83 Reasons to Question Autism Speaks for Hiring Big Pharma Scientist
The big secret finally is out. Autism Speaks made a radical announcement May 9th, 2011 that said Robert Ring, PhD, a scientist from Pfizer, was placed “into to the newly-created position of vice president of translational research.” Ring’s appointment was made simultaneously with the discovery that 83 cases of vaccine-induced autism were paid compensation secretly by the U.S. government’s Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP).
Why is former Pfizer employee Ring’s appointment radical? Two years ago Pfizer announced the pharmaceutical industry’s first “Autism Spectrum Disorders Unit.” Robert Ring led that group since 2009. I’ll provide more information on this later, but I also want you to consider another very important point.
After the U.S. government’s secret payouts, consider Autism Speaks’s position on vaccines. The organization’s Chief Science Officer, Dr. Geri Dawson says this:
“Let me be clear: Autism Speaks fully supports childhood immunization and strongly encourages parents to vaccinate their children. Our vaccine program is one of our nation’s most effective programs for preventing serious infectious diseases.” [JJA Emphasis]
See Dawson’s statement here: http://www.autismspeaks.org/science/overview/policies/vaccine_research_safety_statement.php
This is not a neutral position! As a matter of fact, if you keep reading, I will show you the ties Autism Speaks has to the pharmaceutical industry; the same companies that manufacture products (vaccines) parents believe caused their children’s Autism – and that’s just the beginning.
Profitable Parachutes and Executive Pay
“How much?” – that’s the burning question. How much will Robert Ring get paid for this position? I contacted the Public Relations Officer at Autism Speaks to ask if they would reveal what Robert Ring’s salary would be. The official response I received from the organization was,
“All qualifying salaries appear on the annual 990 form, and as applicable, Dr. Ring’s will appear.”
However, we can get a fairly accurate estimation for his salary. That is possible by studying an Autism Speaks IRS Form 990 dated from 2008. On page 50 you will see the salaries of top officers are generally in excess of $150,000.
- Chief Science Officer, Geraldine Dawson: $669,751
- President, Mark Roithmayr: $400,413
- Executive Vice President, Peter Bell* (see note below): $265,981
- Glenn Tringali: $255, 256
- Alison Singer: $201,942
- Richard Brown: $190, 938
- Andy Shih: $187, 449
- Sophia Colamarino: $182,220
- Clara LaJonchere: $173, 310
- Thomas Hetzel: $167,732
- Elizabeth Emken: $151, 486
Here is a link to Autism Speaks 2008 IRS Form 990: http://www.autismspeaks.org/docs/Autism_Speaks_Form_990_2008.pdf
Note: Risperidal (Risperidone) is an anti-psychotic drug which, at the moment, is the only FDA approved drug to treat autism. Risperadal is manufactured by ORTHO, MCNEIL, and JANSSEN – a Johnson and Johnson Pharmaceutical company. http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cder/drugsatfda/index.cfm?fuseaction=Search.Overview&DrugName=RISPERDAL
*According to one article, Peter Bell (mentioned above) was one of the marketing masterminds behind the drug [Risperidal] while working at McNeil Pharmaceuticals. http://www.ageofautism.com/2010/08/new-york-autism-insurance-bill-protects-and-serves-whom.html
Mr. Bell’s bio on the Autism Speaks website states, “Peter joined Cure Autism Now in 2004 following a successful 12-year marketing career at McNeil Consumer & Specialty Pharmaceuticals, a member of the Johnson & Johnson family of companies.” http://www.autismspeaks.org/leadership.php
At this point in the article, all we have is a pharmaceutical insider getting a top position that pays pretty well at a non-profit organization that supports vaccinations. Now here is where the story gets interesting.
Frodo Baggins, Autism Speaks has the ring!
By their own account, shortly after Pfizer created the Autism Unit, Autism Speaks was involved in establishing a partnership with the pharmaceutical company. Page 43 of a document entitled ‘Autism Speaks 3-Year Strategic Plan for Science’ states,
Autism Speaks and Pfizer’s Neuroscience unit established a partnership that will launch Autism Speaks’ Translational Medicine Initiative. In 2010 [a year before Ring’s official appointment], leaders in the field were brought together to spearhead the development of two key conferences co-sponsored by both organizations that will help the field develop more targeted and effective therapeutics. [JJA emphasis and note]
See the Strategic Plan document here: http://www.autismspeaks.org/docs/strategic_plan/Autism_Speaks_Strategic_Plan_2009-2011_Fall_2010_Update.pdf
The importance of Dr. Ring’s appointment is apparent. The two conferences mentioned above were to birth and legitimize pharmaceuticals to treat autistic children. But, instead of leaving this up for interpretation, page 44 of the same document spells it out in plain language:
“…The goals of this meeting are to facilitate the entry of pharmaceutical companies into autism, assist in identification of molecular targets and strategies for their validation, and better pinpoint the challenges, gaps, and needs in moving from discovery to application.
“Both meetings are intended to provide a forum for cross-fertilization among leaders from research funding agencies, the pharmaceutical industry, the Food and Drug Administration, as well as experts in outcome measurement and clinical trials…” [Emphasis added]
Despite this early relationship, Autism Speaks Public Relations assured me in an e-mail that “Dr. Ring was selected following a competitive process involving a number of highly qualified candidates, concluding with his appointment by the Autism Speaks Board.”
The Straw That Breaks The Camel’s Back
Now that we know the most highly qualified candidate received the position, and his role is to facilitate pharmaceutical intervention in Autism, shouldn’t we take a look at influence? It actually comes subtly from a very pro-vaccine organization.
In the fall of 2010, Autism Speaks sent an update on their strategic plan. None other than Bill Gates, Sr., handpicked Fay Twersky of the Gates Foundation, as Page 2 notes:
“We wish to express our appreciation to Fay Twersky, Director, Impact and Planning, Gates Foundation for her generous time and advice… We also wish to thank Bill Gates, Sr. for introducing us to Fay and for his ongoing support of individuals with autism and their families.”
Gates’s son, Bill, can be seen calling for everything but Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s head in this CNN interview. See the interview here: http://adventuresinautism.blogspot.com/2011/02/bill-gates-attacks-andrew-wakefield-and.html
Of course GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations) is almost exclusively funded by the Gates Foundation, which spends many millions vaccinating children worldwide.
Here’s this author’s opinion on the matter, since I have a child with ‘autistic-like symptoms’.
Autism Speaks is known for raising enormous sums of cash to raise awareness for autism. The problem is, Autism Speaks has chosen to ignore vaccines as a causal mechanism for autism – and now we know why. They are facilitating Big Pharma’s entry into the “Autism Market” to pose as the pharmaceutical ‘Saviors’.
In other words, if Pharma can get a well-funded organization to avoid looking at vaccines as the cause of autism, then the organization acts effectively as a steam valve. In the meantime, the folks running the organization are making a ton of money to keep the freight train on its course full steam ahead.
Will Autism Speaks respond to 83 families having been paid secretly by the government? In my opinion everyone affiliated with that deal just lost all credibility because they now are acting on behalf of the pharmaceutical companies—Big Pharma.