Breaking news! Dr. Bob Sears files for moral bankruptcy!

bob sears morally bankrupt

Dr. Bob Sears is a charter member of what I like to call The Quack Pack, a group of physicians who peddle pseudoscience in exchange for popularity and financial remuneration.

I’ve written about his ethics, or lack thereof, on many occasions.

In his book on an “alternative” vaccine schedule Sears wrote:

I also warn [parents] not to share their fears with their neighbors, because if too many people avoid the MMR, we’ll likely see the diseases increase significantly.

In other words, hide in the herd, but do not tell the herd you’re hiding; otherwise, outbreaks will ensue…

His grandiosity is really quite impressive. He likens his patients to victims of the Holocaust.

[pullquote align=”right” color=”#9f0b0b”]Dr. Bob has worked tireless to advance the cause of … Dr. Bob.[/pullquote]

Scarlet “V” anyone? No, not scarlet. Let’s make it yellow. And not a V – a star would be better. That way everyone can know at first glance who is safe to be around and who is not.

He’s just cashed out and filed for moral bankruptcy with this:

Dr Bobs award

What’s up with that? Can’t believe he got the award instead of me. Oh well. Maybe next year.

What’s up with that?

Well, let’s see. Dr. Pan has worked tirelessly to advance the cause of children’s health personally, professionally and through his government service. Dr. Pan has undoubtedly saved many lives already and will save far more in the future. As a result of that work, he faces a recall campaign instigated by anti-vax activists.

In contrast, Dr. Bob has worked tireless to advance the cause of … Dr. Bob.

A scathing piece in this week’s Economist notes:

Precisely because most children are immunised, he tells parents that it is probably safe to skip or delay jabs for their offspring. This strategy amounts to “hiding in the herd”, he says delicately, as he sips a late-afternoon coffee near his surgery. Put another way, his patients worry more than most about possible side-effects from vaccinations, above all the (thoroughly discredited) claim that vaccines cause autism. Dr Bob—as he is known to fans of “The Vaccine Book”, his best-selling guide to “selective” immunisation—does not say that worried parents are right. He just thinks that, on balance, they can safely indulge their anxieties by “taking advantage of the herd all around them.” When pushed, he makes “no claim” that the alternative vaccine plans that he offers (involving fewer jabs, or jabs administered over a longer period than most doctors recommend) are safer. He concedes that if everyone refused vaccinations, some diseases would roar back.

In other words, when pressed by someone who might actually know something about vaccines:

  • Sears acknowledges that vaccines work
  • Sears acknowledges that there is no evidence that his alternative vaccine schedule is safer
  • Sears acknowledges that anti-vaxxers are “free riders” because they enjoy the benefits of herd immunity without the risks of vaccination

What’s heroic about that?

Nothing. It’s actually morally bankrupt, the exact opposite of the selfless, caring spirit associated with heroism.

Does Dr. Sears actually think he deserves an award for heroism?

I doubt it. He’s just riling up the ignorant faithful the same way he has been riling them up and profiting from them for years.

81 Responses to “Breaking news! Dr. Bob Sears files for moral bankruptcy!”

  1. Christopher Hickie
    October 1, 2015 at 3:54 pm #

    Sears should lose his license. He should be expelled from the AAP. Neither has happened. It is very discouraging as he “plays the victim” while laughing all the way to the bank. The real victims–including the 10 infants who died from pertussis in the 2010 California pertussis outbreak and the 5 who died in the 2014 California pertussis outbreak–well, Sears couldn’t care less about them.

  2. araikwao
    September 30, 2015 at 4:56 pm #

    There’s even evidence to suggest that delaying vaccines is associated with increased adverse effects (source: one of the ped/vax/science blogs reviewed the study, can’t remember which, sorry). Clearly “Dr” Bob has not updated his book accordingly.

    • Roadstergal
      September 30, 2015 at 5:33 pm #

      Whoda thunk it?

      Whenever anyone says “My baby/brother/dad/second cousin twice removed had a bad reaction to a vaccine,” all I can think is “Can you imagine how much worse their reaction to the disease would have been?”

      • Wren
        September 30, 2015 at 6:00 pm #

        I have that same thought.

