Dr. Julie Gerberding
Former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director, Dr. Julie Gerberding, has been named the head of Merck & Co.’s $5 billion vaccine division.
Gerberding was appointed by President George W. Bush and headed the federal agency from 2002 until President Obama transitioned into office earlier this year.
Merck has been focusing on boosting its vaccines division along with emerging markets and bioloics since its recent acquisition of Schering-Plough. The drug maker produces shots to prevent cervical cancer (Gardasil), pneumonia, and chickenpox.
Gardasil sales have been falling, reports Reuters, down 22 percent in the third quarter at $311 million.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Merck needs to bolster its research pipeline and product lineup to compete with generics and to bring new drugs to market.
The dean of Tufts University medical school, Michael Rosenblatt, has just been named chief medical officer.
Natural News questions why a public health official would go to work for a company with questionable ethics, referring to the Vioxx scandal and published reports that Merck withheld data proving Vioxx caused an increase in heart attacks and strokes.
In 2007, Dr. Gerberding defended Merck when it recalled more than one million vaccines due to contamination risk. She assured the public that the recall did not represent a health threat.
The next year she departed with the mainstream medical community when appearing with Dr. Sanjay Gupta on CNN she confirmed that vaccines can trigger autism in a subset of vulnerable children. That video is available via YouTube on the web site of Adventures in Autism.
Gerberding will be responsible for the sale of vaccines, their introduction into the pipeline and overseas sales. #