Studies: Gardasil HPV vaccine safe, promotion unbalanced

USA Today

By Liz Szabo

The new HPV vaccine, which protects against viruses that cause most cervical cancers, has been a commercial success for manufacturer Merck, with worldwide sales last year of $1.4 billion.But some doctors now question whether the vaccine has been overpromoted to affluent women who need it least, instead of patients most at risk of dying from the disease. Medical groups that accepted Merck funding mostly echoed the company line — touting the vaccine’s benefits with little mention of its limitations, says a special report in today’s Journal of the American Medical Association.

Although Merck’s ads suggest that all women are at risk — a strategy that helps them find as many customers as possible — cervical cancer does not actually strike women equally, says report co-author Sheila Rothman of the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York.

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.