      • Squillo
        September 30, 2015 at 7:34 pm #

        My reaction is, “Sorry to hear that. That’s why it’s doubly important that everyone around that person gets vaccinated.”

  3. Megan
    September 30, 2015 at 12:56 pm #

    And look at today’s bullshit:

    He really has gone to the dark side. I loathe this man. He is not a medical professional.

    • Megan
      September 30, 2015 at 12:57 pm #

      Oops, I just realized that’s an older link. Still bullshit….

    • Amy
      September 30, 2015 at 9:14 pm #

      So he says not to fear measles, but respect and take appropriate precautions. Um…..wouldn’t one of those precautions be, I dunno….GETTING THE VACCINE?!?

  4. Bugsy
    September 30, 2015 at 9:39 am #

    Just have to pick on a minute detail here…if he were to file for moral bankruptcy, wouldn’t he be aware of how bankrupt his morals are? I’ve found the opposite to be true of the extreme all-natural activists I know – that they’re so caught up in how superior they are to the masses, that there’s no way the could ever qualify for moral bankruptcy. Heck, in their eyes, they’re the ones who define moral righteousness & proper parenting.

  5. The Computer Ate My Nym
    September 30, 2015 at 4:34 am #


    That’s an…interesting…way of putting it.

    I will admit that there have been times in my life where I believed myself more worthy of an award/grant/publication/etc than the actual recipient. At such times I thought something like, “What WAS the reviewer/committee/etc thinking to publish/grant this dreck over my brilliant work?” I never once thought that the person or people who got the award or whatever were in any way “guilty” of anything other than being more to the taste of those giving the award than I was. Even if Dr. Sears had a point (which he doesn’t) about being more deserving, why does he blame the person who got the award rather than those giving it? (Or is this a point that no neurotpyical would find concerning?)

    • Who?
      September 30, 2015 at 4:54 am #

      No idea whether or not I’m neurotypical, but I agree. The choosers, not the winner, are your problem.

      Just like when my friends’ husbands have affairs, I don’t encourage them to be cross at the new woman, who is really just showing horrible judgement and questionable taste, and who, let’s face it, is likely to be next. Hubby made the vows and signed the forms, save the outrage for him.

    • RMY
      September 30, 2015 at 2:49 pm #

      It’s because attacking the group who did the choosing basically would make them less likely to pick him, as he attacked them. Cowards go after related parties that have no recourse instead of the responsible party.

  6. Liz Leyden
    September 30, 2015 at 12:35 am #

    Dr. Sears seems to have an exceptionally high opinion of himself.

  7. Mishimoo
    September 29, 2015 at 9:14 pm #

    The hiding in the herd nonsense infuriates me, especially when parents are led to believe that it will keep their kids safe (and paying money for that comforting lie). It won’t. Herd immunity does not magically grant personal immunity.

    • Who?
      September 29, 2015 at 9:24 pm #

      And what kind of person behaves that way anyhow? It’s that Margaret Thatcher thing about there being no such thing as society. Horrible.

      • Mishimoo
        September 29, 2015 at 10:11 pm #

        Well, me (kinda). I had the kids vaccinated, I had boosters for everything else but organising the varicella vaccine for myself as a non-driving adult in an area with crappy public transport was put in the “too hard” basket. Which I really regretted when I caught it in July/August! Thankfully, I was at home with a sick kid during the pre-spots infectious period, stayed away from others when at the doctors to have it confirmed, and stayed at home until I was well and truly no longer infectious. In hindsight, I probably should have gone to the hospital, but all I wanted to do was nap and drink water AND not infect anyone, because I was so miserable.

        I really detest anyone who deliberately infects their child with this or any other VPD, it is abuse. I know its worse in adults, but I do wonder if a small part of that is because people forget how miserable they were. I am so glad my kids vaccinations worked, especially since the youngest blew raspberries on my belly to wake me up. I would have felt so bad if they caught it, I was so anxious waiting out the potential incubation period and so relieved once they were through.

        • Who?
          September 30, 2015 at 1:15 am #

          Yes, but you weren’t that guy. Sorry you got the chicken pox, thank goodness the kids didn’t. All the adults I know who’ve had it as adults found it utterly miserable.

