The National Autism Association’s embarrassing spitefulness

14 Sep

In a recent Dateline episode about Dr. Andrew Wakefield, Matt Lauer stated that to some groups Dr. Paul Offit is “public enemy number one”.

As if to prove Matt Lauer right, the National Autism Association launched an attack on Dr. Offit for his appearance on Dateline. They did this through a press release, Offit’s Failure to Disclose Jeopardizes Swine Flu Vaccine Program.

The press release has the header: “Doctor Who Made Millions Off MMR Manufacturer Does Not Tell Public of His Financial Relationship during NBC Dateline Broadcast”

The NAA state further,

Dr. Paul Offit of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), who was interviewed for a Dateline NBC television special, failed to tell millions of viewers that while he was promoting MMR as safe he had also made tens of millions of dollars from selling another vaccine patent to Merck, which is the manufacturer of MMR.

Let’s take a look at what was actually said, shall we?

Matt Lauer states (about 1:45 into the video clip), “Dr. Offit is a target. Not just for supporting vaccine safety, but because he himself made millions of dollars for inventing a vaccine.”

Quite frankly, the NAA is lying. Matt Lauer knew that Dr. Offit invented a vaccine and made money from his vaccine and Matt Lauer informed his audience of this. My guess if pressed the NAA will likely hide behind the Merck connection. Yeah. Like Matt Lauer and his producer didn’t know that RotaTeq is sold by Merck. (if so, that Merck logo on the RotaTeq box should have been a big clue, don’t you think?)

A minor point: Dr. Offit did not sell a vaccine patent to Merck. He assigned the rights to his invention the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), a standard arrangement for an academic or industry employee. CHOP then applied for and was granted patents. CHOP (not Dr. Offit) licensed the patent to Merck, and then sold the license rights to a third party for a lump sum. Out of that sum, CHOP payed Dr. Offit, Dr. Plotkin and Dr. Clark.

The NAA press release further states:

According to CHOP documents, Offit’s share of a royalty sale for the Rotateq vaccine to Merck is a minimum of $29 million and may approach $50 million.

This is wrong. This is wrong on two counts. First, there are no CHOP documents which state that Dr. Offit’s share of the sale of the patent rights for $29 to $50M. There can’t be documents that say this because Dr. Offit’s share was about 1/10 of this amount.

How did the NAA get such incorrect information? There is a blog post, written by Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill which estimates this based on information they gleaned from the CHOP website. Their misinformation has been spread far since that post.

The only problem is, Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill were wrong. They made some big (and easily avoided) mistakes.

First mistake is that they used the incorrect Patent and Intellectual Property Policy in their calculation. That agreement wasn’t in effect when Dr. Offit and his co-inventors invented what became RotaTeq. Even Misters Blaxill and Olmsted acknowledged this in their post.

The old inventor agreement (easily found on the CHOP website) states:

payment to inventors was based on gross income, with 50 percent distribution on the first $250,000, 30 percent on the next $250,000, 15 percent on the next $4.5 million and 10 percent on the remainder.

The bulk of the payout was 10% of net income. Not 30% as Misters Blaxill and Olmsted assumed.

The second mistake is that Misters Olmsted and Blaxill neglected the fact that Dr. Offit shared the CHOP payment with his co-inventors, Dr. Stanley Plotkin and Dr. Fred Clark.

Mister Blaxill has stated in the comments to his post that Clark and Plotkin were not faculty of CHOP, but, instead were at Wistar. Again, one can easily confirm that they were faculty at CHOP with a simple google search. The CHOP research timeline states,

Drs. H. Fred Clark, Stanley Plotkin and Paul Offit develop a rotavirus vaccine for infantile gastroenteritis.

CHOP’s 2006 annual report (also easily found) states:

As part of its distinguished legacy of developing vaccines to improve the lives of children, Children’s Hospital investigators Paul Offit, M.D., chief, Division of Infectious Diseases; H Fred Clark, D.V.M., Ph.D.; Stanley Plotkin, M.D.; and The Wistar Institute developed RotaTeq®, the oral rotavirus vaccine that was licensed and further developed by Merck & Co. Inc.

