One Less? Evaluating the High Cost of GARDASIL
by Barbara Loe Fisher
To view a TV news story on the HPV Vaccine controversy, click here:
The debate about whether all young girls should routinely be vaccinated with HPV vaccine continues to be a big topic of discussion in homes and doctors' offices around the country. At the same time, reports of serious reactions to Merck's HPV vaccine, GARDASIL, continue to pile up. Last month, a young 15 year old soccer player and star athlete in Kansas almost died within three hours of being injected with GARDASIL. In September, a 12 year old Florida girl who played softball and ran cross country suddenly collapsed shortly after getting a shot of GARDASIL and became paralyzed. Twenty-eight American women, who were pregnant when they were injected with GARDASIL vaccine, have miscarried their babies.
Last year at this time, Merck was giving marching orders to lobbyists and teaming up with politicians to ram school mandates for 11 year old girls to get injected with three doses of its new and very expensive HPV Vaccine, GARDASIL. Never mind that GARDASIL had only been studied in less than 1200 girls under age 16 in pre-licensure clinical trials and was not tested for safety in combination with other vaccines like meningococcal and TdaP vaccines routinely given to pre-adolescents today. http://www.nvic.org/Diseases
Merck failed to make the case that the only opposition to the proposed mandates was coming from parents who did not want their pre-teen daughters to get a vaccine for a sexually transmitted disease because of religious beliefs and moral convictions. NVIC argued that, beyond the moral and parental rights issues, there was a legitimate case to be made that GARDASIL should not be mandated because of outstanding product safety issues. At the end of the day, parents across the nation made it made it clear that they did not want three doses of a poorly tested vaccine for a sexually transmitted infection that cannot be acquired in the school setting to be added to school mandates that already include dozens of doses of vaccines.
The proposed HPV vaccine mandates failed in all the states in 2007 but that did not prevent GARDASIL from becoming a blockbuster new product for Merck and it does not mean that Merck and pro- forced vaccination proponents will not try again in 2008 to get laws passed requiring its use. One Wall Street guru has predicted the $300 million Merck made this year will grow to more than $4 billion. In fact, brisk GARDASIL sales was one reason why, despite the $4.85 billion the drug maker had to pay for patients injured by painkiller Vioxx, the company turned a profit in 2007.
NVIC issued three reports in 2007 analyzing GARDASIL reaction reports being filed in the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) by nurses, doctors and patients. To date, the FDA VAERS data reveal that more than 4,000 GARDASIL adverse events have been reported to VAERS through October 2007. Descriptions of these vaccine reaction reports can be viewed and VAERS database searches made on NVIC's website at http://www.medalerts.org
( Click here and here to access the GARDASIL reaction reports directly)
On August 15, 2007, NVIC wrote a letter to the Centers for Disease Control accompanied by a detailed NVIC analysis of increased GBS and other serious adverse event reports in VAERS that have occurred when GARDASIL is given at the same time with meningococcal vaccine (Menactra) , asking the CDC to issue an advisory to doctors and parents to be cautious when administering GARDASIL with Menactra. The CDC quickly dismissed the significance of the increased risk of injecting GARDASIL simultaneously with Menactra and refused to alert anyone to the potential increased risk.
Now a new study, which was funded by Kaiser (CDC's research partner) and authored by researchers with financial ties to vaccine manufacturers, has been published in a medical journal in a pro-active pre- damage, damage control attempt to dismiss the serious autoimmune and other negative health outcomes following HPV vaccination as "a coincidence."
Because teenagers and adult women can talk (while babies cannot), those who are in the business of hyping HPV vaccination for profit and power know they will have a much bigger problem covering up the brain and immune system damage that occurs when healthy girls and women are injected with HPV vaccine. Just like Merck tried to make opposition to HPV vaccine mandates all about sex, so public health officials and doctors promoting HPV vaccination are going to try to sweep HPV vaccine reactions under the carpet using the unscientific but convenient "coincidence" defense.
Lost in all the hype for young girls to be "One Less" is discussion of the basic facts about HPV infection in America :
* The majority of women clear the HPV virus from their bodies naturally but women with risk factors, such as HIV infection, smoking, long-time use of oral contraceptives, and co-infection with herpes simplex virus or chlamydia, are at higher risk for chronic HPV infection.
* Between 1955 and 1992, cervical cancer deaths in American women dropped by 74 percent due to routine pap smears.
* There are about 9,800 new cases of cervical cancer annually diagnosed in the U.S., which represents .007 percent out of the approximately 1,372,000 new cancer cases of all types diagnosed.
* There are about 3,700 deaths in mostly older American women annually attributed to HPV- related cervical cancer, which is about .006 percent of the approximately 570,000 cancer deaths that occur in the U.S.
* Most cervical pre-cancers develop slowly, so nearly all cervical cancers can be prevented with regular pap smear screening and prompt treatment.