The CEO of Pfizer is being investigated by the Republic’s regulatory body for ‘misleading’ statements about childhood vaccines
Britain’s pharmaceutical watchdog has reprimanded a Pfizer chief executive over “misleading” statements about childhood vaccines, The Telegraph can reveal.
Dr Albert Bourla used an interview with the BBC last December to argue that “there is no doubt that the benefits are entirely in favor”. vaccination of young people aged five to 11 against Covid-19.
He claimed that “Covid in schools is progressing” and added: “This is disturbing, significantly, the education system, and there are children who will have severe symptoms.”
The interview was published on December 2 – before the UK medical regulator approved the vaccine for this age group.
Shortly after the article was published, UsForThem, a parenting campaign group set up to promote the plight of children during the pandemic, lodged a complaint with the pharmaceutical watchdog – the Prescription Medicines Practice Rules Authority (PMCPA).
‘Extremely promotional in nature’
The complaint states that the remarks of dr. Bourla on the children’s vaccine were “disgracefully misleading” and “extremely promotional in nature”, arguing that it breached several clauses of the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) code of practice.
“There’s just no evidence for that healthy school children in the UK are at significant risk of SARS COV-2 and to imply that they are is shamefully misleading,” they said.
In September 2021, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) is it is advised against the mass introduction of children aged 12-15saying the “minor benefit” is “considered too small” and citing the low risk to healthy children from the virus.
But less than two weeks later, ministers gave the go-ahead for youngsters to receive a single dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech jab, with the UK’s chief medical officer claiming it would help keep schools open.
That was only in February 2022 The JCVI has decided that the vaccine can be offered to children aged 5-11 years – but the ministers said that the decision should be left to the parents.
A Code of Practice panel convened by the PMCPA found that Pfizer breached the code in a number of different ways, including misleading the public, making unsubstantiated claims and failing to present information in a factual and balanced manner.
‘Updated Scientific Evidence’
Pfizer appealed the findings, strongly refuting UsForThem’s claims that Dr. Bourla violated the code of practice. They claimed that his remarks were based on “up-to-date scientific evidence” and could be supported by “publicly available independent assessments of benefits and risks”.
An appeals board met earlier in November to consider their arguments. Violations of the code related to misleading the public, making unsubstantiated claims and lack of balance were confirmed.
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