Dr. Plotkin is the former chief of infectious diseases at CHOP, and Dr. Clark was a research professor of Pediatrics at CHOP. Both easily confirmed through the CHOP website.

It is unequivocal that CHOP considered Dr. Clark and Dr. Plotkin to be a part of the CHOP team. The Intellectual property policy (and all standard IP policies) divide the inventors’ share amongst all inventors.

Sorry to go into such detail, but I can not figure out why Misters Blaxill and Olmsted have not corrected their mistake. One commenter to their blog pointed out that Doctors Clark and Plotkin were CHOP faculty, only to have Mr. Blaxill respond that “…Offit would have received the entirety of the CHOP inventor’s share”. I’d be interested what Mr. Blaxill based that statement upon.

CHOP is reported to have sold their rights to RotaTeq for $182M. Using the correct information, this leads to an estimated payout of about $6M. (Note, Mr. Blaxill and Mr. Olmsted report that the net income to CHOP was $153M. This would lead to about $5M payment for each inventor).

Using the correct CHOP policy, one can calculate (based on $182M):

Inventor share
50% of first $250k is $125,000
30% of the next $250k is $75,000
15% of the next $4.5M is is $675,000
10% of the remainder ($176,750,000) is $17,675,000

Total inventor share $18,550,000
This is split amongst the three inventors, leading to:
each inventor getting $6,183,333

I have confirmed that this is is an accurate estimate with Dr. Offit.

I post this calculation not as an estimate, but as a demonstration that the accurate amount could have been calculated by Misters Olmsted and Blaxill with publicly available information at the time they did their blog post Misters Blaxill and Olmsted took great efforts to find information about the inventor policies at multiple other institutions–much more effort than was required to find the accurate information on CHOP’s own website.

$6M is a lot of money, don’t get me wrong. Dr. Offit has acknowledged this in his statements. But, it is much lower than the estimate that Mark Blaxill and Dan Olmsted have publicized. The honorable thing for these two gentlemen to do now is to correct their mistake.

The real honorable thing to do is to not only correct their error, but to correct the error wherever it has propagated.

What is more important than the amount of the sale is the fact that CHOP sold its interest in the patent. Why is that important? Because that means that the amount of money CHOP can make from this patent will be unaffected by just about anything Dr. Offit does or say.

But, I’ve strayed a bit on this post, away from the NAA. The source of the misinformation is the Age of Autism blog and Misters Blaxill and Olmsted. Perhaps the NAA could use the argument that they didn’t create the misinformation, they were just passing it along? Except that the NAA sponsors the Age of Autism blog.

Back to the rest of the press release. It is an amazing piece of work. I found it especially odd when the NAA interview themselves and make it sound like news. They don’t try to hide it, they give quotes from Wendy Founier and Jim Moody…and then list themselves as the contact people for the press release.

They also interview Dr. Wakefield, who calls Dr. Offit “disingenuous” at the beginning of the paragraph, and finishes the paragraph showing concern for how people like Dr. Offit might impact the integrity of the swine flu vaccine.

Anyone detect the irony there? Dr. Wakefield (and the NAA) are so concerned about the swine flu vaccine program that they worry about Dr. Offit impacting the integrity of the program?

Talk about disingenuous.

The press release repeats one of the stranger of the accusations against Dr. Offit–the claim that he does not treat patients with autism:

Beyond Offit’s financial conflicts, autism advocates are also dismayed about the physician’s credibility on speaking about autism in general, as he does not treat patients with autism.

Unless the NAA wants to state that autistics in Philadelphia do not get infectious diseases, it is pretty certain that Dr. Offit has treated a number of autistics in his long career.

To cap this all off, the Age of Autism blog, sponsored by the NAA, ran a post advertising the NAA press release. However, instead of calling it what it is, a press release, they framed it as being “reported by Reuters”.

Yeah. They tried to make it sound like news reporting by a major outlet rather than a press release.

