My dad, Eli Grossman, was a dentist at this house by Sovereign and Pacific Avenue in Atlantic City, New Jersey, for 30 years. Then, in the 1970’s, he and Gabe Reiter, a Margate dentist, started a business to test dental products. They reached out to all the big drug companies like Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson. After a while, they got a few small contracts. They tested Freedent chewing gum. They paid $10 each to a few hundred of their old patients to chew a few sticks of the gum. My dad reported that the product was a success when his patients said that they liked the gum, and that it did not stick to their dentures or fillings.
However, most testing contracts went to big universities with large science and medical departments. These are the same big universities we now rely on to study climate change, “green” energy, and best ways to fight the Wuhan coronavirus.
Back in the 1980s, My dad’s company got a small contract to test a new mouthwash developed by Pfizer. It was called Plax. It was supposed to prevent and cure gum disease and plaque on teeth. The big universities did much larger “clinical trials”.
My dad had one group of a few hundred of his old patients use the Plax mouthwash, while another group used a regular mouthwash as a “placebo”. After a few months, my Dad examined both groups. He found no difference between them. My dad reported that the new mouthwash was a failure. It did not cure or prevent plaque on teeth or gum disease.
A few months later, my dad was told that something was wrong with his study, and that it would not be used. He was told that larger studies by prestigious medical and dental research labs at major universities found Plax to be a spectacular success!
As a result, Pfizer and Colgate spent millions to produce and market Plax around the world. Their advertising made these claims based on the findings of America’s most respected research labs:
“Plax is the only effective means for removing plaque”.
”Plax will remove plaque from anyone’s mouth.”
“Rinsing with Plax before brushing can remove 300% more plaque than brushing alone”.
After a few years it became obvious that Plax was as useless as my dad said it was. None of those advertising claims were true. Pfizer had the big labs test Plax again. This time, the big labs came up with the same results as my dad.
All this caused large financial losses to Pfizer . Lawsuits involving Plax were brought all over the world. My dad was subpoenaed to testify in many of them. He even testified in Australia!
In 1991, Pfizer settled one lawsuit brought by the attorneys general for ten states. Pfizer agreed to pay damages and stop advertising that Plax cured or prevented gum disease or plaque in teeth.
What went wrong? How could two retired dentists near Atlantic City be more accurate and reliable than some of the most respected universities and research institutions in America?
The reasons should be obvious:
- Follow the Money: Our most prestigious universities, research labs, doctors, and professors who do these tests depend on larges grants and contracts from these big drug corporations. My Dad just got paid a modest fee for doing the studies. Were they concerned that killing a major product for a big client would hurt them or their institution?
- Unreliable Data Sources: My dad and Dr. Reiter personally contacted their long term patients to be subjects for their studies. These patients liked and trusted their longtime dentists. They carefully followed all instructions, and completely and truthfully answered all questions. The universities advertised for subjects, and ended up with mostly students or random people in nearby neighborhoods. The subject used by the big universities did not take the studies as seriously as my father’s patients.
- Advance Careers: My dad and Dr. Reiter were at the end of their careers. They just wanted to do their jobs well. Many of the researchers at the universities were starting their careers. Were they thinking that killing a product for one of the biggest drug companies in the world might hurt their careers?
Whatever the reason, “97%” of “scientists” were completely wrong about Plax. Could “scientists” today be just as wrong on “climate change”, “green” energy, or the Wuhan coronavirus? And for the same reasons?
By the way, after their experience with Plax, my dad never again had to struggle to get contracts to test products for the big drug companies!
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Seth Grossman, Executive Director