Modern Medicine at Work

Flu swindle continues; public pays


Fifth Estate # 281, March, 1977

In attempts to find new markets in which to extract more profit, drug companies are trying to find new ways to keep workers feeling well and on the job.

Their latest interest in industrial health was prompted by the alarming number of workers who are becoming ill from exposure to solvents, excess heat, mercury poisoning, etc.

It seems that the first signs of ill effects from such industrial poisons are headaches and/or fever, so drug companies are selling aspirin in a number of forms as a “Keep ’em Working Pill” to employers. One advertisement says, “When the Keep ’em Working Pill is on the job, so are the employees.”

Of course, the’ Idea that drug companies and the medical profession would attempt to treat the problem instead of the symptoms would be sheer folly for them. Not only is there no money in it, for them or the companies that produce such harmful substances, it would also mean professional suicide. How could such a system exist if it didn’t create, or inadvertently support the creation of new illnesses of which to cure people?

So, not only do we have Excedrine to help relieve the pain of headaches caused by thinking about work, but also a super aspirin that helps us forget the mutilating effects of industrial work so we can continue living a “productive” life.

Ain’t modern medicine wonderful? “It works so you can Work.”

Flu swindle continues; public pays

Steadfastly refusing to lay the aborted swine flu inoculation program to rest, HEW Secretary Joseph Califano lifted the immunization ban on February 8th, allegedly motivated by an outbreak of A/Victoria strain influenza in a Dade County, Florida nursing home which left three persons dead.

Suspended since December 16th after the shots were linked to the relatively rare Guillain-Barre Syndrome, often known as “creeping paralysis,” the vaccination program has been resumed, primarily, according to Califano, to allow the elderly and chronically ill to receive a bivalent vaccine—one which supposedly protects against both swine flu A/New Jersey and A/Victoria.

Although a panel of twenty unnamed “medical and scientific experts” recommended the resumption of the program, there’s evidently still some concern as to the vaccine’s side effects. New forms have been prepared by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta explaining the program to the participants and relieving doctors of all legal liabilities for administering the shots.

Apparently the government is desperately trying to unload as much of the 90 million dose surplus of the swine flu vaccine currently on ice as possible before its effectiveness is discovered to have dissipated.

Meanwhile, the anticipated repercussions from the disastrous vaccination program have begun. On February 7th, Califano demanded the resignation of Dr. David Sencer, the developer of the controversial inoculation program and Director of the CDC.

With Sencer on his way out and Dr. Theodore Cooper, co-organizer of the swine flu debacle already purged from his position as assistant HEW secretary for health, it seems apparent that the Carter Administration wants no remnants of the last regime around to stir up unpleasant memories.

Finally, in the first wave of law suits stemming from injuries allegedly resulting from the swine flu vaccine, 104 damage claims totaling nearly $11 million have been filed against the federal government, with HEW receiving more than 1,600 inquiries from individuals requesting information on how to go about filing claims of their own.

Due to a law passed by Congress last August which undoubtedly anticipated serious problems in the inoculation program, all claims filed must be made against the federal government rather than against the vaccine manufacturers (the four pharmaceuticals), clinics, health departments or individual participants in the program.