Even their own readership balked at that and they had to change the title. No apology, though. Just an acknowledgment and a claim that it wasn’t “an intentional attempt to mislead“. If you go over to Age of Autism to check, you’ll have to do some searching as they didn’t correct the post but, rather, buried it in the comments.

The NAA press release was a cheap swipe at Dr. Offit and it is as transparent as it was childish. It is an embarrassment to the autism communities.

As an appendix, I add the following information:

The Countering Age of Autism blog posted a comment by Dr. Offit. Also on Countering, frequent commenter to this blog, David N. Brown, wrote an excellent deconstruction of the NAA press release.

David N. Brown also took on the task of informing Mr. Blaxill of his error in the comments to Mr. Blaxill’s Age of Autism blog post. Mr. Blaxill responded with:

David Brown, please read the article before making incorrect statements. The payment to CHOP was $182 million (Wistar received a separate and earlier $45 million dollar payment). From this, Offit would have received the entirety of the CHOP inventor’s share. Benchmarks show the inventor’s distribution can range from 15-35% of royalty income, with the current CHOP policy set at 30% (a share we didn’t feature in our calculations because it is a new standard and may not have been the relevant one for Offit’s distribution). In other words, our estimate is conservative and uses a percentage that is at the very low end of the relevant range.

I informed Mr. Blaxill and Mr. Olmsted ahead of publishing this post of this information, specifically that (a) Dr. Offit did not receive the entirety of the CHOP payout and that (b) their calculation of the CHOP inventors’ share was incorrect and not even a conservative estimate. I included links they could use to confirm the information. I encouraged them to make the correction. Mr. Blaxill and Mr. Olmsted have declined.

32 Responses to “The National Autism Association’s embarrassing spitefulness”

  1. Dianne September 14, 2009 at 06:55 #

    pah, me being spelling nazi, just some spelling errors in your title. Great blog, have retweeted it. 🙂

    • Sullivan September 14, 2009 at 14:57 #

      Danne–

      thanks for pointing that out. I rely much on spell checkers. I managed to shut mine down and not even notice.

  2. David N. Brown September 14, 2009 at 09:47 #

    Thought you and readers would be interested in this comment from AoA, after they briefly posted a comment from me giving the actual figure:
    Mr Brown’s comment was posted in error. He has perseverated on this topic and was abusive to our staff in the past. If he has a blog or site, feel free to continue the discussion there. Not here. Thank you.

    It would appear from this that AoA would prefer not to retract OR defend their figures. As for comments on me, my main answer is this: I have treated the various aspects of the Rotateq patent as an ongoing research project. When I found new information I thought especially important, I posted it on AoA. It was my expectation that, even if they deemed my tone inappropriate (and I freely admit that one or two commentts I am glad weren’t posted), it would still be seen by their staff, who would have the option of responding to the new information before I presented it elsewhere. I have also done my best to keep criticism, however harsh, within certain limits, particularly in terms of not challenging their sincerity or good intentions. It would be in everyone’s best interests if AoA observed such restraint themselves.

    • Sullivan September 14, 2009 at 16:09 #

      David,

      they berated you for (in their view) perseverating? Gad.

      It appears that you had it correct–they are not interested in correcting their facts or figures. The information you provided and the above information both clearly show that the estimate that Mark Blaxill and Dan Olmsted came up with is wildly incorrect.

      Ironic that in a post directed at distributing misinformation that you get accused of being abusive.

      Frankly, I wish Dr. Offit had received the high end of the AoA estimate. How much is an invention that saves so many lives worth?

  3. Ringside Seat September 14, 2009 at 10:13 #

    I think it’s sad that we are even talking about Dr Offit. A lot of the people involved in Age of Autism are not particularly bright, and in the face of determined dishonesty by Olmsted (who was let go by UPI because of the poor quality of his work), and the anti-vaccine deceit of the National Autism Association, quite a number will take up and parrot false information about him. He isn’t the only doctor in America concerned about the anti-vaccine campaign, and I think he could sensibly refer journalists and producers to others less easily entangled by the anti-vaxxers’ tricks.

