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by Suzanne Resiman
Ever since the HPV prevention drug Gardasil hit the market in 2006, I’ve been very suspicious. The marketing campaign says that it is the “only vaccine for cervical cancer,” but what Gardasil actually protects against are some strains of HPV, a sexually transmitted disease that may cause cervical cancer. This is very misleading, not to mention that it is possible to prevent HPV infections through safe sex practices. What also got my dander was how quickly it got pushed on the public.
A few years ago, I became friendly with a statistician who worked for a drug company in New Jersey. “All the clinical studies are manipulated,” she told me. She was tired of their unethical practices, and she was looking to find a new way to use her statistics skills and her insight to help the American public understand how new “cures” we are sold are potentially more harmful than what ails us in the first place. Her insider knowledge put all the prescription drug recalls and lawsuits into perspective for me. I decided that, unless I had no other alternative (i.e. – I’d die anyway), I would not use any drugs unless they’d be around for at least five years, and preferably ten.
Which brings me back to Gardasil. A vaccine is even more serious than a pill. Someone can always stop taking a pill if there are side effects, but once she is inoculated, there’s no way to get it out of one’s system that I am aware of. In that case, it seems like before the FDA approves and health organizations recommend a vaccine, there better be a lot of evidence that it is safe. I wasn’t sure how this worked for Gardasil, but according to Lisa at The Looney Bin, there’s plenty to worry about: