I’ve been accused, occasionally, of being a pharma shill. Pharmaceutical companies make obscene profits! They’re paying off people to hide the dangers of their drugs! And there is a tiny grain of truth: those companies do reap great profits. Be the first to patent a Viagra or Zoloft, and the money will come rolling in.
But there’s so much investment required! You need to test thousands of drugs to find one that does anything; then there’s all the animal testing, the clinical trials, the regulatory oversight, the lawsuits that follow from side-effects (and if the drug is actually potent, there will be side-effects). No, that’s not for me. If I wanted to be really rich, and had no conscience at all, I’d go straight to Big Alt Med.
No testing! Cheap products! In the case of homeopathy, you can market tiny bottles of water! Supplements are almost entirely unregulated, nobody cares if you’re selling pills stuffed with sawdust. It’s miraculous sums of money for entirely non-miraculous garbage, plus a lot of promises.
Except that bit about conscience and a sense of shame. That’s a sticking point. And I wonder if a tiny vestige of shame is what killed James Jeffrey Bradstreet.
James Jeffrey Bradstreet committed suicide. His fans tried to deny it — they thought Big Pharma had had him executed — but the thorough story in the Washington Post shows otherwise.
Bradstreet was convinced that he had a cure for autism. His wonder cure was something called GcMAF, which, when injected into autistic people, marvelously and rapidly and with a phenomenal success rate, ‘cured’ them. A company called Immuno Tech was producing this drug.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work, has no reason to work, and hasn’t even been tested.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is clear: GcMAF is not a recognized treatment for autism.
“GcMAF treatments are considered investigational, and none are approved or licensed for use by the FDA in the U.S.,” the agency said in a statement sent to The Washington Post.
Nearly all doctors agree.
“Given there is no evidence that modulating the immune system would have any benefit for children with autism spectrum disorder – especially given ASD’s genetic or epigenetic basis – I am not sure why Dr. Bradstreet would want to use this for ASD,” Peter Jay Hotez, dean of Baylor’s National School of Tropical Medicine, told The Post in an e-mail.
It’s not even clear if GcMAF injections are safe. An initial “safety study” — the first of its kind — is still trying to recruit participants.
And surprise, surprise, surprise: Bradstreet was connected to Immuno Biotech, and was profiting off this snake oil. I thought only Big Pharma Shills did that!
What he did not disclose, however, was that much of the research he cited had already been discredited and retracted; the journal considering Bradstreet’s paper was the scientific equivalent of self-publishing, and Bradstreet had close ties to Noakes and Immuno Biotech.
Then it all came tumbling down. His clinic was raided.
Four months after First Immune was shut down, the feds came knocking on Bradstreet’s Buford, Ga., clinic.
A search warrant dated June 16 and obtained by The Washington Post shows that authorities were explicitly looking for GcMAF, as well as other “misbranded drugs.”
The raid took place on June 18, the day before Bradstreet died, Noakes told The Post in a phone interview. Agents from the FDA and the Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency confiscated vials of GcMAF, medical records, lists of clients and associated companies, computers and financial records, according to the search warrant.
Had he been indicted, Bradstreet would have faced up to 20 years in prison, according to Forbes, which first obtained the search warrant.
Then people started dying after their treatments with GcMAF.
In Switzerland, three newspapers reported that very morning that a First Immune clinic run by Noakes had been shut down. Five patients being treated with GcMAF had died, the papers reported. Some had been spending up to 6,000 euros (about $6,500) a week for their treatment.
“Private clinic under criminal investigation after five deaths,” ran the headline in newspaper 24 Heures.
And after that, Bradstreet killed himself. I suppose it could have been a response to bankruptcy, imprisonment, and public repudiation, but I’ll do him the favor of thinking it was a small fragment of honor buried deep in his brain that rose up in the face of disgrace and killed him.
I’ve got a little bit of that self-respect, too, so I guess I won’t go into the alt med business, even though I’ve got this great idea for a medicine to cure gullibility. There’s a huge market! A market full of people who don’t think they need a cure, unfortunately.