by GoozNews ~ 07 Sep 2009 03:27pm
The following is the lead story from the inaugural edition of Health Tech Review:
Merck’s marketing muscle turned Gardasil, a vaccine that prevents the spread of human papillomavirus (HPV), into a must-have accessory for teenage girls. Ubiquitous television and magazine ads led the way by warning kids and their parents that some HPV strains cause cervical cancer, which gets diagnosed in about 12,000 American women annually and kills 4,000. Several leading professional medical societies, each a recipient of Merck’s generous financial support, endorsed the campaign.
This vaccine-as-cancer-prevention strategy also received a major boost from the government. Almost immediately after the Food and Drug Administration approved Gardasil in 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) unanimously endorsed the HPV vaccine for girls aged 11 and older. The result: Over 23 million doses of the $300-a-shot HPV vaccine (a course of three is required for the best immunity) were administered in its first three years on the market. Worldwide sales for Merck soared to more than $1.4 billion in both 2007 and 2008, more than half outside the U.S.