And I find it equally disgusting when autism is used to further an anti-vaccine, anti-"big-pharma," anti-western medicine, anti-whatever agenda. I think the reason the issue probably gets marginalized is because some of the more vocal opponents do come off as conspiracy theorists or worse yet have a financial interest in promoting the idea. There's a lot of money to made off "curing" children of autism supposedly caused by vaccines. There's an entire industry based on squeezing money out of desperate parents, and it's based on pseudoscience, and that's putting it kindly. It's probably hard to hear the voices of reason underneath all that.
The biggest group looking to make money off autism is the pharma industry. It certainly isn't the relatively small group of DAN! doctors or the supplement industry. So it looks like big pharma is about to cash in on all those desperate parents, with their own brand of junk science.
The goals of the collaboration are:
To develop and validate "translation research approaches" for the advancement of novel therapies. (ie development of drug therapies - who stands to make money there?).
To set new standards in research and clinical development to aid the drug discovery process. (More drugs, more money for big pharma).
Develop sites across Europe for clinical trials on autism and, create an "interactive platform for ASD professionals and patients". (Research and market development opportunities for these new drugs)
This is all about profit. Autsim is a huge potential market and profit center for big pharma and they are poised to make the most of the 1 in 88 children with ASD, and with the rate rising it is only going to become an even bigger market for the "therapies".
The three groups involved in this collaboration are the pharmaceutical companies, universities and research centers and Autism Speaks. The pharma industry and the research intitutions are benefiting by the tune of €29.6 million (US$38.7 million). As the article states:
Researchers are receiving a nice boost in income and pharmaceutical corporations are anticipating more drugs with their associated profits. But they aren’t the primary source of funding. And neither is Autism Speaks, though they’re giving $1 million.
No the primary funder is the European tax payer.