Is Generation Rescue trying to get Airborne to fund junk science?

8 Dec

The latest Generation Rescue newsletter leads me to believe that Airborne may be considering funding Generation Rescue. Here is the latest Generation Rescue newsletter:

Generation Rescue is in the final stages of receiving grant funding for a vaccine research study on the long term effects of the current U.S. recommended schedule. The last thing we need are declarations of support from our community who purchased Airborne Health.

1.) Did you purchase Airborne during May 1, 2001 – November 29, 2007?
2.) Do you support a vaccine research study on the long term effects of the current U.S. schedule?
3.) Do you support a study on vaccinated vs. unvaccinated children?

If you answer yes to all three of these questions, then you are a supporter and can help Generation Rescue provide ground breaking research.

The first 40 respondents will receive a free bag of revitaPOPS for completing a declaration of support.

Airborne is a supplement company that produces a product that claimed to be able to help people fight the common cold. They were involved in a class action lawsuit, resulting in an agreed payment of $23 million to consumers who purchased the product and who could prove they purchased it.

Steve Novella at Science Based Medicine discussed this.

My speculation: there is a big pot of the $23M left over, and Generation Rescue is trying to get Airborne to donate it to fund a vaccinated/unvaccinated study.

Of all the groups to manage such a study, Generation Rescue is way (WAY) down on the bottom of the list.

Generation Rescue has a history of misrepresenting and misusing science to forward their agenda. A few cases: their “phone survey” and their pseudo study on vaccination, childhood mortality and autism around the world.

The deadline to submit claims was December 5, 2009 (4 days ago). It strikes this observer as likely that only a small percentage of Airborne’s customers saved their receipts and were able to be compensated, leaving a large amount of money unclaimed.

I really wonder if Airborne knows what sort of group they are working with in Generation Rescue. Soon Airborne will receive testimonials from people who claim to have purchased their products, who want a Vaccinated/Unvaccinated study done by Generation Rescue.

The very fact that Generation Rescue is paying people to submit testimonials should raise red flags at Airborne.

In my opinion, if, for whatever reason, Airborne wants such a study done, they should find a group other than Generation Rescue to manage it. Funding Generation Rescue in this effort is just throwing money away. Airborne would do much better to fund something that could make a real impact in the lives of autistics.

Edit to add

1) Note that Airborne made no admission of fault in this settlement.

2) Here is a section from the settlement document, noting that money left over could be donated to a non-profit group

If the aggregate value of Valid Claims by Settlement Class Members is less than the amount of the Net Settlement Fund, the balance of the Net Settlement Fund, after payment of all Valid Claims of Settlement Class Members, shall be distributed cy pres to non-profit organizations. Class Counsel shall nominate the non-profit organization(s) that will be recipients of any cy pres funds, which shall then be subject to the consent of Defendants (which Defendants shall not unreasonably withhold) and approval by the Court. For purposes of this paragraph, Defendants agree
that in order to validly withhold consent, Defendants must demonstrate that including a non-profit organization as a recipient would substantially
undermine Defendants’ legitimate business interest or is otherwise improper, and that Defendants’ refusal to consent is not philosophically or
politically motivated. Plaintiff agrees that the Center for Science in the Public Interest will not be a recipient of cy pres funds.

It appears to this reader that the class action lawyers (Center for Science in the Public Interest ) get to nominate the possible non-proffits, and that Airborne has the right to reject. In order to reject a non-profit, Airborne would have to claim that the donation “would substantially undermine Defendants’ legitimate business interest or is otherwise improper, and that Defendants’ refusal to consent is not philosophically or politically motivated”

I wonder if class counsel has to prove that the nominations are not philosophically or politically motivated?

13 Responses to “Is Generation Rescue trying to get Airborne to fund junk science?”

  1. Squillo December 8, 2009 at 04:31 #

    While I agree with you that it is highly unlikely GR could produce a quality study, and it would be nuts for CSPI to forward them as recipients of a grant given their track record, I hesitate to criticize GR right out of the gate for trying to get the money. They’ve been crying for years that nobody’s done a vaxed/unvaxed study; at least now they’re making noises about actually doing one themselves.

  2. David N. Brown December 8, 2009 at 06:18 #

    Except, they’re asking members to direct money to them from a third party. It would appear that they are currently focusing their resources on the “Green Vaccine” initiative, which looks already to be degenerating into arguments for banning vaccines.
    And the cost of “Hairy Biped’s” lawyers probably haven’t helped.

  3. Mike Stanton December 8, 2009 at 08:58 #

    So the bottom line is that a purveyor of quack cures for colds and flu is being asked to fund a vax/unvax study by a purveyor of quack cures for autism in exchange for a bundle of testimonials for its products.

  4. RAJ December 8, 2009 at 14:02 #

    There are several studies that could be funded that can examine an association, if any, between ASD and vaccinations. The most obvious is in identifying vaccinated and unvaccinated populations associated with prenatal flu vaccination. For decades flu vaccination for pregnant women has been recommended. However, only 1/3 of pregnant women actually receive flu vaccines during the flu season. The perfect vaccinated/unvaccinated population study.

    ASD is also widely believed to be in part the consequence of gene-environment interactions. A study conducted by vaccine researchers at St. Louis University found that mild adverse reactions in adult healthy people was associated with genetic variants located on various regions of chromosome 2 and 11.

