July 9, 2008
Will Gardasil Increase Cervical Cancer Rates?
September 20, 2007
Merck Says Gardasil Works Better Than They Thought
A new study by Merck, the makers of Gardasil, has found that Gardasil protects against more strains of HPV than previously thought.
The vaccine was previously known to protect against four strains of the virus - 16, 18, 6, and 11. The new study shows that it may also protect against 10 other strains of the virus.
Despite the new findings that show increased protection, doctors point to an important limitation of the vaccine — it is only 39 percent effective against lesions caused by these other strains of HPV. The majority of that efficacy was seen in just two of the other 10 strains, notes Harper.
However, physicians are still optimistic about the new findings and hope additional coverage will eventually help reduce cervical cancer rates.
February 9, 2007
Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana Won't Mandate Gardasil
Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana says he will not issue an executive order mandating the Gardasil vaccine for Indiana schoolgirls.
"No. I'm not sure I have the authority or any governor should have the authority to issue such an order on his own in our state," Daniels said this morning at his weekly media availability ... The issue is being debated in the legislature, and that, he said, is the proper forum.
February 7, 2007
Gardasil 'Not an Emergency,' Says Texas Senator
The way states are proposing bills on Gardasil right and left, getting every young girl injected with Gardasil appears to be some kind of national emergency that must be implemented right away or the sky will fall (or should we say Merck's shares will fall?)
Thankfully, some people are still calm and rational and not motivated by financial gain.
Several key Republicans urged Gov. Rick Perry on Monday to rescind his executive order making Texas the first state to require girls to be vaccinated against the sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer.
Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, chairwoman of the health and human services committee, said it perfectly:
"This is not an emergency," said Nelson, adding that she plans to ask Attorney General Greg Abbott for an opinion on the legality of Perry's order. "It needs to be discussed and debated."
February 3, 2007
Executive Order: Gardasil Mandatory in Texas
Texas Governor Rick Perry has issued an executive order making Merck's cervical cancer vaccine, Gardasil, mandatory for all girls entering the 6th grade beginning in September 2008.
Perry bypassed the Texas state Legislature and ignored vocal opposition by parents throughout the state.
The AP is reporting that Perry has deep ties with Merck:
Perry has several ties to Merck and Women in Government. One of the drug company's three lobbyists in Texas is Mike Toomey, his former chief of staff. His current chief of staff's mother-in-law, Texas Republican state Rep. Dianne White Delisi, is a state director for Women in Government ... Perry also received $6,000 from Merck's political action committee during his re-election campaign.
Bravo to the AP for putting Gov. Perry's Merck ties out there. It is completely unethical that somebody with ties to a drug company would make an executive order that all girls should receive that company's vaccine. Why not let the bill go through the Legislature? What's the rush?
This kind of thing should be illegal in the United States. When it comes to our health, no government official should have the right to make an "executive order" that favors a corporation over the people.
February 1, 2007
Some Colorado Parents Oppose HPV Vaccine Bill
Some people in Colorado are upset about the proposed HPV vaccine bill to make the vaccine mandatory for all girls entering the 6th grade in that state. One parent said:
"This is a bill by Merck to pad the coffers of its shareholders under the guise of protecting girls," Heidi Hendricks, a parent of a teen daughter, said at a heated public hearing on the measure.
Supporters of the bill and those like it in other states insist the vaccine has been proven safe. However, they are not being completely upfront with parents and the public in general about the slightly elevated risk of autoimmune disease in Gardasil study participants.
February 1, 2007
Colorado Cervical Cancer Vaccine Bill Proposed
Colorado is the latest state to propose a bill to make Gardasil, Merck's cervical cancer vaccine, mandatory for all girls entering the 6th grade.
At least 18 states are considering such measures this year. Drug giant Merck & Co., which makes the only vaccine now available, has funded a group called Women in Government and many of the people who have introduced the bills, including the Colorado sponsor, Sen. Suzanne Williams, D-Aurora, are members.
January 31, 2007
Gardasil and Autoimmune Disorder Risk
I was interested to see that Dr. Dave at CafePharma pointed out that there was a slight increase in autoimmune problems in study participants receiving the vaccine.
The only significant concern that I appreciated in terms of the safety data was a slight absolute increase in potential autoimmune phenomena (e.g., inflammatory arthritis) in the vaccination group. This will be something to keep an eye on.
CafePharma is a place where people in the pharmaceutical industry can talk to each other about drugs and vaccines in a casual and open way. View the full thread with Dr. Dave here.
Here are the study results he was referring to. The ages of participants ranged from 9 to 26:
In one study involving 11,813 Gardasil recipients, 2 recipients developed rheumatoid arthritis, 5 developed arthritis, and 1 developed reactive arthritis.
