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The advertisements plastered across city bus stops and flooding television airwaves across Maine make a simple plea to voters: “Reject Big Pharma” by voting yes on a state-wide initiative.

But the referendum that Maine voters will decide on Tuesday, known as Question 1, has little to do with drug prices. Instead, approval would overturn a 2019 law that requires all schoolchildren to receive vaccinations unless granted an exemption by a doctor. The advertisements, meanwhile, are funded in large part not by drug pricing activists but by a nationwide network of anti-vaccine groups.


The media blitz marks a new effort by anti-vaccine activists to win new adherents, and to do so by co-opting public anger toward pharmaceutical companies — not just over exorbitant drug prices but because of the industry’s role in the opioid crisis, which has hit Maine hard.

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  • Vaccines prevent diseases and deaths. That is a very historically proven fact. The pharmaceutical companies that make all the dire-need vaccines don’t make huge profits on vaccines, this is just ignorant un-informed off-the-rails hype protrayed in this campaign, herding un-informed sheep to the wrong decision. Anit-vaxxers : stay out of our lives, go live on a remote island. You make everyone else sick.

  • Perhaps they should use this slogan. Following are criminal penalties and fines levied by the US government agencies on a few pharmaceutical companies since 2001 – AstraZeneca, 21 records and $1,147,578,284 in fines
    Eli Lilly, 22 records, $1,641,180,176 in fines
    GSK, 33 records, $4,422,266,058 in fines
    J&J, 53 records, $4,244,089,549 in fines
    Merck, 65 records, $3,303,980,728 in fines
    Novartis, 38 records, $1,345,146,943 in fines
    Pfizer, 77 records, $4,707,962,947 in fines
    Sanofi, 24 records, $629,823,454 in fines.
    Amongst the above companies, Merck, Pfizer, Sanofi and GSK manufacture vaccines that are liability-free. Yet they have a collective record of 199 convictions by US government agencies and $13 Billion in fines and settlements for criminal and ethical transgressions for products that carry full liability. In total the pharmaceutical industry has paid out $38,272,710,449 in fines since 2001 in the USA alone. The above fines do not include civil cases.

  • Why people believe the long debunked internet myths rather than the health department, CDC, pediatrician, physician is beyond me. Darwin’s Theory is the only explanation.

    I say let the parents home school their kids without vaccinations so the public schools can protect the rest of our children. Too bad if they have to work as well to feed their kids and keep a roof over their heads.

    Not like my neighbor does. The kids are in the yard playing all day long. The oldest (10) can’t read at grade level. My wife and her reads books together. They don’t have any children’s books at home. Just the internet and TV. Offered to get the kids a library card. Parents declined.

    If you are going to home school your children they should be tested annually to find out if they are meeting school district standards. They need to have teacher that visit the home to monitor the teaching, provide textbooks and resource for the parents. And a mechanism to require failed home schooling to attend public school WITH vaccinations. Parents simply have to make a choice and commitment to educate their children one way or another.

    If you don’t meet your child’s basic needs, you can be charged with neglect. That usually means supervision,food, hygiene, basic home safety, and a roof.

    I would like to hear the readers opinions whether or not educations should be one of those criteria.

  • There was a statement how the flu kills thousands a year. There weren’t any statements on how many died in the USA from Measles, or whooping cough. Why not? Because the one person who died had been immunized! Thank you.

    • Really? What is your source for your information? Not the CDC. Must be Faux news.