    It’s all a diversion, of course. Paul Offit is evidently so rich that the outcome of the vaccines/autism issue will make no major difference to his standard of living, vacation spots, make of automobile.

    Compare that with Andrew Wakefield who has literally lived off the vaccine issue for more than a decade. He has no other source of income, no other career or research interests. The UK lawsuit he backed was his livelihood, along with the not-for-profits he set up to pay him large sums of money. The longer he could keep that lawsuit going, the more money he made. His own patent “for the prophylaxis of measles virus” was meant to make him richer than Dr Offit, but failed, because unlike Offit, Wakefield is a greedy fool. Thoughtful House (with his income $280,000 a year, Annissa Ryland’s at more than $100,000, and Krigsman’s off-the-scale) exists purely because of the vaccine issue.

    No wonder they want to talk about Dr Offit.

    • Sullivan September 14, 2009 at 15:25 #

      Ringside Seat:

      “I think it’s sad that we are even talking about Dr Offit.”

      Dr. Offit said it quite succinctly recently, I paraphrase: “I [Dr. Offit] am not their problem. The data are their problem”

  4. WEL September 14, 2009 at 10:23 #

    Sullivan, perhaps you could encourage Mr Olmsted to correct another article published by him on the Age of Autism site on February 28th of this year (previously published in January but repeated in February following the Banks vs HHS decision)titled “Autism explosion followed big change in MMR shot”. According to Mr Olmsted, Merck “quadrupled the amount of mumps virus in the combination shot from 5,000 to 20,000 units” and “a huge rise in autism cases began about the time the mumps component in the MMR was raised in 1990”

    It followed, given that all MMR II, including that for export, was manufactured at West Point, children in the UK would have been exposed to a simultaneous four fold rise in mumps dosage as described by Mr Olmsted, with a possible similar resultant rise in the number of cases of autism.

    Under a FOI request, the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC)the authority in the UK who provide batch release certificates for products enabling them to go on the market, provided me with copies of correspondence which passed between them and Merck on this subject in 1990/91.

    The change in the figures for mumps dosage from 5,000 to 20,000 TCID 50 occured as a result of Merck employing a new type of test with far greater sensitivity. In their correspondence Merck make it clear that the figure of 20,000 TCID 50 from the new system adopted, is “equal” to that of the old system measuring a potency of 5,000 TCID50 for mumps virus.

    In conclusion Merck advise that ” although there now appears to be a numerical difference in the value of the vaccine potency, the actual potency has been and remains constant: only the use of a more reliable and more sensitive assay system has been changed and incorporated into the release mechanism of the product”.

    In short, according to the material I was provided with, there was no four fold increase in the potency of the mumps component of MMR II, merely a change in the FIGURES recorded for mumps dosage owing to the fact that Merck had employed a new testing regime. The rise in the number of cases of autism recorded by Mr Olmsted in this timeframe cannot therefore be explained by this non existent rise in mumps virus potency in the MMR II product.

    Mr Olmsted quotes the source of his information re the changes in mumps dosage as an “informal conversation with a Merck scientist” and that Merck did not respond to a detailed written request for comment.

    Ironically,and with an eerie similarity to his own experience with Merck, Mr Olmsted has chosen not to respond to my email to him some weeks back, advising him of my findings here in the UK and providing him with copies of the Merck documents I have obtained under FOI.!

  5. AutismNewsBeat September 14, 2009 at 14:30 #

    Mr. Olmsted is not a legitimate journalist. He’s a paid publicist for a fringe anti-vaccine group. Of course he’s going to interpret facts to suit his own agenda.

    It’s worth remembering that Olmsted is the guy who kick started the urban myth that the Amish don’t vaccinate, and that they don’t have autism. His conclusion was based on hearing what he wanted, and ignoring the cryptically-named Clinic for Special Children in Strasburg, PA, which treats dozens of children who show symptoms of autism. When asked to explain himself, he said he called the clinic but no one called him back. What he’s not saying is those calls came after his fact-free UPI story was published, and that the clinic director had no interest in speaking with someone who has such a reckless disregard for the truth.

