy’s webpage on Immunisation, there is still no disclosure information about members of the Working Group and Oversight Committee for the publication “The Science of Immunisation: Questions and Answers”: http://science.org.au/policy/immunisation.html

From other sources, I am aware that Professor Ian Frazer receives royalties from the sale of HPV vaccines in the developed world[1], and that Dr Julie Leask is a member of the advisory group for The Vaccine Confidence Project, a project which monitors negative commentary about vaccination.[2] [3] [4][5]

In the interests of transparency and accountability, I suggest these and any other potential conflicts of interest of members of the Working Group and Oversight Committee should be disclosed on the Academy’s Immunisation webpage.  I believe this would be in accordance with The Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, in particular sections 4.9 “Disclose research support accurately” and 7.2 “Conflicts of interest”:  http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/_files_nhmrc/publications/attachments/r39.pdf

Given the time that has elapsed since my first enquiry to you in December 2012, I request your urgent response on this matter.

Sincerely

Elizabeth Hart

References:


[1] Ian Frazer. Catch cancer? No thanks, I’d rather have a shot! The Conversation, 10 July 2012:http://theconversation.com/catch-cancer-no-thanks-id-rather-have-a-shot-7568

[2] The Vaccine Confidence Project Advisory Group: http://www.vaccineconfidence.org/advisorygroup.html

[3] Larson, HJ et al. Measuring vaccine confidence: analysis of data obtained by a media surveillance system used to analyse public concerns about vaccines. Published online May 13, 2013:http://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(13)70108-7/abstract?rss=yes

[4] ‘Big Brother’ tracks anti-vax sentiment. 6minutes, 16 May 2013:http://www.6minutes.com.au/news/latest-news/%E2%80%98big-brother-tracks-anti-vax-sentiment

[5] Monitoring system to globally track false social media claims on dangers of vaccines. The Daily Telegraph, 13 May 2013:http://www.news.com.au/technology/monitoring-system-to-globally-track-false-social-media-claims-on-dangers-of-vaccines/story-e6frfrnr-1226640823800

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Elizabeth Hart <eliz.hart25@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, May 16, 2013 at 12:25 PM
Subject: Conflicts of interest and ‘the science of immunisation’

Professor Cory

Re my previous questions about possible conflicts of interest of members of the Academy’s Science of Immunisation Working Group and Oversight Committee, and my request for disclosure statements, as detailed in my emails addressed to:

During my recent discussion with Dr Martin Callinan, the Academy’s Science Policy Manager, he advised me a ‘Central Register of Interests’ is going to be established in light of my requests, but was unable to advise me when this register will be accessible to the public.  As discussed with Dr Callinan, I would appreciate an update when the register is available.

Also, for your information, I have included an update about this matter on my over-vaccination website, under the title Conflicts of interest and ‘the science of immunisation’, which can be accessed via this link: http://bit.ly/13yef1a

As the people involved in the Academy’s Science of Immunisation Working Group and Oversight Committee are very influential in the areas of vaccine development and vaccination policy, I suggest transparency on this matter is of the utmost importance and well overdue.

I look forward to hearing from you about public access to the Academy’s Central Register of Interests in due course.

Sincerely

Elizabeth Hart

https://over-vaccination.net/

Challenging Big Pharma’s lucrative over-vaccination of people and animals

Conflicts of interest and ‘the science of immunisation’

In November 2012 the Australian Academy of Science entered the vaccination fray with its publication “The Science of Immunisation: Questions and Answers

As the Australian Academy of Science has taken it upon itself to engage in this matter, it can expect to be held accountable.

For example, I have forwarded emails to Sir Gus Nossal, Chair of the Oversight Committee for “The Science of Immunisation: Questions and Answers”, enquiring if disclosure statements for members of The Science of Immunisation Working group, i.e. detailing any possible conflicts of interest, are publicly available on the Australian Academy of Science website. (January 2013.)

My emails to Sir Gus Nossal also include reference to discussion threads relevant to the topic of vaccination on the university and CSIRO funded The Conversation website.

On 5 March 2013, I forwarded another email to Professor Suzanne Cory, President of the Australian Academy of Science, again requesting disclosure statements for people associated with The Science of Immunisation: Questions and Answers.  

In response to my email to Professor Cory, Martin Callinan, Science Policy Manager of the Australian Academy of Science, contacted me to advise the Academy is now going to address this matter.

On 13 May 2013, I contacted Dr Callinan to check on progress.  Dr Callinan advised that a ‘Central Register of Interests’ is going to be established, but was unable to advise when the register would be accessible to the public.  Dr Callinan indicated that a media release is likely to be published when the Academy’s new Central Register of Interests is available.

Developments on this matter are awaited with interest.  It’s about time the public was privy to the potential conflicts of interest of academics working in the areas of vaccine development and vaccination policy.

For information, members of the Australian Academy of Science’s Science of Immunisation Working Group are:

  • Professor Ian Frazer (Co-Chair)
  • Professor Tony Basten (Co-Chair)
  • Professor Francis Carbone
  • Professor Patrick Holt
  • Dr Julie Leask
  • Professor Peter McIntyre
  • Professor Terry Nolan
  • Professor Judith Whitworth

Members of the Science of Immunisation Oversight Committee are:

  • Sir Gus Nossal (Chair)
  • Professor Ian Gust
  • Professor Fiona Stanley
  • Professor Robert Williamson