        • Amazed
          September 30, 2015 at 3:33 am #

          “I know its worse in adults, but I do wonder if a small part of that is because people forget how miserable they were”

          No. A friend of my mom’s, a neurologist, was very upset over a 40yo patient who ended up with severe lung problems (I think he lost a lung) after the chicken pox. Here, I cannot be vaccinated because “we don’t do it for adults”. Lovely.

          Sears is a con man of the worst kind.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym
            September 30, 2015 at 4:18 am #

            You haven’t had VZV and they’re refusing to vaccinate you? Ask someone else. Ask somewhere else. Where are you that they’re letting this public health threat happen?

          • Amazed
            September 30, 2015 at 6:06 am #

            Bulgaria. When I was a kid, the vaccine was still not around. Chicken pox was. In my school. In the flat next door where my best friend lives. In the room next door where the Intruder was. I broke quarantine all the time but I didn’t get sick. It’s close to mind that I am not eager to experience it now.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym
            September 30, 2015 at 8:06 am #

            There’s a clinic near where I am (Heidelberg, BW, BRD) that basically specializes in medical tourism. It’s called Atos. They’d probably give you a vaccine if you showed up.

          • Eater of Worlds
            September 30, 2015 at 6:35 pm #

            That’s the company that is in charge of denying disability support to thousands upon thousands of people in the UK. Lots of anger towards that company.

            For a second I got it confused with ATMOS, the company that gassed the world in their cars on an episode of Doctor Who.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym
            October 1, 2015 at 7:35 am #

            I had the same thought about Dr. Who. But I didn’t know about any connection to Britain or disability evaluation–hadn’t realized they were anything but a private clinic. Are you sure it isn’t a different company with the same or similar name? (Not but they struck me as unscrupulous people treating rich foreigners while ignoring public health problems, but if I refused to do business with every medical organization that mistreated poor people I’d never be able to get care in the US so I grade on a curve on that one.)

          • Eater of Worlds
            October 1, 2015 at 11:45 am #

            It’s some French owned company. Do a search on UK, disability and Atos and you can try and figure out if it’s the same from that. They recently quit because they made a clusterfuck of a job. The main company isn’t even a medical company. No idea how they got into the field of screening disability claimants.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym
            September 30, 2015 at 8:07 am #

            Of course, it’s also possible that you had a subclinical case and are immune, even though you never had significant symptoms. Could you get a titer drawn?

          • Amazed
            September 30, 2015 at 11:33 am #

            I will. I am almost sure I didn’t have any case, though, since my mom watched me like a hawk. Everyone waited for me to catch the bloody thing and be done with it, so they waited for the smallest signs that I was indisposed. Why anyone would want to do this to their children now is beyond me.

          • Mishimoo
            September 30, 2015 at 7:09 am #

            Sorry, my wording was crappy. The effects and risks* are measurably worse in adults than kids, but I have to wonder how much of the pain isn’t acknowledged when it comes to kids. I really didn’t comprehend how freaking painful it was going to be. Itchiness I can deal with, but the nerve pain/headache/muscle cramps and pox inside my mouth were ridiculously painful. It was nearly on-par with the burns I’ve had, which were more painful than labour.

            I can’t imagine most people willingly doing that to a child, so that’s why I wonder if it’s just not noticed because most sick kids tend to sleep and can’t adequately articulate the level/type of pain to their caregivers.

            It is terrible that you can’t get the vaccine!! I can not stress enough how I wish I had had it done, and it really sucks that you can’t access it.

            (*I’m waiting on a call from neurology to start the process of figuring out if my recent grasp issues are related to chickenpox or not, since everything else has been ruled out. Yay for antivax parents and my own laziness.)

          • Who?
            September 30, 2015 at 7:59 am #

            My s-i-l had them in all imaginable nooks and crannies when she got it as an adult, entirely miserable she said.

            Also created a bit of a stir at work as she was a hospital pharmacist at the time.

            Hope the grasp issue turns out to be minor and transitory!

          • mythsayer
            September 30, 2015 at 11:29 am #

            I also had chicken pox as an adult and yes, it’s miserable. I was lucky and had a light case but even I was having trouble breathing.

