It’s a common tactic of suuporters of alternative medicine or other pseudoscience related to medicine to try to smear defenders of medical science as being hopelessly in the thrall of pharmaceutical companies, or, as they like to call it, “big pharma.” For example, the anti-vaccine movement in general, and Generation Rescue in particular, love to use this gambit, for which I coined a phrase back in 2005 (at least I think I coined it), the pharma shill gambit.
I’ve always wondered what would happen if we defenders of science-based medicine attempted a “reverse pharma shill gambit,” if you will. Now I think I know. The hypocrisy of the anti-vaccine movement knows no bounds. I’ve actually challenged the odd AoA member on this, and their invariable reply is that these are relatively small companies and pharma is big. Sorry, that doesn’t work. If Lee Silsby et al are providing AoA with a significant cash infusion for advertising relative to its budget, then it’s just as much a potentially corrupting influence as Sanofi Aventis, Pfizer, or Bristol-Myers-Squibb buying advertising in a medical journal.
ADDENDUM: A photo of the dreaded Lee Silsby in Cleveland Heights taken this winter during a visit to my old stomping grounds. (I used to live only two or three miles away back in the 1990s.)