Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Merck - Gardasil: are we still in Kansas, Toto?

Much has been made of the support Merck is funneling to lawmakers across the country working to require its cervical cancer vaccine for young girls.

But now they are stopping the lobbying!

Merck had ties to the group Women in Government, an association of female state lawmakers from across the country.

Members of that group have been behind bills in several states to mandate the vaccine for 11- and 12-year-old girls. The vaccine, called Gardasil, prevents a virus that causes 70 percent of cervical cancer cases.

Ten of the nearly 40 lawmakers signed on as sponsors of the bill in Kansas had taken campaign money from Merck.

One of the sponsors, Rep. Janice Pauls, is the state chairwoman for Women in Government.

But now Merck have seen the light!

According to the WSJ:

"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."

More


Insider's view: Gardasil is a drug I'm 100% for. Early vaccination is a great idea.

But.

The price is too high and should come down.

It is the most expensive vaccine ever - $360 for the three doses required over a six-month stretch. Because of that cost and what pediatricians and gynecologists say is inadequate reimbursement by insurers, many are choosing not to stock the vaccine or requiring surcharges to administer it, adding to parents' difficulties.

Use the money saved from stopping lobbying to make the vaccine cheaper!

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