Ep. 35 The Legal Side Of Vaccine Misinformation

In This Episode

Following up on last week’s discussion about flu vaccines, Neal is joined by Ana Santos Rutschman, Health Law Scholar and recipient of many other titles and accolades.

Ana has some interesting facts about what keeps bolstering the fear of vaccines.

She and Neal discuss the failings and successes of the FDA and the legal framework around vaccines.

They also explore personal freedom vs. the responsibility of state and federal governments, as well as vaccine fear campaigns and celebrity influence.

Topics Discussed

  • The emotional response to vaccines
  • Past failings of the FDA
  • The balance of personal freedom vs gov’t responsibility to public health and safety
  • The legal framework around vaccines
  • Religious rights and state exemptions
  • Areas targeted by fear campaigns
  • Misunderstanding of ingredients
  • Celebrity influence/ responsibility of social media sites
  • Using reverse psychology and bureaucracy to hinder anti-vaxxers
  • How to reason with an anti-vaxxer 

All About Ana Santos Rutschman

 Ana Santos Rutschman teaches intellectual property, health law and innovation in the life sciences law and policy at Saint Louis University School of Law. She is a researcher at the Center for Health Law Studies, which has been ranked first among U.S. health law programs for 14 of the past 15 years. 

 In 2017, Rutschman was named a Bio IP Scholar by the American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics, and in 2018 she was named a Health Law Scholar by the same institution. In 2019, she was named a Manzo Scholar in Patent Law.

 Her academic writing has appeared or is forthcoming in the UCLA Law Review, Arizona Law Review, Yale Law Journal Forum, Duke Law and Technology Review, Miami Business Law Review and Washington University Global Studies Review, among others. Her commentary pieces have been published by Health Affairs blog, The Huffington Post and The Conversation, and reprinted in Scientific AmericanNewsweek Japan and newspapers around the U.S., including the Chicago Tribune and San Francisco Chronicle.

Rutschman has also worked and written on topics related to blockchain in healthcare, artificial intelligence and e-health. She has spoken on these topics in conferences and panels around the world. In 2015-16, she consulted for the World Health Organization during the development of Ebola and Zika vaccines.


Dr. Neal Smoller, Holistic Pharmacist

About Neal Smoller

Dr. Neal Smoller, PharmD, is a licensed pharmacist: and owner of Village Apothecary, an independent pharmacy in the most famous small town in America—Woodstock, NY. He’s also the host of the popular wellness podcast, The Big Mouth Pharmacist.”


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