Scientist Critical of HPV Vaccine Censored from Commenting on NIH Website

As an employee of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), it is certainly within Dr. Mark Schiffman’s job description to write articles promoting human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines. After all, his employer owns patents on HPV vaccine production technologies and receives licensing fees from the sales of HPV vaccines. The HPV vaccine, Gardasil, based largely on technology developed at NIH and produced by Merck & Co., was approved by the FDA in June 2006. The NIH, funded by taxpayers, also maintains a forum for scientific discourse, called PubMed Commons which hopefully “will leverage the social power of the internet to encourage constructive criticism and high-quality discussions of scientific issues that will both enhance understanding and provide new avenues of collaboration within the community”. In December 2016, Dr. Schiffman and a few industry-paid consultants published an article titled “Carcinogenic human papillomavirus infection.” Dr. Lee responded to Dr. Schiffman saying: "Dr. Schiffman’s responses to my initial comment on the Primer needs a rebuttal to point out its misleading and obfuscating statements." Almost immediately, the discussion was effectively shut down by the removal of Dr. Lee’s comments. Does this not seem like a gross violation of the public trust in an organization such as NIH which has promised to ‘encourage constructive criticism and high-quality discussions of scientific issues’?

To Silence Political Dissent, IRS Issues New Rule to Censor Free Speech on Health Issues

ANH-USA could be targeted—along with your right to political representation. In May 2013, the IRS was caught illegally discriminating against Tea Party groups applying for 501(c)4 nonprofit status. In the wake of the scandal, the IRS worked to eliminate illegal censorship of political dissent—by attempting to legalize it. On Black Friday, under cover of a day when no one follows the news, the IRS issued proposed rules to severely restrict the activities of 501(c)4 nonprofit organizations such as ANH-USA. These rules would place strict limitations on speech, eliminate your voice in the political process, and put consumer advocacy nonprofits like ANH-USA under a gag order, leaving powerful private interests and their government allies free to operate in secret. In short, the new IRS rules are an egregious violation of the First Amendment. Without 501(c)4s—organizations that pool the resources of many like-minded individuals—the only remaining political influences will be the huge industries (Big Pharma, Big Agro, and Big Biotech included), unions, and other special interests that can afford to make enormous contributions and hire expensive lobbyists. The IRS has no business in politics. Tell the agency to rescind this political gag order and protect the right of political dissenters and organizations that represent individuals like you!

As State-sanctioned Licensing Boards Continue to Proliferate, the Trend of Limiting Free Speech is Increasing

State licensing boards are trying to prevent unlicensed citizens from even talking about certain subjects. As these state-sanctioned licensing boards continue to proliferate, the trend of limiting free speech is increasing—almost without exception as a tool for the board to protect the professional turf of licensed practitioners. In the 1950s, only one in twenty US workers needed government permission—for that is what licensure is—to pursue their chosen occupation. Today, it is closer to one in three. Yet there is little evidence that licensing protects public health and safety or improves products and services. It does, however, increase consumer costs and reduce opportunities for workers.

Vaccine Risk Denialism Threatens Censorship on Dangers of Vaccines

British and American researchers have created software to monitor online articles critical of vaccinations in 144 countries. The purpose of this software is reportedly "to create a rapid response to anti-vaccine sentiment." Barbara Loe Fisher of the National Vaccine Information Center discusses how public access to vaccine risk information is being restricted, and that vaccine injuries and deaths are covered up.

FDA Presumes Itself Omniscient and Consumers Ignorant

Do you think you are intelligent enough to decide for yourself the relative worth of scientific findings concerning the disease treatment and risk reduction effects of nutrients and foods? The FDA thinks you are not and that it must decide such questions for you in the first instance. Indeed, the FDA bans from the grocery store, the health food store, and online all commercial claims associating a food or nutrient with disease, regardless of whether the claims are supported by science. That broad prior restraint on speech contradicts the very premise of the First Amendment.