The following article is the third of three excerpts from a report, WHO, Pharma, Gates & Government: Who’s Calling the Shots?, which was published by the National Vaccine Information Center on Jan. 29, 2019.
The Gates Foundation was established in 2000 by Microsoft Corporation founder Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda.70 Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, the Gates Foundation is the largest philanthropic foundation in the world with a $43.5 billion trust that makes grant payments of more than $3 billion annually to advance the foundation’s goals for reforming education systems, such as institution of Common Core curriculum in all U.S. schools,71 and funding public health initiatives, primarily global vaccination programs.72 A major goal of the Gates Foundation is to make sure every child in the world is vaccinated.73
Investor businessman Warren Buffet, who took control of textile manufacturer Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. in 1965 and went on to amass a personal fortune of more than $60 billion, pledged $31 billion and became a co-director of Gates Foundation in 2006.74
In 1998, the same year that the U.S. Department of Justice filed an anti-trust lawsuit against Microsoft Corporation,75 Bill and Melinda Gates committed $100 million to create the Bill & Melinda Gates Children’s Vaccine Program. One purpose of that program was to establish an international consensus on vaccine use recommendations: “Efforts will be made to support international conferences and the development and dissemination of strong international consensus statements and recommendations for the use of the new vaccines.”76
The homepage of the Gates Foundation proclaims ALL LIVES HAVE EQUAL VALUE and states:
We believe we can save lives by delivering the latest in science and technology to those with the greatest needs. We work with partners to provide effective vaccines, drugs and diagnostics and to develop innovative approaches to deliver health services to those who need it most. And we invest heavily in developing new vaccines to prevent infectious diseases that impose the greatest burden.77
In 2016, Global Justice Now published an investigative report, Gated Development: Is the Gates Foundation always a force for good? Authors were critical of the unchecked political power and influence on global health programs and agricultural policies of Bill Gates and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF):
To say that the BMGF has become an important actor in international development would be an understatement. When it comes to global health and agriculture policies, two of its key grant areas, the BMGF has become probably the most influential actor in the world. It is also likely that Bill Gates, who has regular access to world leaders and is in effect personally bankrolling hundreds of universities, international organisations, NGOs and media outlets, has become the single most influential voice in international development.78
But the BMGF’s increasing global influence is not being subjected to democratic scrutiny. Unlike governments, which are formally accountable to their electorates, the BMGF is a private US foundation, and remains unaccountable to public bodies (except for tax reporting purposes). Even worse, the BMGF appears to have bought the silence of academics, NGOs and the media who might otherwise be expected to criticize aspects of the foundation’s work.78
Money Makes the World Go Around
Congress appropriated nearly $90 billion to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2018 and the biggest line item in the CDC’s $11 billion budget was the Vaccines for Children program (VFC) ($4.5 billion), which was created by Congress in 1993.79 Under the VFC program, the federal government purchases CDC recommended vaccines from vaccine manufacturers to administer to children who are on Medicaid, are uninsured or whose health insurance plans do not fully cover CDC recommended vaccines.80 81 Hundreds of millions of dollars are additionally allocated in the HHS budget for vaccination programs, including $700 million for the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
One of the most politically powerful public-private partnerships in the world today is the lucrative one that has been forged by the pharmaceutical industry with government,82 83 84 85 86 mainstream media87 and wealthy philanthropic foundations with political agendas.88 89
In the past decade, these public private partnerships have come under scrutiny by public policy analysts. In 2015, authors of a special report published by the Global Policy Forum observed:
However, it is not only “big business” but also “big philanthropy” that has an increasing influence in global development policy, particularly large philanthropic foundations. The scope of their influence in both past and present discourse and decision-making processes is fully equal, and in some cases goes beyond that of other private actors. Through the sheer size of their grant-making, personal networking and active advocacy, large global foundations, most notably the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have played an increasingly active role in shaping the agenda-setting and funding priorities of international organizations and governments.90
For example, the Gates Foundation has given Johns Hopkins more than $100 million in research grants since 2015, including for vaccine development and promotion.91 At the same time, Johns Hopkins University receives more than $2 billion per year in funding from U.S. government agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), to conduct research, including for vaccine development and vaccine use promotion.92
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other federal health agencies give millions of dollars in taxpayer dollars to academic institutions and vaccine manufacturers to improve vaccine technology, find new lucrative vaccine markets, and boost vaccine marketability.93 The U.S. government also partners with the Gates Foundation to develop and promote vaccine use.