          • Amy M
            September 30, 2015 at 7:38 am #

            Really, you can’t be vaccinated? Where do you live? Here, at least where I am (MA), they check your titer when a)you get pregnant and/or b)if you ask. If your titer is low, they will give a booster (though not during pregnancy.) Of course most adults my age had the chicken pox, so we are largely protected, but there’s always a few who squeaked by wo/getting it.

  8. autumn
    September 29, 2015 at 7:43 pm #

    Dr Pan is a hero. “Dr.” Bob I hope falls off a roller coaster at Disneyland.

    • Who?
      September 29, 2015 at 7:51 pm #

      That would make a lot of paperwork for Disney. Apparently there is a conspiracy to kill off alt med practitioners, he might be next on The List?

    • Charybdis
      September 29, 2015 at 8:34 pm #

      “Dr. Bob” reminds me of the original Muppet Show”. Rolf the dog was Dr. Bob, Miss Piggy was a nurse and Janice (Oohh, Wow…) was the other nurse and they did corny comedy sketches about the patient. I miss the old, original Muppets.

      • Roadstergal
        September 29, 2015 at 8:39 pm #

        Veterinarian’s Hospital! I’m having flashbacks now.

        “Doctor Bob… It’s too late, we’ve lost him.”

        “Well, he can’t have gone far – he was under the sheets a second ago!”

      • Amy M
        September 30, 2015 at 7:39 am #

        Have you seen the new one? It’s not bad…

    • Bugsy
      September 30, 2015 at 9:36 am #

      I wouldn’t wish that kind of publicity on Disneyland, though. 🙂

      • autumn
        September 30, 2015 at 9:58 pm #

        Yeah, but he’s always there. I saw him one day and my husband had to stop me from “accidentally” tripping him. Makes me physically ill. Wish Disney would ban him from the parks, especially after the measles incident.

        • Bugsy
          October 1, 2015 at 6:56 am #

          Really? Didn’t realize he was a regular Disney visitor…with the measles outbreak, it makes me wonder why he would even chance it (unless he secretly vaccinates or truly does hide behind herd immunity himself).

          • autumn
            October 1, 2015 at 4:18 pm #

            He’s in Orange County, just like Disneyland. I’d say he’s a half hour away or so. He’s apparently talks about being there often and posting selfies of himself on rides. I know his face so if i ever am in a situation where I can confront him I want to be able to give him the tongue lashing he deserves. Disney was not the right place, too many children around.

            I’m sure the a-hole vaccinates himself and his family, and pretends to be a conscientious objector because he wants the rich folks’ money. There are loathsome ways to become rich and this is up there with using child labor in my book.

  9. Who?
    September 29, 2015 at 6:18 pm #

    Sears makes me rage. He doesn’t even have the courage of his miserable convictions.

    Not to mention that he no doubt charges for all those extra appointments for all the split up vaccines, while the anti-vaxx community complains loudly about the profiteering of others.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym
      September 30, 2015 at 4:26 am #

      I do believe you’ve spotted the motive!

  10. Megan
    September 29, 2015 at 6:02 pm #

    What an arrogant prick. I think Doucheduffel of the Year award is available, since douchebag isn’t enough to describe this twit. As a fellow physician, he makes me sick. Talk about violating hippocratic oath. Asshole… OK, I think I’ve ranted enough…

  11. demodocus
    September 29, 2015 at 6:00 pm #

    OT: They, including my ob last time, often recommend pregnant women carry much weight about unless they are used to it. Is there a beginning point to that or is that one of those fuzzy things that don’t appear to matter until later? I forgot to ask the doc today at my FET.

    • Bugsy
      September 30, 2015 at 9:42 am #

      This pregnancy, I truthfully don’t think I carried much weight around (besides my 25-lb son) until I hit viability. I think it’s at least until a viable pregnancy or the end of the first trimester, however.

      How did your FET go? How many embryos did they transfer? Best wishes with it; hoping for a positive for you later this month.

      • demodocus
        September 30, 2015 at 2:00 pm #

        I don’t mean my weight, I mean groceries.
        It went well, thank you. They transferred 2 embryos, one of which had already started to break out of that earlier walled form. Now the waiting game, and the estrace and progesterone.

