Science for Sale in the Autism Wars is a book about a very important part of the Autism Wars — the role played by government funded academics against parents, in the difficult struggle to provide children with publicly funded health care insurance for medically necessary Autism treatment that is their constitutional right. Science for Sale in the Autism Wars takes a close, hard look at the Health Technology Assessment movement through the lens of what amounts to a rare case study opportunity — the Auton et al. v. British Columbia court case, which attempted to gain publicly funded autism treatment for children. Science for Sale in the Autism Wars is also dedicated to helping those in need of expensive autism health-care who are fighting to have that treatment covered, whether by government or private health insurance. Although the group of academics discussed here are situated in Canada, there are health technologists everywhere.
Part I of Science for Sale in the Autism Wars provides an in-depth analysis of the British Columbia Office of Health Technology Assessment (BCOHTA) report on Intensive Behavioral Treatment, also referred to as Lovaas Autism Treatment. The BCOHTA report, entitled Autism and Lovaas Treatment: a systematic review of effectiveness evidence, was produced at the request of the B.C. Ministry of Health for specific use by government lawyers in legal defense of the government in British Columbia Supreme Court. Part I details the techniques used by the BCOHTA to distort and misrepresent the state of the science in autism treatment to discredit legitimate research underlying Intensive Behavioral Treatment pioneered by Lovaas and colleagues; as of this publication, the Lovaas protocol is the only proven treatment for the intractable disorder of autism.
Part II of Science for Sale in the Autism Wars describes the outcome of the B.C. Supreme Court case and the scathing rejection by the court of the BCOHTA report. In addition, the book documents the rejectionist and arrogant conduct of the BCOHTA subsequent to the court ruling on Lovaas treatment and the biased health technology research paper.
There is an afterword in the book which documents the findings of the B.C. Court of Appeal which heard the Auton case after the Government of British Columbia appealed the case. After a more scathing indictment of government refusal to fund medically necessary Autism treatment, the Government of British Columbia applied to the Supreme Court of Canada for leave to appeal this recent ruling. The Supreme Court of Canada finally heard the appeal and rendered a decision in November 2004 where children with autism were left out in the cold, parents having to fend for themselves to secure science-based treatment for their children.