I come from the world of "Big Pharma." The pharmaceutical industry has made life-changing discoveries, for which I have praised it, and also engaged in some shady business practices, for which I have criticized it.
But even the worst imaginable practices by the industry pale by comparison to the reprehensible behavior of dietary supplements companies that are trying to earn a buck - many bucks, really - from the exploitation of unfounded vaccination fears of parents. By peddling products that would normally be merely useless as a remedy for a concern that is not a real concern, these companies have rightly earned the term "Two-headed snake oil salesmen." Nutritional supplements to protect kids from vaccines - perhaps a new low. And they can be bought on Amazon and eBay.
Take the Liddell Laboratories. It sells "Liddell's Homeopathic Anti-Tox Vaccine."
What benefits can you expect to get for $15.24 per ounce? Here are some of the company's claims.
"Relieves the symptoms and counters the ill-effects - not the therapeutic effects - of oral or injected vaccines. Minor fever. Pain. Redness. Swelling. Weakness. Lack of energy. "
Why this sounds almost magical. A bottle of water that is so sophisticated that it can discern the "good" and "bad" effects that any vaccine may impart to your immune system.
"Detox Vaccines combines low potency remedies for symptomatic relief and high potency remedies that work at a deeper level to antidote the ill-effects of present and past vaccinations."
This is some fairly typical homeopathy claptrap language - the nonsensical concept that highly dilute solutions have some magical power that more concentrated solutions lack. The use of "antidote" as a verb is somewhat intriguing as well.
"Detox Vaccines is the safe, effective way to take care of your vaccination concerns."
Here's the money shot. The company is sending the message that vaccines are inherently risky, but its product will make them safe enough to use nonetheless. Talk about scummy! Raise an unwarranted fear and then sell some fairy dust to allay the fear.
Image: Long Beach State Store
Given the existence of this Anti-Tox Vaccine, it would not be unexpected for Liddell Laboratories to sell other ethically challenged products. It does, including homeopathic "remedies" for electromagnetic radiation, chemical detox, air pollution, and, believe it or not...
Other fine Liddell products. Curiously, there is no remedy for poor free-throw shooting.
Then there's this by WellFuture:
- Nutritional support for infants and kids during vaccination
- Created by a naturopathic doctor and mother
The language in the product description is crafty:
"Millions of people use vitamins and nutritional supplements to boost immunity and overall health in a variety of situations –airplane travel, cold season, high stress times, and any situations that put extra strain on the body’s health."
Perhaps they do, but is there any evidence that the supplements work? Perhaps not.
"Statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition."
Which is why they don't work.
"Similarly, parents want a way to support their children’s health during immunizations. VacciShield is an easy to use supplement that will support your child’s health during the time of vaccinations."
How does one interpret this statement? It seems to imply that there is a threat to your children during times of vaccination and that VacciShield will help them through these otherwise-perilous occasions. A poisonous message.
Finally, there's this from All Things Detox. There's not kidding around. These guys sell a professional formula.
Here are the "active ingredients"
As one would expect from typical homeopathic nonsense, the "active" ingredients, for example, Calcarea (a sea sponge) and Echinacea, are found in such high dilution (red boxes) that there aren't any of the ingredients remaining in the bottle, which makes no difference, since they are useless anyhow. More interestingly, there are vaccines for 17 different pathogens in the bottle (green boxes). Except they aren't really in there for the same reason - high dilution. Yet these non-existent vaccine components are supposed to counteract the deleterious side effects of 17 real vaccines? Please.
Strangely, there is something in the bottle that is pharmacologically active, even though it is listed as an inactive ingredient.
Which leads to a rather existential question. Since wine has an alcoholic content of about 10% if your kid accidentally drinks the whole bottle (2 ounces) will he or she get a buzz? And since in the bizarro world of homeopathy, the more dilute the solution the stronger the effect. So, suppose a parent makes an error and dilutes the product with water, hence making stronger? It is then reasonable to conclude that you might end with a kid suffering from a dangerous underdose of alcohol. These things can have consequences.
The photo of the baby may be humorous, but the tactics of these companies are anything but. They are exploiting unfounded parental fears during a time when barely a day goes by without news of an outbreak measles or mumps outbreak somewhere. Some fools may be dead set against vaccinating their kids regardless of medical evidence. But for those who may be sitting on the fence, the fact that this kind of garbage is sold at all may nudge them into making the wrong decision.
Nauseating. No legitimate drug company, regardless of what you think they may have done, would stoop this low.