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Antivaccine nonsense Medicine

Who says blogging can’t have an effect?

A couple of days ago, I did a Respectfully Insolent™ takedown of a disappointingly credulous and misinformation-laden article published on Medscape about the human papilloma virus vaccine Gardasil. The article was clearly biased, and, worse, it quoted Oprah’s favorite woo-loving gynecologist Dr. Christiane Northrup parroting germ theory denialism and the myth that Louis Pasteur “recanted” on his deathbed. All in all, it was a terrible article.

Today, multiple people have pointed out to me and I have seen at the blog Holford Watch that the link to the Medscape article now leads to a “page cannot be found” error. Apparently, Medscape has pulled the article. At least, that’s the only explanation I can think of. Maybe Medscape has some shame after all.

On the other hand, this is not the way to go about it. Rather than admitting it made a mistake in not adequately fact-checking the article, leaving such ignorant quotes by Dr. Northrup to be included, and publishing such a shoddy article in the first place, Medscape has instead apparently taken the cowardly way out and simply quietly pulled the article, perhaps hoping that no one will notice. A better course would have been to pull the article, but leave that link leading to an explanation why the article was pulled. By taking the cowardly way out, Medscape has, if anything, lowered rather than raised my opinion of it. Although I’m happy to see that its editors apparently still have a sense of shame, I’m disappointed that they chose such a poor way to correct their mistake.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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