North Hollywood, California, June 30, 2010 — In 2006, the HPV vaccine Gardasil was introduced to a public generally unaware of the Human Papillomavirus or its threat to adolescent girls and women. However, the public was quickly informed of the dangers of the virus when Merck launched an aggressive advertising campaign.
According to Neon Tommy, the online publication for the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, USC, the promotion was successful. Merck’s marketing techniques even earned Gardasil a “pharmaceutical brand of the year” award from Pharmaceutical Executive for its ’savvy disease education,’ and building ‘a market out of thin air.” http://blogs.uscannenberg.org/neontommy/2010/01/gardasils-broadreaching-market.html
Indeed, Merck took home a “fistful” of top television ad honors at the 2008 10th Annual Pharmaceutical Advertising and Marketing Excellence Awards (PhAME) gala event at the Guggenheim Museum in NYC.
“When I think about Gardasil, the entire approach is to make sure we get as many appropriate people vaccinated as possible,” said David Schechter, executive director, Merck vaccines and infectious disease. “We looked at innovative and creative approaches to get to the consumers, and have them take action and talk to their healthcare professionals.”
Who does not remember the “one less’ jingle that had adolescents girls around the country dancing in their living rooms determined to become “one less” victim of cervical cancer only to become “one more victim” from Gardasil.
Shortly, after Gardasil’s introduction to the market parents around the country began to use social media networks to communicate with other parents about adverse reactions and sudden deaths that were beginning to appear post-vaccination. Only a handful of print and broadcast journalists were brave enough to start questioning the safety and efficacy of yet another drug fast-tracked through the FDA.
Last November, TruthAboutGardasil.org (TAG) was launched and soon became a global focal point for parents, educators, researchers, medical practitioners and others concerned about similar unexplained illnesses and deaths of adolescent girls around the world. The common denominator: HPV vaccines.
Early in 2010, the group launched their own aggressive educational campaign to alert the media, politicians and the public to growing concerns about the post-HPV vaccination events. They have been issuing press releases and writing articles in their quest to get the HPV vaccine campaigns suspended until conclusive independent studies are conducted on the safety and efficacy of Gardasil and Cervarix.
Today, Tag is connected with hundreds of parents around the world. 41 parents and/or advocates, concerned about the vaccines, have volunteered to become TAG Guardian Angels – offering information and support for those looking for more information. 23 states and 7 countries are currently represented by Guardian Angels.
What started out as a small group of “little women” has turned into a movement of determined parents whose daughters have been injured or who have died. 18,445 adverse events and 75 deaths. Over 1,000 new events have been reported in the last 6 weeks. Collateral damage from Merck’s award-winning campaign?