In the control group receiving a placebo containing aluminum, 1 recipient developed lupus and 2 recipients developed arthritis.
Out of a total of 21,464 study partipants, there were 17 deaths that Merck says were unrelated to the vaccine. The deaths were broken down as follows:
Out of those who received Gardasil:
4 motor vehicle accidents
1 pulmonary embolus/deep vein thrombosis
2 cases of sepsis
1 case of pancreatic cancer
1 case of arrhythmia
In the control group receiving an aluminum placebo:
3 motor vehicle accidents
1 pulmonary embolus/deep vein thrombosis
1 case of asphyxia
Both the Gardasil vaccine and the placebo contained aluminum.
To read the results of the clinical trials yourself, visit this page.
January 30, 2007
Gardasil: 10 Things You Might Not Know
There's an interesting post over at Evil Slutopia called "10 Things You Might Not Know About Gardasil." The introductory paragraph reads:
You might have noticed recently that the makers of the new HPV vaccine Gardasil really really really want you to try their product. I think the TV commercials are running about every 7.5 seconds. I admit that I tend to be pretty skeptical of the whole women’s health “industry”, so after seeing the ads about five million times, I decided to do some research.
I recommend reading the post and using the items as a jumping off point for your own research. As the author of the article says:
Don't get this vaccine just because your doctor/mom/sister/friend/a perky TV commercial told you to. But don’t not get it just because some chicks with a blog say that they aren’t going to. It’s your health, your decision. Do your own research and accept no guilt trips.
I couldn't have said it better myself!
January 29, 2007
Merck Pushing Gardasil Legislation
Just who is behind the massive push in over a dozen states to make Gardasil mandatory for all 6th grade girls? For a vaccine that was only approved in June, it seems as if this sudden blitz of legislature is a bit premature.
Merck & Co, makers of Gardasil, appear to be the ones spearheading this legislative drive. The company stands to make $1 billion off the drug in 2008.
Merck, which has been arming its lobbyists across the country with information on the vaccine, has been getting an assist from Women in Government, a nonpartisan organization of female legislators whose agenda includes cervical cancer prevention. The group, like breast-cancer activists before it, works through political channels. It also takes corporate donations from Merck.
There are doctors who are warning caution, however:
... some medical experts say lawmakers are moving too fast in their efforts to vaccinate all school-age girls. The American Academy of Pediatrics, for instance, is urging a go-slow approach, with an initial focus on raising public awareness of HPV and more monitoring of the safety of the vaccine ...
January 29, 2007
Gardasil - By Hook or By Crook
This article in the Seattle Times talks about the different ways mothers are getting their daughters to get the HPV vaccine, Gardasil. While some mothers are open and honest with their daughters, others are using bribery and even lying to their daughters.
One mother took her daughter to get the vaccine but told her only that it was to prevent a vague form of cancer, not that it was to prevent HPV or cervical cancer.
"She's not a sophisticated girl," the mother said. "My daughter is very uncomfortable discussing anything physical."
One has to wonder which one of the two is really "uncomfortable" discussing anything physical.
Then there's the mother whose daughter didn't want the vaccine, but who relented after a bit of bribery:
"For your safety? Your health? Your future?" Then Shine got creative: "What if you don't have to pay back the $20 you owe me?"
It all seems a bit manipulative. Is there really such a rush to get this vaccine that we need to lie to and bribe our children? It's great that parents are trying to do the right thing for their daughters, but openness and honesty seems like a good idea when it comes to something as serious as this.
January 26, 2007
Wisconsin Latest State to Propose Mandatory HPV Vaccination
Wisconsin is the latest state to propose legislation making Gardasil, the HPV vaccine, mandatory for all girls entering the sixth grade. At least 12 other states are proposing similar legislation.
Under the Wisconsin proposal, students would be required to show proof that they had received the vaccine, or a statement from the parent showing they have elected not to be vaccinated.
January 25, 2007
HPV Vaccine May Become Mandatory for 6th Graders
The Virginia House has passed a bill that would require all girls entering the 6th grade to receive Gardasil, the new HPV vaccine marketed by Merck Pharmaceuticals. HPV is known to lead to cervical cancer and is highly preventable.
If passed by the General Assembly, the legislation would take effect Oct. 1, 2008. But because schools open before October, it wouldn't have a significant impact until the summer of 2009, when students in public and private schools get their vaccinations. ... That gives additional time to make sure there aren't problems with the vaccine.
What do you think? Should the HPV vaccine be mandatory for young girls or should each family decide for themselves? Write an opinion on this topic!