Friday, February 09, 2007

"Of the more than 25,000 patients who participated in clinical trials of Gardasil, only 1,184 were preteen girls. "That's a thin base of testing upon which to make a vaccine mandatory," says Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder of the National Vaccine Information Center, an advocacy group that lobbies for safer vaccines.....Merck acknowledges that it doesn't know yet whether an initial vaccination will offer lifetime protection or whether patients will need booster shots. So far, the company has shown only that the vaccine lasts five years.....As part of its lobbying campaign, Merck has been funding Women in Government, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group made up of female state lawmakers....Merck declined to say how much money it has funneled into its lobbying campaign, or contributed to Women in Government. "Parents should be concerned that the only company that makes this vaccine is pushing behind the scenes for mandatory laws," says Maryann Napoli, associate director for the Center for Medical Consumers, a consumer group based in New York.....Mandatory vaccination across the U.S. would make Gardasil an automatic blockbuster for Merck at a time when the patents on some of its bestselling drugs are expiring and it's desperate to replace their revenue streams. Gardasil's sales in 2006 were $235 million." - John Carreyrou, Wall Street Journal, Feb. 7

Barbara Loe Fisher Commentary:

There is a an old saying in politics: Don't count your chickens before they are hatched. Texas Governor Rick Perry should have remembered that old saying before crowning himself King and wielding his executive branch power like a scepter over the Texas legislature in order to force all little girls in Texas to get three doses of Merck's HPV vaccine, GARDASIL.

The funny thing about it is that Merck had launched a massive PR/advertising blitz for GARDASIL on TV and in magazines and, with a little help from some friends, was successfully simultaneously introducing bills in multiple states with a military precision not seen since the invasion of Iraq. It was breathtaking in scope and public health officials, many doctors, politicians and editors were giving GARDASIL a standing ovation as the greatest advancement in the history of vaccines and cancer prevention. Flush with the victory of having convinced the FDA that GARDASIL should be fast- tracked into early licensure in the summer of 2006 and with unanimous blessing by the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) that GARDASIL should be used by all pre-adolescent girls, Merck was on a roll.

Merck was on a roll until parents, who were being threatened with state mandates forcing their little girls to get three doses of GARDASIL, started to object after taking a closer look at the evidence for the safety, efficacy and costs of GARDSIL to prevent 3700 cases of cervical cancer every year that can be prevented with routine pap screening and early treatment of pre-cancerous signs. Some legislators and investigative reporters started asking questions. It was revealed that Merck was, in effect, funding the political effort to get many states to mandate the vaccine. The National Vaccine Information Center issued a press release on Feb. 1 questioning how Merck could possibly know whether it was safe to give GARDASIL to little girls when they only studied less than 2,000 of them in pre-licensure clinical trials and when reports were already coming into VAERS that indicated some pretty serious health events were occurring after GARDASIL vaccination. Some legislators in some states pulled state mandate proposals or modified them to include opt-in provisions for parents.

Then Merck choked, convincing the Governor of Texas to put on his cowboy hat and perform the Heimlich maneuver. But what they didn't count on was public opinion when it comes to messing around with the democratic process and freedom.

After PROVE's Dawn Richardson stood her ground against HPV vaccine mandates in Texas on NBC's "Today Show"and legislators and doctors alike told "King Perry" on Tuesday that he had gone too far, today an MSNBC poll of more than 85,000 responders shows that the majority of Americans do not think HPV vaccine mandates are right.

Actually, the Governor of Texas and Merck may have done America a favor: the debate about the threat to freedom and the democratic process posed by forced vaccination policies, the influence of corporations in the political process, and abuse of power by the chiefs of executive branches of government is now being openly discussed.

Let freedom ring.

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