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Perry's Drug Mandate Scandal Dossier

Perry's Drug Mandate Scandal Dossier

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Published by BackToBasicsPAC

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Published by: BackToBasicsPAC on Jul 19, 2010
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07/10/2013

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 Anatomy Of A Scandal
"It was a controversial new drug used for a sexually transmitted disease." 
In 2006, pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. launched a coordinated marketing effort for anew vaccine against certain strains of the human papillomavirus, or 
 HPV 
, a sexuallytransmitted disease. According to one report,
“…hundreds of doctors and nurses in the United States were signed up asunofficial spokesmen for Gardasil, trained by Merck, provided with a multimedia presentation and paid $4,500 for each 50-minute talk, presented over Merck- sponsored meals. Many were paid for attending Merck ‘advisory board’ meetingsto discuss the shots
1
.”
According to another repor 
t2 
exposing Merck’s aggressive marketing efforts in Norway,
“Four of the experts who advised the government to vaccinate all 12-year-old  girls with the HPV vaccine Gardasil have received money for research from theU.S. pharmaceutical giant Merck.”
As of May 31, 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports
3
that therewere 16,140 VAERS reports of adverse events following Gardasil vaccination in theUnited States, of which 8% were considered serious. Serious adverse events reportsinclude instances of Guillain-Barre Syndrome, blood clots, and in 53 cases, death.While those events cannot conclusively be linked to the vaccine, a controlled studyweighing the long-term benefits against the long-term risks of the vaccine has yet to beconducted. An editorial
4
printed in the Journal of the American Medical Associationasserts,
“…the net benefit of the HPV vaccine to a woman is uncertain. Even if  persistently infected with HPV, a woman most likely will not develop cancer if sheis regularly screened.When weighing evidence about risks and benefits, it is also appropriate to ask who takes the risk, and who gets the benefit. Patients and the public logicallyexpect that only medical and scientific evidence is put on the balance.
 If other matters weigh in, such as profit for a company or financial or professional  gains for physicians or groups of physicians, the balance is easily skewed. [emphasis added] 
Following a controversy stemming from the violation of India’s procedures of informedconsent, the Indian government halted
5
their HPV vaccination program.The growing concern about the drug led one former Senior Research Analyst in the biotechnology and genomic industries to pen an op-ed
6
asking publicly, “Will Merck'sGardasil HPV vaccine be its next Vioxx?”
 
 Anatomy Of A Scandal
"But Perry ordered all 11 and 12 year olds in Texas to be vaccinated"
On Friday, February 2, 2007, Perry issued Executive Order RP65
7
,
 Relating to theimmunization of young women from the cancer-causing Human Papillomavirus
."In it, he mandated the “vaccination of all female children for HPV prior to admission tothe sixth grade.” Moreover, he demanded public health agencies “move expeditiously tomake the vaccine available as soon as possible.”
"A giant drug company would make billions."
Had Perry’s mandate gone into full effect, Texas would be the first state in a nationaleffort bankrolled by Merck to mandate use of the vaccine upon nearly all Americangirls.In Texas alone, 170,000 school-age girls
8
would have been mandated to receive the$360, three-shot vaccine, administered over a six month period. Taking into accountthe full cost implications for the executive order, it would have cost the state anadditional $71,000,000 per year, adding nearly $300 million
9
to Perry’s $18 billion present-day budget shortfall.For 2008, the full-year estimated revenue for Gardisil ranged between $1.4 billion and$1.6 billion, five billion dollars lower than the initial projections. Expectations had to be scaled down due to regulatory setbacks and public relations controversies such asthe one in Texas
10
. In the fourth quarterly earnings report of 2008, the decline in salesof HPV vaccine Gardasil had declined 16% to $286 million
11
.Less than three weeks after Perry issued the order, and following the tremendous backlash from parents and legislators, Merck announced an end to state-level efforts tomandate use the vaccine upon school-age girls.
"So they gave to Perry's campaign."
The donation
12
came on the same day that Governor Perry's chief of staff, DeirdreDelisi, met with his aides for a "HPV Vaccine for Children Briefing" on October 16.Governor Perry has played down the coincidental timing
13
of the donation. However,Cathie Adams, then the president of the conservative Texas Eagle Forum, concededthat the timing of the meeting and the donation would be too much for Texans toswallow.

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