In today’s Journal of the American Medical Association, federal researchers analyze 12,424 voluntary reports of post-vaccination “adverse events” ranging from headaches to deaths. They conclude that only two complaints – fainting and dangerous blood clots — are more common than expected and may be related to the immunization.
But an accompanying editorial points out that many questions about Gardasil remain – key among them, whether it really will reduce the toll of cervical cancer.
Another opinion piece in JAMA looks at Merck & Co.’s marketing strategy, contending the company coopted professional medical societies to promote and recommend the vaccine.
Merck – already on the defensive over Gardasil’s second-quarter sales, which slumped sharply in the United States and worldwide – said in a statement that “we welcome continued study and discussion” of the product’s safety.