For example, in 2013, the CDC Foundation received three grants totaling $13.5 million from the Gates Foundation to globally “advance the implementation” of meningitis and rotavirus vaccine programs.94 The Centers for Disease Control and the CDC Foundation have received more than $167 million from the Gates Foundation.95 Vaccine manufacturers have also received millions of dollars in grants from the Gates Foundation, including GlaxoSmithKline (over $50 million);96 Merck $1.4 million;97 Pfizer $16.5 million;98 and Sanofi Pasteur $3.6 million.99
Big Media: Under the Influence
Mass media corporations are also under the influence of Big Pharma and Big Philanthropy money. For example, National Public Radio has received $20 million in grants100 and Solutions Journalism Network has received $4 million101 in grants from the Gates Foundation. Recently, Gates’ Microsoft Corporation partnered with NewsGuard Technologies, Inc.,102 103 a new corporation that is rating websites and online publications to “fight false news, misinformation and disinformation.”104 105 106 The NewsGuard corporation is also collaborating with other corporations, such as Google,107 108 which owns over 90 percent of the Internet search market.109
One of the biggest investors in NewsGuard is Publicis, the oldest advertising company in the world and the third largest mass communications company today.110 Publicis is paid billions of dollars by pharmaceutical companies to market vaccines,111 including a $1.5B media contract with GlaxoSmithKline.112 PDI, a Publicis health company states:
Vaccination coverage in the United State is high, but in the face of the resurgence of vaccine-preventable diseases such as pertussis and measles, the existing gaps in the vaccination coverage of the US population have become worrisome. Gaps exist because not every patient who needs a vaccination gets it at the recommended age. Moreover, the recommendations for new vaccines, including vaccines for influenza and human papillomavirus (HPV), have been expanded…
PDI’s field-based medical sales representatives and inside medical sales representatives from our healthcare contact center can increase adoption of vaccines by responding to questions and concerns…To increase immunization rates, we must build sustainable systems for vaccination within the context of a changing healthcare system. Here some recommended steps toward achieving this goal: assessment of the actual vaccination rate in a provider’s practice; consistently making recommendations for timely vaccinations to both the parents of pediatric patients and adult patients; standing orders for non-physician personnel to carry out vaccinations at the scheduled time without physician involvement; educating physicians on emerging research of vaccine risks, and on how to interact with parents who are concerned about the detrimental effects of the MMR and HPV vaccines; and educating physicians about state-sponsored and other programs that can help patients overcome financial barriers to vaccination.113
It is clear that mass media communications today is being controlled by corporations financially tied to pharmaceutical companies and influenced by powerful political institutions in society. It goes a long way to explaining why mainstream media outlets have been nearly united in attacking parents and physicians who defend the ethical principle of informed consent, including informed consent to vaccination, and are calling for vaccine exemptions to be severely restricted or eliminated.114
The five largest companies in the world today are Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook.115 These and other technology corporations dominate online communications and sales and are positioned to join together to aggressively market vaccines and promote “no exceptions” vaccine use policies endorsed by the WHO and governments. The threat to autonomy and freedom of thought and speech posed by these companies, especially in censoring online public conversations about vaccination and health, is considerable.116 117
The People are Not Represented
Today, everybody knows somebody who was healthy, got vaccinated and was never healthy again. The people, whose lives are being impacted by business deals between governments, Big Pharma and Big Philanthropy, increasingly are being marginalized in the top down public policymaking process by wealthy and powerful institutions in society financing the global multi-billion dollar vaccine industry.118 This is evident when the people raise their voices to ask for better vaccine science and more humane public health policies and are demonized, discriminated against and punished by those in control of those wealthy and powerful institutions.
A system that will not bend will break. The responsibility for the crisis of trust in the global vaccination system lies squarely at the feet of those who operate the system and refuse to acknowledge the suffering of the people harmed by vaccines.
The rest of this report, WHO, Pharma, Gates & Government: Who’s Calling the Shots?, can be read here on NVIC’s main website.
70 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Fact Sheet: Who We Are. January 2019.
71 Pullman J. Bill Gates Tacitly Admits His Common Core Experiment Was a Failure. The Federalist Oct. 25, 2017.
72 Mathiesen K. What is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation? The Guardian Mar. 16, 2015.
73 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. First Global Vaccine Summit Highlights Remarkable Progress Towards Vaccinating Every Child. Apr. 23, 2013.
74 Encyclopedia Britannica. Warren Buffet.
75 Beattie A. Why Did Microsoft Face Anti-trust Charges in 1998? Investopedia May 18, 2018.
76 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Bill and Melinda Gates Announce a $100 Million Gift to Establish the Bill and Melinda Gates Children’s Vaccine Program. December 1998.
77 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Gates Foundation website homepage. January 2019.
78 Curtis M. Gated Justice: Is the Gates Foundation always a force for good? Global Justice Now January 2016.
79 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. HHS FY2018 Budget in Brief – CDC. Office of Budget May 23, 2017.
80 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC. Vaccines for Children Program (VFC). CDC.gov May 25, 2018.
81 CDC. Vaccines for Children’s Program (VFC) CDC Vaccine Price List. CDC.gov Jan. 2, 2019.
82 National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Public Private Partnerships. NIAID.NIH.gov.
83 Perry S. Revelations of CDC’s industry funding raise questions about some of its decisions. MinnPost May 28, 2015.
84 Biotechnology Industry Organization. BIO Praises Vaccine Access, Certainty, and Innovation Act of 2015.BIO Press Release Feb. 6, 2015. List of BIO members, including AstraZeneca, BioCSL, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, MedImmune, Merck, Monsanto, Novartis, Pfizer, Sanofi Pasteur.
