Anti-HPV vaccines (e.g., Merck’s Gardisil) are back in the news these days.
Last night, NBC Nightly News reported “Study Shows Alarming Rise in HPV-Related Cancers.” The takeaways are (1) HPV infection causes cancers, (2) those cancers can be prevented with new vaccines, but (3) not enough kids are getting vaccinated.
A woman with cervical cancer attributed to HPV says at the end of the piece “I don’t know how you can not prevent your child from getting cancer if there is a way to do it.”
This comes on the heels of a new Merck campaign that blames parents for not getting their children vaccinated (see “Merck Ad Blames Parents & Asks: ‘Mom, Dad, Did You Know’“.
Click on “Read more” for the details, including numbers form the CDC, and links to articles and blog posts related HPV vaccine marketing over the years.
Merck’s “blame the parent” campaign was not the first pharma campaign to blame or demonize relatives. Also see: “GSK’s Whooping Cough Vaccination Campaign Needlessly Demonizes Wolves & Grannies!” which may have been aired because Pertussis (Whooping Cough) [is] Making a Comeback. Why? New Vaccine is Less Effective”
Parents who have been reluctant to have their children vaccinated with Gardisil have been labelled “anti-vaxxers” and called “stupid” by the pharmaceutical industry as is evident in these articles:
- “The Weird History of Anti-Vaxxers: Especially Blame Travelers & Religion“
- “Intelligent, High Income People Refuse Vaccinations“
- “Dear PhRMA CEO John Castellani: You Can’t Arrest People for Being ‘Stupid!’“
- “Your Patient Refuses a Vaccine? There Was a Mobile App for That But It Failed“
- “Sesame Street Julia: Is She a #Pharma Effort to Minimize Effects of Vaccines?”
- Meanwhile, note that there are documented side effects of vaccines: read, for example, “Better to Keep Vaccine Adverse Event Reports Secret, Concludes Study” and “Vaccine Development, Pricing, ROI, and Injury Compensation Outlays” and
Here are some “anti-vaxxers” that include a scientist from within pharma’s rank and file, a famous rich person, and a celebrity who is NOT Jenny McCarthy:
- “Former Merck Doctor Predicts that Gardasil will Become the Greatest Medical Scandal of All Time“
- “Off The Grid: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Says Vaccines are ‘Pay Dirt’ for #Pharma“
- “De Niro Backs Down: Anti-Vaccine Film Won’t be Screened at Tribeca Festival” but he Gets to Have the Anti-Vaccine Discussion He Wanted on Today Show.
Vaccines are a big business for pharma, which may explain why many pharma people think there’s a special place in hell for “anti-vaxxers”:
- “Vaccine Business is Very, Very Good for #Pharma, Especially Pfizer!“
- “Vaccines Are Path to Better Revenue Growth for Some #Pharma Companies“
- “The Top 5 Pharma Vaccine Producers“
- “When Does It Makes Economic Sense for #Pharma Industry to Develop Vaccines vs Drugs?“”
- Yet “Big #Pharma Reluctant to Develop Zika Vaccine Without Gov’t Funding“
Meanwhile, “Vaccine Reduces HPV in Teenage Girls, But Many Physicians Don’t Recommend It to Parents.” If Merck can’t win over parents and physicians, then it will go around them and promote directly to young people and even lobbying to make anti-HPV vaccination mandatory, which did not help its efforts:
- “Merck’s Goal: “One Less” Gardasil Marketing Problem” [Gardasil has difficulties that marketing must overcome. These include price, effectiveness, and possible dangerous side effects (the CDC said it has received reports of 21 deaths and almost 10,000 side effects in women following vaccination). The latter is an especially difficult hurdle if you have to target mothers of teenage girls rather than the girls themselves — it’s taboo and even illegal in some cases to market to minors under the age of 18.”]
- “Marketing Gardasil Vaccination in the Halls of Colleges & Universities“
- “Does Merck Need a Vaccine for Bad PR?“
- “Gardasil: To Be Mandatory or Not To Be Mandatory — That is the Question“
- “Merck Quits Lobbying for Mandatory Gardasil Vaccination” [When polled, 74% of respondents said merck should “certainly not” press on for mandatory vaccinations.]
Don’t get me started on Flu vaccines! Why don’t we have a universal one so we don’t have to get a new one every year, which often is not as effective as one might think?:
- “Flu Shot Doesn’t Work as Well as #pharma Clinical Data Suggests“
- “Does the Flu Vaccine Work? What 62% ‘Effective’ Really Means“
- “CDC Says AZ’s FluMist is Ineffective Compared to Flu Shots; i.e., 3% v. 63%!”
- “NIH Study Leads the Way for #Pharma to Develop a More Effective Flu Vaccine“
- “Pharma Needs to Step Up & Help Develop a Universal Flu Vaccine“
- “One Step Closer to Universal Flu Vaccine. Yay! I was there!“