vaccines and corruption in the FDA
pharmaceutical companies and risks of childhood immunizations

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Conflict of Interest and Vaccine Development

In August 1999, the Committee on Government Reform initiated an investigation into Federal vaccine policy.1 This investigation focused on possible conflicts of interest on the part of federal policy-makers. The Committee conducted an extensive review of financial disclosure forms and related documents, and interviewed key officials from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In the course of the investigation, the committee discovered that many individuals serving on two key advisory committees had financial ties to the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture vaccines. Often, these individuals were granted waivers to fully participate in the discussions that led to recommendations on vaccine licensing and adding vaccines to the Childhood Immunization Schedule.

Under federal law, members of advisory committees are required to disclose any financial conflicts of interest and recuse themselves from participating in decisions in which they have an interest. The Committee's investigation determined that conflict of interest rules employed by the FDA and the CDC were weak, enforcement was lax, and committee members with substantial ties to pharmaceutical companies had been given waivers to participate in committee proceedings.

The Committee noted several specific problems, including:

Regarding the FDA and CDC approval of the controversial rotavirus vaccine in 1998 and 1999:

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  1. Subject: [paracelsus] Conflicts of Interest in Vaccine Development; Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2000 19:40:45 -0700; From: Sara Klein Ridgley (; To: paracelsus (

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Program Director, Continuum Center for Health and Healing,
Beth Israel Hospital / Albert Einstein School of Medicine

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