    The article states:
    “Stanley hopes further studies will delineate whether genetic alterations linked to fever also play a role in more serious vaccine complications. About 12 percent of children who receive the MMR vaccine develop fevers over 103 degrees, and about 4 percent of them go on to develop seizures in the weeks that follow vaccination”.

    An obvious study would be to examine the genetic data contained in the AGRE data base. The AGRE data base contains thousands of multiple incident families and a study that looked for genetic alterations in regions chromosome 2 and 11 might give a clue as to whether genetic variants in these two regions represent a risk for ASD as they have been found to represent a risk for mild adverse rections to the smallpox vaccine.

    No need to conduct such a study as it has already been done. Research from the AGRE data base has been published and found the following:

    “Using a DNA microarray, or gene chip, the team was able to scan large stretches of sequence for tiny deletions common within the study families. They also sought out copy number variations and large-scale insertions or deletions of genetic material. In the two-fold analysis, the researchers implicated the gene neurexin 1, located on chromosome 2, as well as a swath of sequence on chromosome 11”.

  5. Tom December 8, 2009 at 17:30 #

    The two genes implicated in the small pox fever study were IL-1 and IL-18 on chromosome 2 and 11 respectively. Neither have been implicated in autism.

  6. daedalus2u December 8, 2009 at 17:33 #

    A vaxed vs unvaxed study would clearly be unethical because it exposes the unvaxed leg to significant risks of harm and even death from vaccine preventable diseases. That should clearly take it off the table as not doable.

    I think that Airborne would be wise to not allow that money to be spent on something that could eventually come back to harm them, for example if some of the unvaxed children got sick and died from vaccine preventable diseases. A minor child can’t consent to something, and no one can offer consent to an injurious procedure on a child’s behalf. The dead child’s estate would be completely free to sue for damages on behalf of the child, no matter what releases the child’s guardian had signed.

    Who would get sued? Pretty obviously it would be Airborne as the ones with the deep pockets. If there is a large cohort of unvaccinated children, and a lot of them come down with vaccine preventable diseases, the liability could easily exceed the $23 million (after GR takes their cut).

  7. Sullivan December 8, 2009 at 19:24 #


    there is no way GR could do a vaxed/unvaxed study that would keep kids from getting vaccines. It would never get approved and they just don’t have that sort of control.

    What they could do is fund a university researcher (no way GR has the scientists in house) to do a study of kids records…sort of like the study out of Poland recently.

  8. Joseph December 8, 2009 at 19:56 #

    Right, it will be retrospective. Further, I anticipate they’ll be again surprised by the results, and will try to spin them the best they can.

  9. Visitor December 8, 2009 at 20:14 #

    A vaxx/nonvaxx study, by almost any conceivable design, would be unethical, and no doctor would do it. No IRB, not wishing to see its members sued back to their shorts, would approve it.

  10. Prometheus December 8, 2009 at 20:22 #

    While the study cited by RAJ is fascinating in its own right, it has limited – if any – relevance to autism. A couple of points:

    [1] The authors defined “fever” as a temperature above 37.7 deg C (~100 deg F). This is a reasonable definition of fever, but shouldn’t be that surprising after giving a live virus that is as immunogenic as vaccinia. In fact, 65% of the previously unvaccinated (vs smallpox) subjects developed a fever (only 19% of the previously vaccinated subjects did). This compares with the published (if vaguely referenced) figure of “70%” in children.

    [2] The study only looked at a limited number of genes, mostly interleukin or immune-related genes. This makes the most sense, given that their target was fever, but limits the scope of the findings.

    [3] Although the authors claim that these findings are potentially applicable to all live virus vaccines, the vaccinia virus is very different from other live virus vaccine strains. As I mentioned above, the vaccinia virus is much more immunogenic than other vaccine strains, which accounts for the much higher incidence of adverse effects (about one death per million vaccinations – very high for a vaccine). If you find this hard to believe, remember (or Google it) that the normal result of a smallpox vaccination is a large area of redness with a small necrotic center.

    [4] As was mentioned above, the chromosomal areas where IL-1 (2q14) and IL-18 (11q22.2 – 11q22.3) are located are not in areas where autism susceptibility genes have been located.


  11. Broken Link June 1, 2010 at 14:29 #

    As reported on AoA this morning by Kent Heckenlively:

    “I was excited to hear Jenny McCarthy’s keynote address and learn that funding had finally been secured to do a thorough vaccinated/unvaccinated study. It’s nothing less than criminal that decades into this problem the government has not funded even basic science into this question.”

    This may refer to the Airborne money.

  12. David N. Brown June 1, 2010 at 18:20 #

    But, GR already did a vaccinated-unvaccinated study. They committed a mind-boggling amount of fraud, including exageration of the autism rate in the fully vaccinated by FIFTY-THREE PERCENT,but they still couldn’t hide the fact that the highest concentration of autistics was in the partially vaccinated.

    I think it’s more likely that the grant money comes from GR’s reserves or a backer like the “HB”. I doubt very much whether even quacks could muster enthusiasm for giving “research” dollars to GR: If they’re going to fund fraudulent research, they would presumably prefer to fund COMPETENT fraud.


  1. Tweets that mention Autism Blog - Is Generation trying to get Airborne to fund junk science? « Left Brain/Right Brain -- - December 8, 2009

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kev and autism_hub, Autism Hub. Autism Hub said: New post: Is Generation trying to get Airborne to fund junk science? […]

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