In June of 2006, my writing partner, Leslie Botha, and I, started writing articles cautioning women against the use of Gardasil® for girls and young women. We cited the limited nature of the clinical trials (the number, and ages of women tested) and the length of time from the clinical trials and the FDA approval; which in our opinion precluded a reasonable amount of time to follow-up for adverse reaction to the injection.
The RUSH-TO-APPROVAL, combined with MERCK’s, MEGA-Money State and Federal legislative-lobbying efforts, made us very nervous. Anytime a State or Federal agency mandates the use of a vaccine, the manufacturer is essentially, held harmless. That means adverse reaction victims cannot sue them directly. MERCK gets hide behind the shield of the very government agencies WE pay to protect us.
In our articles, Leslie and I cited European researchers who questioned not only the efficacy of the HPV vaccination plan, but the cost effectiveness of what could be one of the largest transfers of public money to private industry in history. With early detection, cervical cancer can be successfully treated; and the best early detection tool is the inexpensive, easily attainable PAP test.
“In developed countries, Pap smear screening and treatment have effectively reduced cervical cancer death rates to very low levels already. There are 3,600 deaths annually from cervical cancer in the United States, 1,000 in France and 400 in Britain.”
Each of those women were mothers, daughters and sisters, and very dear to their families. Most of the deaths were a result of lack of access to preventive medical care. The poor and uninsured can’t get a $30 PAP test, but our public heath officials think its justifiable to mandate BILLIONS of dollars to inoculate young girls with a vaccine that could do more harm than good.
MERCK has sold $1.5 BILLION worth of Gardasil® vaccine in less than two years. Those Gardasil® sales are saving their Vioxx-ravaged balance sheet. How many PAP tests would that amount provide women who have limited, or no, access to preventative care? If the safety of young girls doesn’t make you want to take action and stop this madness, how about cost-effect, use of limited health care resources?
Breast cancer kills hundreds of thousands of women every year…and the numbers are rising. Would 1.5 BILLION dollars be better spent on breast cancer research? We think so.
Spending 1.5 billion on Gardasil®, chasing the ghost of “possible cancer” in the distant future, is not good stewardship of time, talent and treasure — unless you own MERCK stock.
Two years ago Leslie and I sent information to major media outlets, asking that they at least investigate the possibility that HPV vaccines might not be effective or safe for young girls.
We felt like the mythical Cassandra…no one was interested in the news.
To date, there have been 17-deaths and thousands of reported hospitalizations of previously healthy young women and girls. As adverse reactions started to be recorded to the NVIC database, investigative reporters began questioning the HPV vaccine’s safety and cost-effectiveness. Harvard just published a “Follow the Money” report delineating the cost benefit of the mostly, publicly, funded HPV-vaccination initiative.
In the fall of 2006, using published US census data, Leslie and I estimated the number of targeted girls and women (nine to twenty-six year old) and the reported cost of the series of three of the Gardasil® inoculation and estimated the cost to public health budgets. I was sure some bean counter in the bowls of MERCK had preformed the same calculations, with far better resources, when determining the Lobbying budget that got Gardasil® approved.
I wish I could say, we are please to report that with about 20-hrs work, an old calculator and a new MAC laptop we came within a $60K of the Harvard study; but it is actually kind of depressing. All it proves is that we need more inconvenient women, asking more questions, more often, with greater insistence.
Excerpt of Harvard Study
“The vaccines, which require three shots for a complete series, cost about $400 to about $1,000, depending on the country and the fees for doctors’ visits. Unlike older vaccines that save money by preventing costly disease, these vaccines cost health systems money.
The Harvard study concluded that giving the vaccine to 12-year-olds would cost $43,600 for every “quality adjusted year of life” it saved by preventing a cancer death; that price would often be considered acceptable by health officials in wealthy countries, experts say.
But if the vaccine were given to all girls and women up to age 21, the cost per year of life saved would be far higher — $120,400, the Harvard study concluded. And if the vaccines prove to require a booster shot, as many critics believe, that cost rises to $140,000. In such cases it might make more economic sense to rely on Pap smear screening alone, the researchers said.”
Read the full text of following NY Times article.
Email the links to as many women, and health professions as you can.
Inconvenient Women take ACTION!
Click here for the full ELISABETH ROSENTHAL’s NY Times article on Gardasil®, Published: August 20, 2008
“Two vaccines against cervical cancer are being widely used without sufficient evidence about whether they are worth their high cost or even whether they will effectively stop women from getting the disease, two articles in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine conclude.”
“The two vaccines, Gardasil by Merck Sharp & Dohme and Cervarix by GlaxoSmithKline, target two strains of the virus that together cause an estimated 70 percent of cervical cancers. Gardasil also prevents infection with two other strains that cause some proportion of genital warts. Both vaccines have become quick best sellers since they were licensed two years ago in the United States and Europe, given to tens of millions of girls and women.
“Despite great expectations and promising results of clinical trials, we still lack sufficient evidence of an effective vaccine against cervical cancer,” Dr. Charlotte J. Haug, editor of The Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association, wrote in an editorial in Thursday’s issue of The New England Journal. “With so many essential questions still unanswered, there is good reason to be cautious.”
In her article, Dr. Haug points out the vaccines have been studied for a relatively short period — both were licensed in 2006 and have been studied in clinical trails for at most six and a half years. Researchers have not yet demonstrated how long the immunity will last, or whether eliminating some strains of cancer-causing virus will decrease the body’s natural immunity to other strains.
More to the point, because cervical cancer develops only after years of chronic infection with HPV, Dr. Haug said there was not yet absolute proof that protection against these two strains of the virus would ultimately reduce rates of cervical cancer — although in theory it should do so.
Both vaccines target the human papillomavirus, a common sexually transmitted virus that usually causes no symptoms and is cleared by the immune system, but which can in very rare cases become chronic and cause cervical cancer”
For more information read:
The Evidence Gap: Drug Makers’ Push Leads to Cancer Vaccines’ Rise (August 20, 2008)
Send these links out to anyone who cares about the health issues of women and girls!
Inconvenient Women do not get angry…We get ACTIVE!!
If you liked my post, feel free to subscribe to my rss feeds