Dr. Shiv Chopra is a world renowned scientist, author and public speaker. As a former employee of Health Canada (the Canadian equivalent of the US FDA) for 35 years, he was the Senior Scientific Advisor for the regulatory assessment of food and drugs, including new vaccines. When he changed job titles from human prescription drugs to the Bureau of Veterinary Drugs, the first file that landed on his desk was Eli Lilly's application to use rBGH in Canada.
In this interview he discusses subjects covered in his most recent book, Corrupt to the Core, which chronicles his many decades fighting for scientific principles against profit-hungry corporations and ultimately against his own bosses and the Canadian government itself.
You may remember Dr. Shiv Chopra from my interview with him in 2010, discussing some of the same subjects covered in his new book. He is truly an expert on these topics, having spent 18 years on vaccines and antibiotics for humans with Health Canada. But he also spent another 17 years in the Human Safety Evaluation of Drugs given to food-producing animals, with the Bureau of Veterinary Drugs.
He was eventually removed from his Veterinary Drugs post for "insubordination", a charge that he not only refutes, but is currently pursuing a wrongful dismissal suit in the Canadian legal system.
Dr. Chopra's First Battle: Vaccines
As a member of Canada's Food and Drug Directorate starting in 1969, Dr. Chopra had a seat on the governmental agency charged with protecting consumers against harmful drugs, and immediately he was pressured to approve vaccines that he objected to on scientific grounds. Despite his objections, after experts from the United States were brought in and "yelled and screamed" at his staff, the vaccines were approved.
According to Dr. Chopra:
"After 1967, after the thalidomide affair, there was going to be very rigorous health and safety standards for all drugs including vaccines in both the United States and Canada… Canada was ahead of the United States [in] that they started to consider vaccines as drugs.
The moment I joined…the first vaccines that landed on my desk were rubella and later on, mumps, and some later versions of measles. I objected to it. I said, 'I see problems in these because these are minor diseases and most people get immune by age 15. Why are we going to give these vaccines that have never been tested?'
I knew they were made in monkey kidney tissue and we have had problems with the polio vaccine…
… My suggestion was, why don't we test women at the age of 15 and 16? Those who are not yet immune then may be given the vaccine?
Of course, the companies didn't want that. They wanted 100 percent or at least 80 percent of the children vaccinated. That was the only way they were going to make money. So they flew in hordes of people from the United States -- of all people, Dr. Hilleman, you may remember him. He himself came. He was effectively yelling and screaming at my department that the United States has passed it and so forth. In any case, the vaccines were passed.
We now know from history that those vaccines have been used for more than 40 years and the diseases, all of them, are still here. Meanwhile, autism, diabetes, and all kinds of autoimmune diseases have increased.
We don't know what damage we're doing -- actually we know that in association with those vaccines, chronic diseases in children have increased. But nobody is paying attention. Everybody is denying that."
At the time of the Canadian approval of scientifically questionable vaccines, even government studies in the US questioned the effectiveness of vaccines.
But not only was no one listening to the arguments about vaccine efficacy, the medical community at that time, according to Dr. Chopra, was also in deep denial about the steep drop in infectious diseases before vaccines gained widespread usage:
"…Back in 1971, there was an investigation in the United States that influenza vaccines was not working and one man, Dr. Anthony Morris, a senior scientist, was fired. And then an investigation occurred and there was a congressional inquiry. They looked at 200 vaccines and they ruled that they were all useless vaccines.
Ironically, those vaccines have never been removed from the ledgers and DPT was never talked about. Again, medical people know, a lot of scientists know, the CDC, U.S. FDA, other departments, medical departments, medical professionals, they are all denying that all these infectious diseases had started to decrease in the early 1940s."
With this early battle over vaccines, Dr. Chopra witnessed the pattern that would become familiar during his tenure as a scientist at various governmental regulatory agencies. First, the findings of scientists would be neglected, overruled or ignored. Second, corporations would use their influence and money to bend governmental policy towards maximum corporate profits.
This model has dominated governmental health policy for the last 40 years, and has recently taken a turn for the worse. Today, the regulators are merely corporate insiders from the very industries they are assigned to regulate.
Just how Much Protection are Government "Regulators" Providing?
According to Dr. Chopra's 35 years of experience as a scientist fighting to protect the public health in Canada – not much!
Corrupt to the Core is a fascinating commentary on the entire system of drug approvals, and how the system originally designed to protect the public health, whether in the US or Canada, has been hopelessly corrupted by corporate money and corporate cronyism that views industry as the "client" instead of the public.
Again and again, we see this repeating pattern: when concerned scientists who really understand the issues voice their concerns, they're oftentimes fired or overruled by bureaucrats holding MBA's. According to Dr. Chopra:
"Non-technical people, accountants, lawyers, and MBAs and all kinds of people were appointed as our bosses; who didn't want to listen [to our scientific findings]. That was the style. MBAs can buy science and scientists don't know how to manage science. That was the trend. It all came out of Harvard -- the idea of how to manage scientific areas and health areas.
That is part of the corruption that began a long time ago. It was triggered out of the United States, particularly the Harvard model; everybody has to be an MBA. Doctors are sidelined, the scientists are sidelined, and engineers are sidelined... It will be those accountants and MBAs who will make the decisions."
