Canadian doctor James Kellner receives $3 million from pharmaceutical giants, but is portrayed as a disinterested expert by journalists.
As parents try to decide whether to vaccinate their children against COVID-19, the mainstream media is failing them. Rather than helping the public make truly informed decisions, journalists naively report the words of experts, while ignoring massive conflicts-of-interest.
A marvelous exception to this rule can be found at True North News whose writers lean conservative. Both of Canada’s national dailies have warned their own readers that True North is right-wing (see here and here). The implication, presumably, is that one needs to beware of right-wing bias.
Too bad these dailies aren’t similarly concerned about the bias that results from significant financial incentives. In a brilliant piece titled Media didn’t disclose doctor’s $2M in Pfizer funding in coverage promoting child vaccination, True North journalist Cosmin Dzsurdzsa points out that Canadian pediatrician and University of Calgary professor James Kellner has been
cited as an authority in dozens of articles published by CTV News, CBC, Global News, the Toronto Star, and the Globe and Mail on vaccinating children and other pandemic related issues…Throughout the pieces where Kellner is cited, he is alternatively referenced to as a “professor and researcher,” “pediatrician”, “infectious disease specialist at the Alberta Children’s Hospital,” ”infectious disease expert”, “member of the federal COVID-19 Immunity Taskforce” and other variations. [all hyperlinks in original]
None of these media outlets, reports Dzsurdzsa, told readers that Kellner is knee deep in Big Pharma cash. Page 12 of Kellner’s online CV says that, since 2014, he has received three grants from Pfizer, totaling $1.9 million. The current one, spanning the years 2019-2022, is the largest. Pfizer is currently – at this very moment – funding Kellner’s research to the tune of $787,000. Pfizer is the manufacturer of the COVID vaccine now approved for kids as young as five in Canada.
Pfizer research grants to James Kellner
total grants from Pfizer: $1,940,443 (see page 12 here)
This influential, well-connected pediatrician regularly receives research funding from government agencies, but his CV also reveals close financial ties with a second pharmaceutical giant, GlaxoSmithKline. Kellner has performed contract work worth three-quarters of a million ($778,703) for that multinational since 2015.
GlaxoSmithKline contracts with James Kellner
total contracts with GSK: $778,703 (see page 13 here)
Since 2019, the good doctor has also done contract work for Merck, a third pharma giant, to the tune of $345,000.
Merck contract with James Kellner
total contracts with Merck: $345,945 (see page 13 here)
Altogether, this adds up to just over $3 million. That’s a non-trivial amount of money. 48% of these funds were awarded during the past three years (total grants/contracts beginning in 2019 onward: $1,459,451).
Given that people don’t usually bite the hand that feeds them, would we really expect a doctor so extensively funded by Big Pharma to say anything negative about any aspect of Big Pharma’s COVID role?
And what do we suppose would happen to Kellner’s cozy Big Pharma relationships if, like retired doctor John Cunnington, he declared that children don’t need these vaccines because their risk of dying from COVID is already negligible?
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November 24, 2021 at 06:06AM