  6. Science Mom September 14, 2009 at 15:59 #

    @WEL, I am very interested in the documentation that you have acquired and would like to be able to use that to explain to numerous people that this is, indeed the case. Is there any way for you to put those correspondences online?

  7. Squillo September 14, 2009 at 18:16 #

    Egad, I posted on this almost simultaneously, complete with the same figures for Offit’s share of the royalties. Interesting how both of us were easily able to ascertain this, but neither AoA nor the NAA could be bothered. (I asked the NAA to provide their source–they directed me to AoA.)

    It’s worth noting that the NAA press release came from Austin, TX (Andrew Wakefield territory) rather than Nixa, MO, which is NAA HQ. Nor is the press release listed with the NAA’s other press releases on its website.

    This was all about diverting attention from poor, misunderstood Andrew Wakefield.

  8. Sullivan September 14, 2009 at 18:52 #

    Wel,

    I don’t think I’ll get any farther than you did in convincing Mr. Olmsted to correct that piece on MMR.

    ScienceMom asked first–but if you want to share the documents, I’ll host them as well here.

  9. Sullivan September 14, 2009 at 19:05 #

    Squillo,

    http://confutata.wordpress.com/2009/09/14/national-autism-associations-lies/

    wow, good post. I wish I could write that well. Heck, I can’t even spell!

  10. Sullivan September 14, 2009 at 19:28 #

    Mr. Olmsted is not a legitimate journalist. He’s a paid publicist for a fringe anti-vaccine group. Of course he’s going to interpret facts to suit his own agenda.

    AutismNewsBeat,

    I am going to take you to task for this comment. We don’t know what Mr. Olmsted’s motivations are. The whole problem above is the attempt by the NAA to ascribe motivations to Dr. Offit.

    Mr. Olmsted and Mr. Blaxill migt try to hide behind the shield of “we were just informing the public”, and let the NAA and Dr. Wakefield do the real dirty work.

    What I will say is important is not *why* Mr. Olmsted is ignoring journalistic integrity. The mere fact that he and Mr. Blaxill *are* ignoring journalistic integrity is the problem.

    They have been presented with factual information that demonstrates that their calculation is inaccurate. They have been presented with a public statement by Dr. Offit about how much his CHOP payout was.

    There is no question that they made a mistake in their estimate.

    And yet they decline to acknowledge or correct the error.

    Their mistake could be due to two reasons:
    1) They were sloppy and didn’t spend the small amount of time necessary to make an accurate estimate.
    2) They had this information and chose not to present it in their effort to “inform”.

    In either case, now that the facts are in front of them, it is time to correct the mistake.

  11. Kwombles September 14, 2009 at 19:32 #

    I think you did a great job, Sullivan. And Sqillo was brilliant as usual! I’m so glad that there are a band of parents willing to stand up for reason, integrity, honesty, and ACCURACY. It isn’t that hard to do, and one would think that AoA and like-minded institutions would get it. If you have to lie to prove your point, you can’t prove your point.

  12. Jake Crosby September 14, 2009 at 19:47 #

    @Sullivan:

    When did Paul Offit receive the royalty payments for the Rotavirus vaccine? It was added to the schedule in February 2006, but the new patent code went into regulation in November 2006. If Paul Offit’s vaccine was added to the schedule in early 2006, but received payment in late 2006 (either November or December), or beyond, then he would have received inventor’s share of the money according to the current patent policies of CHOP.

    Also, how would Drs. Clark and Plotkin receive CHOP inventor’s share of the vaccine when they already received some through Wistar and no longer work at the hospital, and only Paul Offit does? That does not seem to make sense.

    @WEL:

    The Mumps virions in MMR was initially increased to 20,000, but went down to 12,500 two years ago while Measles and Rubella virions remained constant throughout that time. Furthermore, recorded virions in its Mumps vaccine also grew to 20,000, but remained at that number.

    Are you insinuating that Merck used a more sensitive assay system for measuring components of their MMR vaccine, and then switched to a less sensitive one? How is that logical? And why would they do that for the MMR but not the monovalent Mumps vaccine? And what about the timing of the recent scale-down in the MMR with the company’s apparently simultaneous announcement that it will be suspending its MMR + varicella combination vaccine: “ProQuad?”

