Drug Company Lobbying to Mandate Vaccine Against Sexually Transmitted Disease

A February 11, 2007 story appearing inside the Washington Post and no less than 72 different news publications has exposed the belief that a major drug company, Merck & Co. is behind the large lobbying effort to get 18 states pass laws making their vaccine essential for 6th grade girls. If these laws pass, Merck, which last year showed revenues of $22.6 billion, stands to earn hundreds of millions of dollars.

The newest vaccine GARDASIL is made for the HPV virus which is a sexually transmitted virus and it has been associated with cervical cancer. In line with the Post article, the vast majority of all sexually active women and men carry the virus that may disappear in many instances. The article then explains that in some instances, the virus lingers, causing cell changes contributing to cancer. It is based on this stretch of logic and science that the laws forcing 6th grade girls to receive these vaccinations is based.

The content notes that Merck has initiated a national TV advertising campaign, in addition to spreading efforts across the nation to attain two goals in the various states. The initial goal is mandated vaccines for all 6th grade girls, and the second is getting the state legislatures to cover this effort by spending millions of dollars of state tax money to acquire the very vaccines they produce.

In Texas, Governor Rick Perry signed an executive order forcing the HPV vaccine on girls. The Washington Post article highlights that the Governor's former chief of staff, Mike Toomey, has become a lobbyist for Merck. Records also show Gov. Perry received $6,000 from Merck's political action committee during his reelection campaign.

Opposition to creating this new vaccine mandatory is originating from several sources. James Conway, chair of the infectious diseases committee of the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatricians, stated that he felt it was not appropriate to mandate a vaccine so early in the game.

The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), the country's leading vaccine safety and informed consent advocacy organization, issued a release on this issue questioning the safety issue. "In an analysis of reports made to the federal Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) since the CDC's July 2006 universal use recommendation for many little girls, NVIC found reports of loss of consciousness, seizures, joint pain and Guillain-Barre Syndrome.

"The most common serious health events after GARDASIL shots are neurological symptoms," said NVIC Health Policy Analyst Vicky Debold, RN, Ph.D. "These little girls are experiencing severe headaches, dizziness, temporary loss of vision, slurred speech, fainting, involuntary contraction of limbs (seizures), muscle weakness, tingling and numbness in the hands and feet and joint pain. Some of the girls have lost consciousness during what appears to be seizures."

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