Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 18, 2009; 4:00 PM
At least three medical associations promoted a vaccine that protects against a sexually transmitted virus using funds provided by the vaccine’s manufacturer, according to a new analysis being published in Wednesday’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The groups — the American College Health Association, the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology, and the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists — promoted Gardasil, a vaccine against a virus that can cause cervical cancer, using virtually the same strategy that Merck employed in its marketing campaign for the vaccine, the analysis concluded.
“I think what happened here was that marketing and medical education got blurred,” said Sheila M. Rothman of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, who co-authored the article with her husband, David J. Rothman of the school’s Center for Society and Medicine.