    • Sullivan September 14, 2009 at 20:20 #

      Jake Crosby,

      If Paul Offit’s vaccine was added to the schedule in early 2006, but received payment in late 2006 (either November or December), or beyond, then he would have received inventor’s share of the money according to the current patent policies of CHOP.

      Patent/IP policies are in place when you file the patent. He assigned rights at that time, accepting the policy in place at that time.

      Also, how would Drs. Clark and Plotkin receive CHOP inventor’s share of the vaccine when they already received some through Wistar and no longer work at the hospital, and only Paul Offit does? That does not seem to make sense.

      What makes you say this?

      Fred Clark was listing his contact address as CHOP on a paper published in 2009.

      And here’s another paper from 2008.

      Dr. Plotkin may have already left CHOP by that time. So, to answer your general question: much would depend on the agreement the inventors had with CHOP either at the time of invention or at the time of leaving the institution. On retirement or leaving for another company, Dr. Plotkin could have included “future royalties” in his exit contract.

      Royalty payments are not salary. They are not payment for current time at an institution.

      Note that the patent had already been licensed to Merck before he left. Long before. The agreement for “future royalties” was likely in place before the vaccine was ready to be a product. That would be very standard for something like this–an expected future payment.

      Or, the short form–it was payment for work done a long time before he left.

      • Sullivan September 14, 2009 at 20:36 #

        Mr. Crosby,

        you write for Age of Autism.

        Can you tell me what the policy is for making a correction? What level of proof do you need in order to act?

        here you have
        a) a public statement by Dr. Offit
        b) that statement was made to a blogger who used his real name, so this is exactly equivalent to if he had made a statement to a blogger at the Age of Autism
        c) links to websites demonstrating the assumptions made were incorrect
        d) Mr. Blaxill’s and Mr. Olmted’s own statements that the estimate they made were based on a policy that was not in effect at the time.

        I gave these facts to Misters Olmsted and Blaxill in advance of publishing this piece, in a non confrontational manner. Not that correcting a mistake should be contingent on that at all.

        What else is needed in order to affect the change?

  13. Sullivan September 14, 2009 at 19:51 #

    Kwombles,

    I just put up the second post borrowed from your blog, Countering Age of Autism.

    The information is all there. The method to make a correct calculation and a public statement by Dr. Offit confirming the amount.

    Let’s give Misters Olmsted and Blaxill the benefit of the doubt and say they made a mistake.

    Not correcting the mistake makes it a lie.

  14. Kwombles September 14, 2009 at 19:56 #

    Sullivan, we can adopt the assumption that the first time they ran this mistaken information, it was not intentional. The fact that they have been repeatedly made aware of the mistake and continue to propogate the misinformation would suggest intentionality. Let’s hope that by bringing this mistake clearly into a wider audience that AoA will choose to run an article in which they admit to their mistake, issue an apology to Offit and cease to provide factually inaccurate information. That would be great. Perhaps Jake can ask the managing editor why inaccurate information continues to be put out there.

    🙂

  15. Kwombles September 14, 2009 at 20:00 #

    Meant to say cool on the Offit rebuttal. 🙂 The more folks who can read his rebuttal, the better!

  16. Ringside Seat September 14, 2009 at 20:47 #

    I see Dr Offit describes James Moore as “a respected journalist”. What he doesn’t seem to realize – maybe because Moore does not tell us in his writing in support of Andrew Wakefield – that James Moore is employed by Andrew Wakefield. It was Moore who issued the Thoughtful House press notice attacking Brian Deer, and the return email address to Moore was Thoughtful House.

    Similarly, the NAA was set up as the anti-vaccine group “Moms on a Mission For Autism”, and changed its name to the NAA to give credibility for its campaign on behalf of guess who?