        • Bugsy
          September 30, 2015 at 4:17 pm #

          Lol, I meant carrying things, too. I pretty much avoided carrying much other than my toddler (which was inevitable) until I reached viability.

          Best wishes w/ the two embryos – I’m impressed to hear that one is already hatching! Will keep my fingers crossed for you.

          • demodocus
            September 30, 2015 at 5:34 pm #

            Yeah, toddlers being toddlers, lol. Thank you. They waited 5 days before the original implants and then didn’t freeze the rest until later that day, if memory serves. I think they weren’t sure whether the 10th and 11th embryos were going to survive or not. One did, the other didn’t. I think this one started hatching after thaw.
            Poor demodocus couldn’t be there this time. He got such a kick out of watching the process last time that he was practically purring. (They got him as close to the monitor as possible). He still carries toddler-boy’s petri dish his suit jacket pocket. Oh, that reminds me, I forgot to tell him we have a second dish for his other pocket.

          • Bugsy
            September 30, 2015 at 6:44 pm #

            Wow, you got an amazing # of embryos! In my last cycle, we had 3 embryos make it to implantation/freezing. Congrats. 🙂

          • demodocus
            September 30, 2015 at 6:54 pm #

            I know. I was kind of shocked when I found out how many eggs I had produced. We needed to do IVF because of my husband’s problem so we never checked my fertility.

    • Daleth
      September 30, 2015 at 10:08 am #

      Wishing you the best possible luck on that FET! Mine worked–may you be equally blessed.

    • Medwife
      September 30, 2015 at 7:07 pm #

      Well, certainly before 36-37 weeks 🙁 I swung my 40lb 4 year old onto one hip last week, congratulated myself on my awesome upper body strength, and have been suffering from a strained intercostal (or something) muscle ever since. It is so hard for health care providers to take our own advice.

      Congrats on your thus far successful FET! How exciting! I know for women pregnant the old fashioned way lifting restrictions only really need to be applied later in the second tri, but maybe it is different for FET ladies.

    • Chi
      September 30, 2015 at 7:20 pm #

      Congratulations on your FET I hope it goes really well. My friend had a FET last week so she’s taking a test this weekend to see if it stuck.

  12. Cartman36
    September 29, 2015 at 5:33 pm #

    What a schmuck!

  13. AirPlant
    September 29, 2015 at 4:22 pm #

    I can offer him this fine Darwin award…

    • Nick Sanders
      September 30, 2015 at 10:18 pm #

      He has to remove himself from the genepool first.

  14. demodocus
    September 29, 2015 at 3:50 pm #

    Sears makes it sound like Dr. Pan snuck into his house and stole his Edgar award. (As in the mystery award named after E.A. Poe)

  15. LibrarianSarah
    September 29, 2015 at 3:48 pm #

    I hear the “greatest douche in the universe” awards are looking for nominees.

    • Squillo
      September 29, 2015 at 7:08 pm #

      Be careful what you wish for. Dr. Bob can find a way to monetize anything.

  16. Bugsy
    September 29, 2015 at 3:47 pm #

    Dr. Sears. Yep. As soon as I hear another mom mention his name, I sadly tune out the rest of her parenting advice.

  17. mostlyclueless
    September 29, 2015 at 2:43 pm #

    I nominate Dr. Bob for Turd of the Year.

    • Sarah
      September 30, 2015 at 7:19 am #

      It’s funny you should mention that, because I was just about to post out that I have literally crapped out more deserving winners of the ‘Hero’ award than him.

  18. moto_librarian
    September 29, 2015 at 2:24 pm #

    Wasn’t patient 0 in the one of the recent outbreaks a patient of good ole Dr. Bob? I loathe him.

  19. Mel
    September 29, 2015 at 2:19 pm #

    “Dr. Pan has stolen my award” [minus the original capitalization].

    The hubris of that statement is breath-taking.

    Do I run around posting that whoever was named “Teacher of the Year” in Michigan stole my award? No, because I’m not a egomaniac.

    Do we post whiny complaints when another dairy farm wins an award and we don’t? No, we try harder next time.

    Do I encourage rank hypocrisy among my friends and family? No – because I have character.

