Gardasil Vaccine – Arnold Plays Politics with your Daughter

Vaccination Bill Mutates
After encountering strong resistance and some allegations of conflicts of interest, a dozen or more states have abandoned the idea of requiring girls be given Merck’s human papillomavirus vaccine Gardasil. Only Virginia to date has mandated the vaccine, but California may be next.

In Texas and New York, Merck made campaign contributions to key players in advocating that the vaccine be mandated, and questions were being raised in the press and in prestigious journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In March, Assemblyman Ed Hernandez, D–Baldwin Park, pulled his bill mandating that seventh–grade girls in California be vaccinated against HPV, which can cause cervical cancer. That age was selected because Merck said Gardasil, to be effective, needs to be given before girls start having sex. The bill ran into considerable opposition inside and outside the Capitol.

Now back without much fanfare, the Assembly approved the Hernandez bill last month. It is scheduled for a hearing Wednesday before the Senate Health Committee.

The arguments against mandating Gardasil haven’t changed, but Hernandez’s bill has.

12 comments

  1. I believe there are enough medical questions outstanding that it is less than prudent to move forward with 1) mandatory vaccination and 2) an opt-out clause placing the onus on parents. This case is not unoommon…it’s standard operating procedure and a fundamental part of corporate pricing strategies. If a firm can get its fee as a default, inertia will handle the rest. That is no way to administer public health.

  2. I think everyone should be given an HPV vaccine (if there really is one) just like they’re given tetanus and TB shots. This is no different. The problem is that I would feel very uneasy if only one company controlled all the vaccines.

  3. Two things:

    Your contention that this is similar to tetanus and TB is at odds with cited members of the medical community. This doesn’t mean they’re right and you’re wrong…it means that I need you to demonstrate that they are wrong. Their contention is that the vaccine is unnecessary in as many as 90 percent of cases in the US. That doesn’t sound like tetanus and TB.

    Second, Kerck is the only fish in the pond until their patent rights expire and firms are allowed to make generics.

  4. FYI,
    Merck is not the only manufacturer of vaccines. Glaxo Smith Kline is a huge competitor for them. Glaxo is scheduled to release their HPV vaccine 1st quarter of 2008. As far as it not being necessary, there are thousands of OB/Gyns that disagree. HPV does not only cause cervical cancer, it also causes cervical dysplasia and genital warts. While cervical cancer is not as common in the U.S., the others are. There ar over 1 million new cases of genital warts every year, which cause a tremendous amount of emotional pain, as well as time and money to treat. The vaccine has shown to prevent women from contracting the HPV types that could lead to abnormal paps, dysplasias, vulvar and vaginal cancers and genital warts.
    Vaccines are such a polarizing topic. You will have people that are against any vaccine, no matter what it is for.
    Also, the FDA, CDC and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology all voted for it unanimously.
    All that said, I don’t think the discussion should not take place.

  5. Glaxo, then, would be developing another non-generic. I don’t know what the prices are, but the economics remain essentially the same until the generics enter the market. If that’s wrong, let me know – but it looks like Glaxo would simply be a second advocate for mandatory testing.

    What do you make of the numbers in the Cato article? Is any of that compelling for you? From what you’ve stated, there are plenty of reasons for people to get vaccinated – but I’m curious to hear how you would counter those specific Cato arguments.

  6. You are correct…Glaxo would enter the market and begin competing for the business Merck has established with Ob/Gyns, Pediatrics, and primary care physicians. Can’t say if Glaxo would be advocating mandatory testing, but it would not surprise me. Don’t know if you heard, but Merck pulled all of its lobbying efforts for mandatory vaccinating, which is a good thing.
    As far as the Cato article…not sure. I feel that vaccines are very polarizing. So I tend not to tell anybody how to feel..you know? Here’s the deal though…I and many Ob/Gyns feel that the Ob/Gyns’ efforts, through annual pap test and screenings will prevent most cervical cancer. However, where they see the benefit is that Gardasil has shown to prevent the precursors to things like vulvar/vaginal cancer, dysplasias (grades 1-3) and genital warts. All of thes things can cause a lot of problems and money. Women have to go through painful and uncomfortable procedures like LEEPS and colposcopies. One of these procedures can cost more than the vaccine. So, I think it is wise to take that into consideration as well.
    Also, part of Merck’s campaign stresses that just b/c you get vaccinated, it does not mean that anything should change. Women are strongly told to see their OB/gyn per standard of care. They also clearly state that the vaccine does not protect against the other HPV types not contained in the vaccine. All doctors should be informing their patients of these things. So, I disagree with the Cato article there. Ob/Gyns understand that there patients are still at risk for many other types of HPV, so it is in the patients’ best interest to continue seeing their doctor annually. Not to mention, the doctor wants/needs the business.
    It is a very interesting topic with lots of angles.

  7. Hopefully, all will go well with this vaccine and its safety will be further proven to make your decision easier when that time comes.
    Good luck with the twins!

  8. there have been thousands of Adverse reaction to he Vaccine, paralisis, seasures, Imune disorders, Nuroligic disorders, As well as hundreds of deaths.
    These deaths are are poorly reported, covered up and dismissed,as a fluke. My daughters are NOT flukes.merk admits to distributing vaccines, knowing they were contaminated with Hepatitis, Leukima, causing viruses, cancer causing viruses, A.I.D.S. they Admit to being the ones that brought A.I.D.S. in to the country.
    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=edikv0zbAlU

  9. Vaccines are POISON. The only one[s] who benefit from vaccines are PHARMACEUTICALS. Lots of Vitamin D will protect you from the flu and many other diseases. DON’T be fooled by paid off media hype. STOP the sickening assault on humanity.

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