85 Hilzik M. The 21st Century Cures Act: A huge handout to the drug industry disguised as a pro-research bounty. Los Angeles Times Dec. 5, 2016.
86 National Vaccine Information Center. National Vaccine Information Center Calls 21st Century Cures Act “A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” and Urges Presidential Veto to Protect Public Health. Business Wire Dec. 8, 2016.
87 Rein L. Public relations and advertising are a ‘black box’ in government spending. The Washington Post Oct. 14, 2015.
88 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Bill and Melinda Gates Pledge $10 Billion in Call for Decade of Vaccines. January 2010.
89 Belluz J. The media loves the Gates Foundation. These experts are more skeptical. Vox June 10, 2015.
90 Martens J, Seitz K. Philanthropic Power and Development: Who Shapes the Agenda? Global Policy Forum November 2015.
91 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Awarded research grants to Johns Hopkins University through 2018.
92 Charuchandra S. Johns Hopkins leads all U.S. universities in research spending for 38th year in a row. Johns Hopkins University Mar. 23, 2018.
93 The Vaccine Reaction Staff. How NIH Uses U.S. Tax Dollars to Secure Profits for Vaccine Developers and Manufacturers. The Vaccine Reaction May 2, 2018.
94 CDC Foundation. CDC Foundation Receives Three Grants Totaling $13.5 Million for Meningitis and Rotavirus Global Advancements. Dec. 17, 2013.
95 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Awarded research grants to Centers for Disease Control or CDC Foundation (2009 or before – 2018).
96 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Awarded research grants to GlaxoSmithKline (2011-2018).
97 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Awarded research grants to Merck (2013 and 2017).
98 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Awarded research grant to Pfizer (2016).
99 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Awarded research grants to Sanofi Pasteur (2012 and 2015).
100 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Awarded grants to National Public Radio (2009 or before – 2018).
101 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Awarded grants to Solutions Journalism Network, Inc. (2014-2018).
102 Fischer S. NewsGuard launches first product with help from Microsoft. Axios Aug. 23, 2018.
103 Burt T. Defending against disinformation in partnership with NewsGuard Microsoft Aug. 23, 2018.
104 NewsGuard. Website Homepage of NewsGuard Technologies, Inc. and About Us: Why Should You Trust Us?
105 NewsGuard Technologies, Inc. Brill and Crovitz Announce Launch of NewsGuard to Fight Fake News. Mar. 5, 2018.
106 Morgan D. New venture aims to combat “fake news” on social media with warning labels. CBS News Mar. 5, 2018.
107 Abrams L. NewsGuard Browser Extension Aims to Alert You to Fake News Sites. Bleeping Computer Aug. 26, 2018.
108 Burt T. Defending against disinformation in partnership with NewsGuard Microsoft Aug. 23, 2018.
109 Andriole S. Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook Own Huge Market Shares = Technology Oligarchy. Forbes Sept. 26, 2018.
110 Publicis Groupe. Brill and Crovitz Announce Launch of NewsGuard to Fight Fake News. Global Newswire Mar. 3, 2018.
111 Publicis Groupe. 2017 Annual Results. Publicis Health (Novartis (USA), Genentech (USA), Shire (USA), Adapt (USA), AMAG (USA), Sunovion (USA), Clinigen Group (Global), Purdue (USA), Merck & Co (USA), Intarcia Therapeutics (USA), Flexion Therapeutics (USA), AbbVie (USA), Ipsen (USA), Emmaus Life Sciences (USA), Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical (USA), AcelRx Pharmaceuticals (USA), Merck KGaA (USA), Roche (UK), AstraZeneca (USA), Hospital Corporation of America (USA), Stryker Corporation (USA), Swanson Health Products (USA), Alcon Laboratories (USA), Boehringer Ingelheim (USA), Paratek Pharmaceuticals, Pfizer Inc. (USA), Biogen Inc. (USA), Galderma (Europe). Feb. 8, 2018.
112 Oster E. GSK Sends $1.5 Billion Media Account to Publicis. Ad Week Oct. 5, 2018.
113 PDIA Publicis Health Company. Pharmaceutical Sales Strategies for Vaccines.
114 State Vaccine Legislation in America 2015-2017. National Vaccine Information Center Oct. 25, 2017.
115 See Footnote 109.
116 Fisher BL. The New Internet Policy Protecting You from Freedom of Thought and Speech. National Vaccine Information Center Dec. 3, 2018.
117 Mercola J. Beware: New Plan to Censor Health Websites. Mercola Newsletter Dec. 4, 2018.
118 Storeng KT, deBengy Puyvalee A. Civil society participation in global public private partnerships for health. Health Policy and Planning 2018; 33(8): 928-936.