  17. Ringside Seat September 14, 2009 at 20:54 #

    The irony regarding James Moore, of course, is that for a journalist to write about a person (Wakefield), or a business or issue without declaring that he is doing consultancy work for the people or issue he is writing about is misconduct, and were that journalist employed by any media organization, it would lead to his instant dismissal.

    The sickening ethics of these people is the reason why they need Dr Offit. “We may be lying, concealing our interests, faking our claims, but it’s not us that’s corrupt. It’s them over there, and we’ll fabricate the evidence to prove it…”

    Respected journalist? For how much longer?

  18. Chris September 14, 2009 at 20:57 #

    It is uncomfortably ironic that some autism groups are entirely self centered and unable to see things from anyone else’s point of view.

  19. David N. Brown September 14, 2009 at 23:47 #

    In my judgement, what policy was applied to the Rotateq payments were a matter of reasonable doubt. But whether Clark and Plotkin were paid should never have been seriously questioned. (In hindsight, I made a mistake by taking Blaxill’s “correction” at face value, at first.) Even if some technicality would have allowed CHOP to cut out the other inventors (and why would CHOP care how many people were paid if the total amount was the same?), it would easily have led to a lawsuit against them and/or Offit. Hence, the practical choices were to pay the inventors or pay the lawyers. Even as it is, I find it quite amazing that nobody sued. Which begs the question, if ALL vaccine researchers were as greedy as AoA asserts Offit to be, why haven’t they sued?

    • Sullivan September 15, 2009 at 00:08 #

      David N. Brown,

      I would say that without the public statement of Dr. Offit, there would be some doubt about the correct policy. However, he confirmed that the amount is about $6M and the payout was basically at 10%, consistent with the information shown.

      This is speculation on my part, but the fact that only the select few “inventors” get the big bonuses while the rest of the team will get substantially less (down to a mere handshake), is likely part of the reason why Dr. Offit was hesitant to discuss the payouts. He has to work with these people, as well as all the other people at CHOP.

      But, what defines an “inventor” is a big question. A patent can be invalidated if the inventor list is incorrect. Either too many or too few. Each person must contribute substantially to the invention. One must ask, “would this invention have occurred without this person”. A lab tech may have been extremely helpful, but if his/her contribution could have been done by someone else, that person is not an inventor. It could be uncomfortable to work with valued team members, knowing that you got a much higher reward for the team effort.

      Also, contributions to the development are separate. There is a BIG effort to take an invention like theirs and develop it into a product. Many people contributed. It is even possible that without the efforts of some specific people the invention would not have been developed into a product. Unfortunately, even those people are not included in the invention royalty payments.

      One point that comes up from this discussion–the fact that Dr. Offit still works in the same place. The argument that he was after the money and this payout “bought” him just don’t fit the facts. I’ve called him a few times with questions. On one occasion, he spoke answered my question but had to get back to work quickly. He was doing his hospital rounds.

      How many people can say that if they got $6M, they would continue to do their job?

  20. David N. Brown September 15, 2009 at 00:51 #

    Something I’ve noticed is two contradictory assuptions Offit’s critics seem to make about him: 1) That he will betray the public interest and medical ethics for money and 2) that he WOULDN’T betray those who had already paid him.

  21. David Rs Greer Who Has Aspergers September 24, 2009 at 11:22 #

    Yes Ok good comments.
    Rember I have an IQ of 184 I’m smarter than this man.
    The ratio is way out dated .
    And becoues girs are smarter than boys in teen age hood its hard to see the ratio between B/G sings of autism. Is that ratio worked out on a sesional baces or is it extraplated or interlaped infomation ?.culture or etnick I think there is mind blind ness with the how these peopel in white coats to act or behave in a discipline thus means to instruct a person to follow specified way of science. olny implementing moral values to there work contract this is veary sad.Goverment control.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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    […] a far more competent investigation by Sullivan at LeftBrainRightBrain found that Offit’s compensation is about $6 million, which is easily determined by following […]

  3. The National Autism Association’s Lies & Distortions About Paul Offit « Confutata - July 26, 2010

    […] As Sullivan reminds me, the fact that Offit made millions from his rotavirus vaccine was clearly stated by Lauer […]

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