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Merck Pays for Favorable Gardasil Opinion

Posted by Jane Akre
Wednesday, August 19, 2009 12:42 PM EST
Category: Protecting Your Family
Tags: Merck, Gardsil, HPV, Cervical Cancer, JAMA

JAMA reports that Merck paid three medical groups to lobby for Gardasil.



IMAGE SOURCE: © ©iStockphoto/ girl being vaccinated/ author: pflorendo

Merck & Co paid for a favorable medical opinion from three medical associations to promote Gardasil, according to a published report.

The August 19 Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reports that Merck dished out a total of $750,000 to the American College Health Association, the Society of Gynecological Oncologists, and the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology, reports the Washington Post.

The medical groups would then launch an educational campaign promoting use of the cervical cancer drug almost identical to the marketing done by Merck for the drug.

The JAMA article is written by Sheila M. Rothman of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York, and her husband, David Rothman.

"I think what happened here was that marketing and medical education got blurred," said Rothman to the Post.

The Rothmans report that medical societies maximized the threat of cervical cancer to adolescents, while downplaying the risks of the vaccine.

As of May 1, there were 13,758 reports of adverse events linked to Gardasil, among the more than 24 million doses given.

The medical societies began promoting the HPV vaccinations more than one year before clinical trials were published.

“How could anyone be so certain about the effect of the vaccine?” asks an accompanying editorial. The net benefit of the HPV vaccine to a woman is uncertain considering the potential risk, concludes Dr. Charlotte Haug, of the Norwegian Medical Association.

The American Society of Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology encouraged doctors to persuade state and federal agencies to help pay for the vaccine and to impose mandates for use.

The governor of Texas mandated Gardasil use among young girls shortly after it was marketed by Merck in June 2006, but the state legislature reversed the mandate, UPI reports.

Others also believe Merck is aggressively pushing the vaccine inappropriately. Dr. Diane Harper, of the University of Missouri at Kansas City, helped Merck develop Gardasil. She has since criticized the company’s activities and feels the drug was not adequately tested on young females it is intended for.

"This clearly shows how Merck was able to influence opinion leaders in the medical field to promote the vaccine without presenting any of the downsides," said Diane M. Harper to the Washington Post. "This shows how they were able to influence physicians."

James Turner, president of the American College Health Association says the Gardasil is the “greatest prevention tool in women’s health since the invention of the Pap smear.”

Merck believes the money is provided for education but did not influence opinion.

Merck spokesman, Richard Haupt tells the Washington Post, “We provided grants that allowed them to develop, independent of Merck, their own information that was distributed to their membership.” "Our activities with these societies were done in an appropriate and independent manner."

Merck acknowledged that the company provided $199,000 to the American College Health Association; $300,000 went to the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology; and $250,000 to the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists.

Gardasil is given to young women beginning at age 11 up to age 18, before they become sexually active to combat four types of human papillomavirus, two that cause cervical warts and two that cause about 70 percent of cervical cancers.

An accompanying JAMA editorial says there are more than 100 different types of HPV and the current vaccine targets only two strains that can led to cancer, HPV -16 and 18. Dr. Haug reports that 79 percent of women will be infected over their lifetime, with almost all HPV infections cleared by a woman’s immune system.

The editorial also points out that immediately after Gardasil approval in June 2006, the U.S. recommended routine vaccination of girls ages 11 and 12. Phase 3 trials of the HPV vaccine were not reported until May 2007.

And while more long-term studies were called for, none have been published since then. #


Anonymous User
Posted by Jodi Speakman
Tuesday, September 01, 2009 10:24 AM EST

My daughter, Victoria, has been ill since Feb. 2008. She had her first Gardasil vaccination Nov. 2007. Her second vaccination was in the beginning of Feb. 2008. Immediately after her second vaccination, she had severe diarrhea and was nauseous for about eight weeks. She had blood work done many times and doctors thought she had a virus. On March 31, 2008, she had her first seizure. My daughter has had CT scans, MRI's, MRA's, EEG's, blood work and was hospitalized at an epilepsy center in the video EEG monitoring unit for two separate weeks in May 2008 and September 2008. She was put on many different seizure medications. After the normal EEG results, she was taken off all medications. Her SED rate has always been high and she does have protein in her urine, but doctors do not seem concerned. I was told that her red blood are small, but this apparently is not concerning either. My daughter has been seen by several neurologists, a psychiatrist, psychologist, several neuropsychologists, an immunologist, several infectious disease doctors, and also treated a at Wellness Center for a period of time. My daughter currently experiences the following symptoms: non-epileptic seizures episodes, migraines, fainting, tremors, twitches, numbness, intermittent leg paralysis and facial paralysis, tingling, staring or blank episodes, eye pain, joint pain, neck pain, back pain, memory loss, confusion, brain fog, regression, mood swings and chronic fatigue. She continues to have bouts of nausea and diarrhea. She has not been in school since April 2008. My daughter can never be left home alone. She can't go to school, go out with her friends or work or has little "normalcy" in her life. She has very few good days and always says she doesn't feel good.

I do not know which way to turn for help. We have seen so many doctors and I can't seem to find anyone willing to help my daughter. There are so many other young girls who have the same exact symptoms as my daughter and the one thing that all of the girls seem to have in common is the Gardasil vaccination.

Each night, I check on my daughter many times in the middle of the night to make sure she is still breathing (like we ALL did when they were babies). I have a chime on her bedroom door so that every time she opens it, I know she has walked out of her room. I had a deadbolt put on the front door of our home with a key that can be removed from the inside. I never leave the key in the door for fear that Victoria will be confused after a seizure or when she has memory loss, and leave our home. (This has happened many times and she has been missing). When she is in the shower, I have to either stand outside the door and/or keep asking her "are you okay?"

Everyday, I cry and wonder if Victoria will be next one to die from adverse reactions to Gardasil.

Thank you.

Jodi Speakman
(267) 939-0591

P.S. My daughter's story is now posted on the NVIC website. LINK , on the cover of the Philadelphia Weekly and the Philadelphia Inquirer.


Posted by Jane Akre
Tuesday, September 01, 2009 1:55 PM EST


That is incredible. I'm so sorry for all you and your daughter are going through.

Most mothers would probably ask- are you sure it's Gardasil? Could it be something else? What do the doctors say?

No one wants to believe a vaccine, promoted by our government (CDC) could actually cause such devastation.

Comments for this article are closed.

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