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2000 Simpsonwood CDC conference
The 2000 Simpsonwood CDC conference (officially entitled Scientific Review of Vaccine Safety Datalink Information) was a meeting convened in June, 2000, by the Centers for Disease Control, held at the Simpsonwood  Methodist retreat and conference center in Norcross, Atlanta, Georgia. Events at the session included a presentation, reviewing data from the Vaccine Safety Datalink, by Dr. Thomas Verstraeten, and a comment on the biologic plausibility and consistency of a possible link between thimerosal and autism from Dr. Loren Koller. In addition to specialists involved in vaccine research, approximately half a dozen public health organisations and pharmaceutical interests were represented, as well as eleven consultants to the CDC, a rapporteur (Dr. Paul Stehr-Green), and an epidemiologist, Dr. Phil Rhodes, who was to provide a half hour summary review of the proceedings at the end of the second day.
Additional recommended knowledge
Discussion of Dr. Verstraeten's vaccine research
The Simpsonwood conference was chaired by Dr. Dick Johnston, who mentioned early in the proceedings that, "There is very limited pharmacokinetic data concerning ethylmercury. There is very limited data on its blood levels. There is no data on its excretion. It is recognized to both cross placenta and the blood-brain barrier. The data on its toxicity is sparse. It is primarily recognized as a cause of hypersensitivity. Acutely, it can cause neurologic and renal toxicity, including death from overdose." The conference attendees were then apprised over the next two days about the state of research in these areas.
In 1997, the Congress of the United States passed a resolution requiring the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to review mercury in drugs and biologics. The Simpsonwood conference served the purpose of reviewing findings that resulted from that mandate. Fifty-two representatives from the pharmaceutical industry, the CDC and the FDA gathered at the retreat for two days of discussions, with the main topic of discussion revolving around a presentation regarding statistical research, on reported adverse side effects of vaccines derived from the Vaccine Safety Datalink, that had been conducted by Dr. Thomas Verstraeten.
Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices
The meeting also served as a prelude to high level government vaccine policy-making meetings, held by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), which sets vaccine policy within the US for the CDC. The session was also to serve as the initial meeting of the ACIP work group on thimerosal and immunization. Dr. John Modlin, a faculty member at Dartmouth Medical School, was the chair of the ACIP at the time of the CDC's Simpsonwood conference.
On January 12, 2001, members of ACIP's vaccine policymaking committee met to discuss claims that children given mercury in vaccines had a much higher rate of autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and other neurodevelopmental disorders.
Proceedings were embargoed until June 21, prior to planned publication at ACIP. Publication in the event did not occur until 2003. After the conference, the CDC did not release Dr. Verstraeten's initial findings; instead, further analysis was conducted by Verstraeten and a revised publication was released in 2003.
Criticism of report delays
By the time Verstraeten published the amended study results in 2003, he had gone to work for GlaxoSmithKline. Critics contend that the delay in publication was to afford Verstraeten sufficient time fix the data around what they allege to be the CDC's objective of obscuring the link between thimerosal and autism. Dr. Verstraeten denies the allegations, and has published a substantial account of the matter in the journal Pediatrics. In September 2007, a report of the US Senate's committee on health, education, labor and pensions rejected allegations of impropriety .
Among the attendees were the top vaccine specialist from the World Health Organization and representatives of every major vaccine manufacturer, including GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Wyeth and Aventis Pasteur. A partial list of the participants:
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "2000_Simpsonwood_CDC_conference". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|