During a BBC interview in December 2021, Bourla claimed youngsters aged 5 to 11 benefited from vaccination but the pharmaceutical watchdog said the remarks misled the public and that Bourla made unsubstantiated claims. Pfizer appealed the decision but it was upheld. This interview which misled the public and contains misinformation is still available on BBC’s website.
On Thursday, UsForThem published an article on Substack describing how they held Pfizer to account for misleading parents about covid “vaccine” safety.
UsforThem is a UK parents’ group that believes children must be placed front and centre in all decisions impacting them. They have endured censorship tactics in an attempt to shut them down, such as PayPal suspending their account in September last year.
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In September 2021, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (“JCVI”), had advised against a mass roll-out for children aged 12-15, saying the “margin of benefit” was “considered too small.” It was not until February 2022 that the JCVI ruled that children aged 5-11 could be offered the “vaccine.”
On 2 December 2021, BBC published a video interview and an accompanying article under the headline ‘Pfizer boss: Annual Covid jabs for years to come’.
The tone, content and means of dissemination of this article and the associated video were extremely promotional in nature. And Pfizer made the most of it to promote the uptake of its “vaccine.”
As the BBC’s strapline suggests, the key message relayed by Bourla, responding to a leading question from BBC’s medical editor, Fergus Walsh, was that many more injections would need to be bought and administered to maintain high levels of protection in the UK. He was speaking shortly before the UK Government bought another 54 million doses of Pfizer’s injections.
Among his encouragements for the UK to order more of his company’s injections, Bourla commented emphatically about the merits of vaccinating children under 12 years of age, saying “[So] there is no doubt in my mind that the benefits, completely are in favour of doing it [vaccinating 5 to 11-year-olds in the UK and Europe]”.
He made no mention of risks or potential adverse events, nor indeed the weighing of any factors other than apparent benefits.
Soon after the interview aired, UsForThem submitted a complaint to the UK’s Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority (“PMCPA”). PMCPA is responsible for regulating the promotion of prescription medicines. The complaint cited the overtly promotional nature of the BBC’s reports and challenged the compliance of Bourla’s comments about children with the “apparently” strict rules governing the promotion of medicines in the UK.
More than a year later, following a lengthy assessment process and an equally lengthy appeal by Pfizer of the PMCPA’s initial damning findings, the complaint and all of the PMCPA’s findings were made public in a case report published on the regulator’s website.
In November 2022 an appeal board met to consider their arguments. The breaches of the code relating to misleading the public, making unsubstantiated claims and the lack of balance were upheld.
But, according to The Telegraph, the “more serious” of the PMCPA’s initial 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.
Although some aspects of UsForThem’s complaint were not upheld on appeal, importantly an industry-appointed appeal board affirmed the PMCPA’s original findings that Bourla’s comments on vaccinating 5 to 11-year-olds were promotional, and were both misleading and incapable of substantiation in relation to the safety of vaccinating that age group.
The interview remains available on the BBC’s website, despite the PMCPA in effect having characterised it as “misinformation” as far as vaccinating children is concerned.
A brief look at the PMCPA’s complaints log confirms that Pfizer has been found to have broken the UK medicines advertising rules in relation to its Covid vaccine a further four times since 2020. Astonishingly, though, for their breaches in this most recent case, and in each of the other cases decided against it, neither Pfizer nor Bourla will suffer any meaningful penalty – the PMCPA will have levied a small administrative charge to cover the cost of administering each complaint.
The PMCPA, the key UK regulator in this area, operates as a division of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, the UK industry’s trade body. It is therefore a regulator funded by, and which exists only by the will of, the companies whose behaviour it is charged with overseeing.
The UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in principle has jurisdiction to hold the BBC accountable for what seems likely to have been mirroring breaches of the medicines advertising rules when it broadcast and promoted Bourla’s comments, but no action has yet been taken.
Read the full article by UsForThem HERE.
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