Wednesday, January 23, 2008

ABC drama series takes pseudo science to primetime. TV writing reaches a new low.

ABC is launching a new legal drama revolving around a family with an autistic child. The father is an attorney who starts having second thoughts about defending pharmaceutical companies. After a moment of inspiration, or an overdose of late night infomercials, he decides to sue big pharma for creating vaccines that cause autism.

In other news, the same network will launch a reality series focusing on the aerodynamics of pigs vying for the X Prize.

Frankly, I am not a big fan of railing against corporations, but ABC and parent Disney better provide an honest effort to correct a message that is sure to fan the flames of the vaccine-autism quacks. What is wrong with these people? I realize the writers are on strike, but reverting to an issue that clearly puts children in harms way by convincing more parents that vaccines are wrong is irresponsible. It wipes any type of CSR and save-the-world intentions the companies claims to abide by. For people like myself who try to make vaccines more widely available by either developing delivery technologies, or others who work on actual vaccines, this is a straight up insult.

It's one thing to see a one-time episode of ripped-from-the-headlines plots like in Law and Order. It's another thing to make a complete series whose sole aim of entertaining can undermine years of public health education.

I hope it gets cancelled. I hope it never gets syndicated to other markets, particularly in the developing world, where vaccines are often the most reliable way of securing a child's life. I hope they put back to back Surgeon's General warnings before and after the show. I hope they pledge the a portion of the profits to GAVI. Let's see if they put that in the Annual Report.

Don't send your letters to me, send them to ABC.

More at NYTimes

PS This is our first official rant. :)

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