    • Gatita
      September 29, 2015 at 4:20 pm #

      Pan is public enemy number one for this crowd because of his sponsorship of SB 277 so cheap shots at him are a great way for Sears to maintain his cred with these morons.

  20. JJ
    September 29, 2015 at 2:18 pm #

    I am in CA and Dr. Pan does deserve an award. I cannot believe that Dr. Bob would admit to not let the word about not vaxxing get out too much because then (the special) people could not hide in the herd! He deserves an award? lol! That is always my question for anti-vaxxers. What if they convince everyone to quit vaxxing? It would show how utterly useless all their expensive immune boosters/naturopaths are and we would have a lot of sick and dead people.

    • Bugsy
      September 30, 2015 at 9:45 am #

      Nah, the return of VPDs would just be a sign that we’re eating too many GMOs/the influence of chemtrails are spreading/our water isn’t as pure as previously. Never on the most logical and scientifically-proven cause.

  21. Nick Sanders
    September 29, 2015 at 2:14 pm #

    What would it take for him to get stripped of his license?

    • JJ
      September 29, 2015 at 2:20 pm #

      There was a push to get Senator Dr. Pan recalled here which is ridiculous. How far is Dr. Bob allowed to go before the medical board sees this as harming patients?

      • Amazed
        September 29, 2015 at 4:07 pm #

        JJ, you’d get along marvelously with Chris Hickie, MD. He’s been asking this for years. No one has answered yet.

    • Sarah
      September 29, 2015 at 2:33 pm #

      He treads a really careful line. He doesn’t go so far as to say that vaccines are dangerous but that he understands parents’ fears and doesn’t think those fears are unreasonable.

      It’s a load of BS, and he’s making a lot of money off of “reasonable fear” of course.

      • Monkey Professor for a Head
        September 29, 2015 at 5:31 pm #

        Even if he did lose his license, it would probably be just used as an excuse to make him into a martyr. Plus it would feed into the persecutory fantasies of some antivaxxers – everyone who opposes us is a big Pharma shill, there’s a conspiracy to keep the truth down, that sort of nonsense.

    • Roadstergal
      September 29, 2015 at 4:14 pm #

      Or even just lose his good standing with the AAP? Surely that bar is lower.

    • Gatita
      September 29, 2015 at 4:16 pm #

      He has too many rich and connected patients for that. He’d have to kill someone before they do anything (see Paul Fleiss and Eliza Jane Scovill for an example of what it would take)

      • Roadstergal
        September 29, 2015 at 8:37 pm #

        Jay Gordon was one of Eliza Jane’s peds, and he’s still a FAAP (and, of course, the other go-to for unvaxxed Special Snowflakes – he was tweeting during the CA vax bill debates that it made more sense to legislate forced breastfeeding rather than vaccine mandates for school/daycare).

        • Sarah
          September 30, 2015 at 7:19 am #

          NEWMANITIS. Bring me the pump and the illegally imported domperidone immediately.

    • Hilary
      September 29, 2015 at 3:11 pm #

      Encouraging parents to abuse exceptions put in place for medically fragile children and children with developmental disabilities (the IEP exception). Wow. I knew there was a reason I didn’t like him.

    • Megan
      September 29, 2015 at 6:35 pm #

      It really pisses me off that Dr. Bob encourages these whackjob parents to seek out a DO to try to get a medical exemption. I am a DO and I can tell you that I read scientific journals almost daily, practice evidence-based medicine and hence, recommend vaccines wholeheartedly. DO’s in the US are very different than DO’s in other countries, like in the UK, for example. My experience with all the DO’s I have met is that we practice almost exactly the same as MD’s. I am personally insulted that Dr. Sears thinks that we are all in his “camp.”

      • Dr Kitty
        September 30, 2015 at 7:03 am #

        My understanding is that DOs in the USA are basically equivalent to MDs.

        Osteopaths in the UK are firmly in the same camp as Chiros, acupuncturists, naturopaths and homeopaths. The certainly don’t work in NHS hospitals.

        • Megan
          September 30, 2015 at 9:09 am #

          Yes. DO’s and MD’s are equivalent in the US. In fact the AMA and the AOA are actually joining together as one organization soon.

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