Scientists are dismissed because they interfere with the collusion between government and these large multinational corporations whose primary intent is to increase their profits – not to serve the public health.
The Canadian system is perhaps even worse than the US, as Canada only performs paper verification and doesn't do any testing of their own on these products, which the US has the capacity to do.
Either way, the regulatory system we now have in the US and in Canada is a well greased, politically run operation where companies are NOT required to prove the safety and efficacy of their product in peer-reviewed scientific literature.
All they have to do is manipulate the regulatory authorities to approve their product, and they can then use that approval as proof and documentation -- rather than the actual science -- that their product is declared safe! Then they have plausible deniability for any health catastrophes that follow, since they can just blame the government for giving them approval.
If you think you deserve better protection than this from your government, then I encourage you to make your voice heard. As long as the masses stay silent on this subject, the systemic silencing of government scientists is guaranteed to continue.
Dr. Chopra's Second Battle: Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH)
In 1988, Dr. Chopra's plan was to transfer to the less contentious public policy branch of Veterinary Drugs in the Canadian government, where he might enjoy a few quiet years before retirement, but no sooner did he arrive when the application from Eli Lilly for rBGH in Canada's dairy cows landed on his desk.
So much for a few quiet years before retirement!
Dr. Chopra questioned the safety of rBGH and fought to keep it out of Canada's food supply. According to Dr. Chopra:
"My colleagues were saying, it's the same as natural. We don't need to ask any questions. The recommendation was "Just pass it." I said, "you can't pass it. You have to ask questions. It's genetically modified." They said, it's the same as the cow's own. I said, "It doesn't matter. Even if you took natural BST/BGH and you gave injections of it, it could harm the cow and ultimately it might come out in the milk, anything else may happen, people are going to drink that milk."
They kept on arguing. I said,"'Can you give insulin when it's not needed? No, you'll kill people if you give more than what is necessary." I used the same argument.
They said, 'What test can we do?' I said, 'Normal tests.' This is a growth hormone.
If you inject it in some animals, rats, we should find out whether it produces some other hormones. For instance, it could affect the pancreas. There could be more insulin. There could be more progesterone. There could be more thyroxin. This is a normal thing for a veterinarian to ask.
Veterinarians are effectively toxicologists.
Unlike medical people, we learn comparative medicine. So therefore, this is a way to compare and see what species do. The law is that every drug, any product that directly or indirectly gets into the human body must be tested in at least two species of animals, one of which must be non-rodent. It must also be tested in pregnant animals. Then it also must be tested to see whether it produces cancer by lifetime studies in rats and mice and so forth.
None of these studies have been done on the bovine growth hormone.
Anyway, the product sat there unapproved. And then we saw that when it was actually given to cows it produced double births in cows, and their hooves were elongated, the horns and joints were swollen. They said, don't worry about the cow, we're only concerned about the milk so don't worry about the cow's safety. But what about the human safety aspect of it?
This went on and on and ultimately, I had dug my heels in, my colleagues also did the same thing… [Then] pressure [for approval] came from the highest offices of the Canadian government, including the Prime Minister and the Privy Council, the highest offices."
So as rBGH neared regulatory approval despite the scientific concern, Dr. Chopra and his colleagues took their argument directly to the public:
"We couldn't do anything about it, so we filed complaints. Because we filed the complaints through our union, it became public. When it became public, the farmers of Canada, the public of Canada, they all were complaining about rBGH.
This now got their attention and I, with my colleagues, were hauled before the Canadian Senate. This is where the first spillage of information occurred before it became very public. Finally, rBGH was not approved in Canada. The U.S. approved it, where it is still approved. .
The U.S. is now the only major country where [rBGH] is approved. Mind you, a lot of people now object to it."
As I said earlier, which was proven by this Canadian example concerning rBGH, if the public stands up for their right to a safe food and drug supply and lets their collective voice be heard, then the system may be forced to stop the "business as usual" practice of subverting scientific concern over approving dangerous food and drugs.
According to Dr. Chopra, corruption is not only systemic in the regulatory process, it's also infected the judicial branch of government; and it's now threatening to infect all corners of the globe. And this corruption is leading to very real public health consequences.
In Dr. Chopra's words:
"[Recently] the United States Supreme Court said that if people get damaged, if the children get damaged due to vaccine, they can't sue either the government or the companies -- by what right?
Who is to decide to shove vaccines into people who don't want it?
Who decides what food they should eat, whether it's GMO or contaminated with all those toxic products: antibiotics, and GMO's and pesticides and slaughterhouse waste?
Seventy-six million people in the United States get food-borne infections every year. About 5000 people die. In Canada, 11 million people, 1/3 of the population every year gets acute food-borne disease. Nobody talks about chronic food-borne disease; diabetes, obesity, heart attacks. All those things that are happening and nobody seems to care.
…Corruption is now hitting us all over. Every country is involved in this.
The U.S. has passed this bill, 510. Canada has passed a similar bill. India is passing a similar bill. They are even saying that if you criticize a government approved product without your own proof, you go to jail."
To read more about Dr. Chopra's battles as a scientist against the corrupting influence of corporations seeking to maximize their profits at the expense of public health, please read his newest book Corrupt to the Core.