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Another Hero Of The Anti-Vaccine Movement Bites The Dust

Posted Jun 29 2010 2:49pm

So says Steven Salzberg in a Forbes blog post, Another Hero Of The Anti-Vaccine Movement Bites The Dust . Prof. Salzberg is referring to the recent FDA warning letter sent to Mr. Haley about his product, OSR#1. The FDA has warned Mr. Haley that his “supplement” meets the criteria for a drug and the testing involved indicates that there may be serious side effects.

Prof. Salzberg introduces Mr. Haley as a “hero of the antivaccine movement” for his outspoken positions on mercury, especially on thimerosal and autism. Prof. Salzberg poses and answers his own question:

Is Haley simply a confused chemist who fails to understand epidemiological evidence? Or does he have another agenda?

Well, he does: money.

The rest of the piece does not go favorably for Mr. Haley.

Why did the FDA send CTI Science, Inc. a warning letter about OSR#1®?

The FDA sent CTI Science, Inc. a warning letter dated June 17, 2010. They state that OSR#1® is not a dietary supplement because N1, N3-bis(2-mercaptoethyl)isophthalamide is not a known dietary ingredient. However, N1, N3-bis(2-mercaptoethyl)isophthalamide is a combination of two dietary ingredients, benzoate and cystamine coupled together by an amide linkage which is naturally found in proteins coupling amino acids together. The FDA further states that CTI Science, Inc. makes drug claims on its packaging, website and promotional material. CTI Science, Inc. does not believe that the claims it previously made about OSR#1® were drug claims. However, all claims the FDA referenced in its letter were removed from the website. The FDA further states that there may be a safety issue with regard to OSR#1®, because diarrhea was experienced in animal subjects when fed OSR#1® dissolved in corn oil by gavage three times daily at a rate of 5g per kg body weight. This would be the equivalent of 500g for a 220lb person or 5,000 capsules plus a bolus of corn oil. CTI Science, Inc. does not believe this diarrhea is a toxic effect as the animals continued to gain weight like controls and did not develop any toxic effects like ataxia. Using this definition any food, like milk, would be toxic if taken at such a high level.

The Company is evaluating the FDA letter and preparing its response

Now I am not a former chemistry professor, but a few points in the above statement struck me as odd.

First, he notes that his product is the combination of two dietary ingredients. Well, if the resulting chemical isn’t found in foods, isn’t that the real definition of “dietary ingredient”? It doesn’t matter what the source materials are. Heck, can’t you have synthetic sources of “dietary ingredients”? It is the end product, not the source materials that count.

Second, he hasn’t addressed all the issues that the FDA brought up in the warning letter.

However, animal studies that you conducted found various side effects to be associated with OSR#1 use, including, but not limited to, soiling of the anogenital area, alopecia on the lower trunk, back and legs, a dark substance on lower trunk and anogenital area, abnormalities of the pancreas, and lymphoid hyperplasia

Hair loss, “abnormalities of the pancreas”, “lymphoid hyperplasia”. Those are not mentioned on the OSR website.

Third, ” Using this definition any food, like milk, would be toxic if taken at such a high level.”. Did Mr. Haley just make a “the dose makes the poison” argument in his defense? Many people promoting the idea that mercury causes autism have rejected the “dose makes the poison” idea, claiming that any amount of mercury is toxic.

Back to Prof. Salzberg’s post. One observation: Forbes magazine is taking on the alternative medical community and their “treatments” for autism, at least in this one case. But take a look at the tags attached to the piece: “antivaccinationist, Autism, Boyd Haley, chelation, mercury, pseudoscience, thimerosal, vaccines”. Ouch.

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