Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Merck Suspends Campaign to Make Gardasil Vaccination Mandatory

This is great news!

Texans, please call your state Representative and Senator and ask them to vote to repeal Governor Perry’s mandate.

In all other states, this is the tool you can use to stop all mandates that may be in the works.

When we all work together we can accomplish a lot. Thank you for everything you are doing done to stand up for the rights of parents to protect their children.


Merck Suspends Campaign to Make Gardasil Vaccination Mandatory
By JOHN CARREYROU and SARAH RUBENSTEIN
February 20, 2007 4:52 p.m.

Merck & Co. said it would stop lobbying states to pass laws requiring that preteen girls be vaccinated against cervical cancer in the face of a growing backlash among parents, physicians and consumer advocates.

Merck's aggressive lobbying campaign was intended to boost sales of its Gardasil vaccine, which received Food and Drug Administration approval last year. Gardasil provides protection against two strains of the human papillomavirus that are thought to cause the majority of cervical-cancer cases.

But unlike a number of other diseases that U.S. schoolchildren are required to be vaccinated against, HPV isn't an airborne virus that can spread easily in a group setting. Rather, it is sexually transmitted. Gardasil also stands apart from other vaccines that are compulsory because of its high cost: $360 for a three-dose regimen.

In recent weeks, opposition to state mandates has grown among parents who want the freedom to make such a medical decision on their own and are worried about exposing their children to the unforeseen side effects of a new vaccine. Physicians and consumer advocates have also questioned the need to immunize young girls against a disease that is no longer very prevalent in the U.S. and doesn't develop until much later in life.

Merck's lobbying efforts have become a distraction from the company's goal of immunizing as many women as possible against cervical cancer, said Richard Haupt, Merck's executive director of medical affairs. Merck has "decided at this point not to lobby for school laws any further."

Write to John Carreyrou at john.carreyrou@wsj.com and Sarah Rubenstein at sarah.rubenstein@wsj.com