By SUSAN BRINKMANN, For The Bulletin
Friday, April 30, 2010
A group of mothers-turned-activists whose daughters either died or became seriously ill after receiving the controversial cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil were invited to present their case to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“They listened and asked us some questions,” said Rosemary Mathis, co-founder of the Web site TruthAboutGardasil.org, who participated in the March 12 meeting. “They’ve given our information to their researchers and they’re looking it over now.”
Ms. Mathis and five other women participated in a “listening session” with the FDA where they were invited to present information they had assembled about injuries and deaths that have resulted from the use of two vaccines, Gardasil and Cervarix, which guard against certain cancer-causing strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV). Gardasil is manufactured by Merck & Co. and Cervarix is a produce of Glaxo-Smith-Kline.
“They told us that we were the first people in history to have a listening session,” Ms. Mathis said, “and if it worked for us – they’ll do the same for others, such as for autistic groups and other vaccine victim groups.”
But why did the FDA choose them to be part of the first “listening session?”
“I think we’re embarrassing them,” Ms. Mathis said. “We’re not shutting up. And we’re getting bigger and getting more attention.”
Their Web site, which was launched in August 2009, has brought together parents from all over the world and given them a forum in which to share their experiences with Gardasil and Cervarix. Their site now contains hundreds of reports of deaths and injuries resulting from the controversial vaccines and offers valuable information to parents about how to get help.
Ms. Mathis, a finance manager for Lowes whose own daughter was left seriously injured by the vaccine, first requested a meeting with the FDA last spring via a letter written by Karen Maynor, the mother of a girl who died after receiving the Gardasil vaccine. Shortly after receiving the letter, the FDA invited the women to talk with them.
After two preliminary meetings by telephone, they met with the FDA during a March 12 webinar.
Representatives from the FDA who participated in the event included JoAnn Minor and Andrea Furia, Health Programs Coordinators for the FDA’s Office of Special Health Issues, as well as representatives from the Office of Communication, the Outreach and Development/Center of Biologics (CBER), Office of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, and Office of Vaccines Research and Review.