      My source: ‘no deaths were reported to CDC’

      “During January 1–October 1, 2019, a total of 1,249 measles cases were reported in 31 states and New York City,† including 1,211 (97%) among U.S. residents. Median patient age was 6 years (interquartile range [IQR] = 2–22 years); 13% were infants aged <12 months (not routinely recommended to receive MMR vaccine), 31% were children aged 1–4 years, 27% were school-aged children aged 5–17 years, and 29% were adults aged ≥18 years (Table). Among all measles patients, 1,107 (89%) were unvaccinated or vaccination status was unknown, and 142 (11%) had received ≥1 MMR vaccination. Most cases (1,054, 84%) were laboratory-confirmed; among 714 (57%) cases for which specimens were available for molecular sequencing, genotypes B3 (49, 7%) and D8 (665, 93%) were identified. Overall, 119 (10%) patients were hospitalized (median age 6 years, IQR = 1–33 years; 20% were infants aged <12 months), 60 (5%) had pneumonia, and one (0.1%) had encephalitis; no deaths were reported to CDC. Eighty-one cases were imported from other countries§ including 52 (64%) cases in U.S. residents returning from travel abroad. Among these 81 internationally imported measles cases, 73 (90%) were in unvaccinated persons or persons for whom vaccination status was unknown."

      For Whooping Cough / Pertussis

      You will have to read it but no statement about vaccinations status of those who died. However:

      "In a large new Kaiser Permanente study, children who were up to date on their pertussis vaccine schedule were far less likely to develop the disease than unvaccinated children. However, most pertussis cases were in fully vaccinated children. The risk of vaccinated children becoming ill increased with the time since vaccination, suggesting that waning effectiveness between doses was a significant contributor to recent outbreaks."

      Yes, vaccines have never been 100% effective. Significantly reduces risk and severity of the disease. People's immune systems vary widely along with nutrition, environment, etc.

      Yes, the flu kills thousands each year So get your flu shot and pneumonia vaccine….

  • Maybe these anti vaxxers should tell their corrupt elected officials to “Reject Big Pharma Cash. We all know that big pharma is corrupt, but vaxxines actually save lives and prevent hospitalizations. The US is full of alternate facts, many were promoted by advertisers, and social media influencers. People have plenty of reason to distrust big pharma, and the system in general. People who refuse to vaccinate are selfish, they do not care about their fellow human beings, or even the costs of not vaccinating.

    • I will not argue that the pharmaceutical industry is corporate greed at its worst.

      I disagree that vaccines are the big profit makers for drug companies. Most of the patents have expired. They are generic drugs.

      Try this on for size and ponder it. Where is the most money to be made?

      Curing / Preventing a disease or just TREATING IT?

      You decide for yourself.

  • A liability free product being mandated on every child needs to be looked at thoroughly. The pharmaceutical industry is not known as the most ethical, there is no reason that vaccines should be treated any differently than any other drug. Unfortunately they are considered Biologics so have more lax safety testing requirements. In light of this, the should not be liability free and should not be mandated. It’s one or the other, having liability free, mandated, lightly tested products is a recipe for a disaster. 🙁

    • I agree … the safety testing on vaccines is scant at best from my review of the literature. Also, there are no good studies indicating the outcome of shooting kids up with multiple vaccines at one doctors visit. I am a physician by training and have been horrified to see medical professionals give up to 5 different vaccinations to 1 to 3 year olds at one sitting. It is entirely possible that this is over taxing their undeveloped immune system and leading to brain damage, seizure disorders , or possible autism or Autism spectrum disorders. For those who think not – then let’s do the proper controlled, Long-term studies to probably rule all the scenarios out

  • A number of statements in this article are false, or misleading. No where does this article mention that profit margins are lower on vaccines, because a US 1986 law (1986 Vaccine Safety Act) prevents vaccine manufacturers from being liable for damages caused by these products, and a 2011 US Supreme Court decision (Brusewitz vs Wyeth) clearly defined vaccines as “Unavoidably Unsafe”, in defense of this law.

    The amount of money made by pharmaceutical corporations on autoimmune conditions treatments ($500B) approaches near 100x that garnered by the vaccines ($6B) which have been clearly demonstrated to cause these effects in non-human subjects (study on humans is deemed “unethical”).

    This isn’t hard to research, in the modern day. Why wasn’t it researched by the article author?

  • There is no reason to trust Big pHarma with the health of our children. Forcing harmful and liability-free medical products upon healthy children is immoral, unethical and reckless. Its time to end the blind trust in the for profit medical industry. Make USA free again.

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