This article was originally published by Robert Batemarco at The Mises Institute.
The Real Anthony Fauci is an iconoclastic book which slays enough sacred cows to keep McDonald’s freezers stocked for years. While Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has often been labeled an “anti-vaxxer,” there is no logical inconsistency in supporting the idea of vaccines in general and also seeing problems with specific vaccines. His direct criticism of the covid vaccine, however, is a smaller part of this book than one might think.
More than critiquing vaccines, this book exposes Anthony Fauci’s career as a case study in crony capitalism. The key players are the government regulatory agencies headed by Fauci and the major pharmaceutical companies. Big Pharma pursues Fauci’s agenda and he pursues theirs. Kennedy lays out in painstaking detail the nuts and bolts of this process. One key mechanism is the PI (principal investigator) system. PIs are physicians acting for drug companies who are hired to conduct clinical trials. Through PIs, Fauci controls the direction of most US biomedical research (pp. 135–36). Those who disagree with Fauci are either denied funding, greatly diminishing if not destroying their careers, or keep their heterodox ideas to themselves as the price of maintaining their careers.1
As to the covid vaccines, Kennedy definitely finds fault with the process by which they were brought to market. He correctly points out that the breakneck speed of that process made it all but impossible to determine their long-term safety. Clinical trials designed to last three years were declared successful after only six months. At that six-month point, control group members were all vaccinated, thus eliminating further comparison of adverse events with the test group (p. 72). This criticism is the opposite of the more typical one leveled against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), that it drags its feet in approving new products, leading to needless suffering and death that could be prevented by earlier approval.2
Suppression of off-label use of existing therapies hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin to treat covid is another tool utilized by crony capitalists.3 Off-label use of prescription drugs approved by the FDA is perfectly legal. The real reason for the suppression of such drugs is not that they are being used off-label but that they are off-patent and thus do little for their producers’ bottom lines. The elimination of off-label competitors to patentable therapies lets the latter reap massive profits.4 There is nothing wrong with profits, even massive profits, earned in free and open competition. Thanks to Fauci, the market for covid treatment was anything but free and open.
Fauci suppressed off-label use of hydroxychloroquine by encouraging discussions of it to be pulled from social media, by sabotaging its clinical trials by testing doses six times the recommended levels (p. 26), and by pulling sixty-three million doses of the medicine off the market, safely away from covid sufferers they could have helped (p. 28). Fauci also provided cover for those who threatened doctors and pharmacists with loss of licenses and jobs for prescribing and dispensing hydroxychloroquine for covid (pp. 31–32). The story of ivermectin is similar.
Regulators gave a leg up to remdesivir, a drug with over fifteen years of patent protection remaining. The ACTT-1 trial for remdesivir did not achieve its primary goal of lower covid mortality. The best it could do was show a statistically significant reduction in hospital stays from fifteen days to ten (p. 65). Casting further light on the advisability of FDA approval, a Chinese study published in The Lancet found that remdesivir meets neither the safety nor efficacy criteria for approval (p. 66). In fact, it had severe enough side effects on 12 percent of patients to remove them from the trials, compared to only 5 percent in the placebo group. Did Fauci let this get in the way of approving remdesivir? Of course not. At his April 29, 2021, White House press conference, he ignored the Chinese results and on the basis of two weak US trials not yet subjected to peer review announced remdesivir would from then on be the new “standard of care” (p. 66).
This is only chapter 1, which could make a full book on its own. Chapters following this discussion recount what led up to Fauci’s mishandling of covid. They specifically point to the outbreak of AIDS in the early 1980s, when Fauci developed his playbook of suppressing dissent and opposing repurposing of already approved drugs for early treatment.
Kennedy next takes aim at Bill Gates for disregarding the right of clinical-trial participants in Africa and India to informed consent, surreptitiously foisting population control measures on them, and failing to devote any of his vast resources to such nonpharmacological public health measures as clean water and proper nutrition. A short chapter on earlier episodes of viral infections that played themselves out before the populace could be whipped into the fear-fueled frenzy that developed in 2020 and a longer chapter illustrating the development of bioweapons and the substantial overlap in both personnel and methods between the military-industrial complex and the pharma-industrial complex round out the book.
While Kennedy raises important questions and gives many plausible answers in attacking his targets, not all of his punches land. On page 77, Kennedy criticizes Pfizer for spinning one death in the vaccine group versus two in the placebo group as saying their vaccine reduces risk of death by one-half. The article Kennedy cites actually does not draw the conclusion he accuses it of. To quote them, “Causes of death were balanced between BNT162b2 and placebo groups (Table S4).” To compound this, on the next page Kennedy makes the same mistake he criticizes Pfizer for, citing five times as much heart failure in those taking the vaccine than in those not vaccinated, a statistically insignificant difference under 0.002 percent (p. 78).
Kennedy contradicts himself in castigating Bill Gates for an HIV vaccine and antiviral drugs he sees as harmful5 while at the same time taking him to task for refusing to waive his patents on those treatments (pp. 303–04). If he really thinks the covid vaccines cause unacceptable levels of death and injury (pp. 87–91) and do not reduce covid mortality (p. 305), then how can he argue for an action that would push more of these drugs on the long-suffering peoples of Africa and India?
This is the first book I ever read in which I noticed a challenge to those targeted in its pages to send their critiques and corrections to the author, who promises to deal with them appropriately (p. xiii). I hope many take him up on this. The last flaw of the book that I wish to mention, which may make it difficult to take the author up on his challenge, is that it lacks an index. What good is the wealth of detail this book provides without a way to easily access it? … especially when it contains so much well worth accessing.
Despite the problems I have referred to, I believe the core elements of The Real Anthony Fauci are correct. Kennedy has shown great courage in following the facts to a place where big-government liberals such as himself would normally be loath to go. Criticism of a few power-hungry and venal individuals such as Fauci and Gates, however welcome, is not enough. If both these men were to leave public life tomorrow, they would be unlikely to be replaced by better people. Maybe someday Kennedy will go beyond seeing government as having a legitimate role in medicine that is simply corrupted by a few individuals and arrive at the promised land of understanding that the state is an inherently corrupt institution that ruins everything it touches.