In a 2012 talk on the subject of adverse reaction reporting and drug safety regulators, Prof David Healy states that "You're operating in a world these days, whether you're a clinician or a patient, where you're being told you cannot believe the evidence of your own eyes".
Victims suffering serious reactions to the HPV vaccine who read the conclusions of the recent EMA Safety Review may have found themselves asking "Why can't I see myself?".."Does it make me invisible?".."Something is wrong here". The same questions asked by the unfortunate victims of this German tv bathroom mirror prank.
"Not believing the evidence, even when it gets to a point where it's overwhelming" is the reality Prof Healy exposes, explaining that "Noone pays heed, all adverse reaction reports will be regarded as anecdotal and disregarded".
The bathroom mirror prank serves as a useful allegory for the symbiotic relationship between Drug Safety Regulators and Vaccine Makers, especially when it concerns going through the motions of producing a "Safety Review" for public consumption.
When a recent confidential EMA internal report on the HPV vaccine safety review was leaked, the farcical levels to which both parties will go to in order to synchronise their results and 'cloak' the existence of serious reactions was exposed.
It must be said that this mirror prank is not a completely true allegory in all cases. In 2010, the head of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) set up his own consultancy business to advise pharmaceutical industry clients while he was still employed as the head of EMA. But obviously, in the above prank, it is not actually the same person on both sides of the 'mirror'.
Prof Healy states "What we have to do is to restore our ability to believe the evidence of our own eyes". You can now do that by taking the time to read the EMA complaint.