The risks of government-approved medicines

The FDA and other government bureaus continue to endorse harmful drugs.
Minnesota/St. Paul

Published: 04/11/2010

When people get sick, they go to their doctors, trusting that these physicians have the wherewithal to diagnose their ailments and prescribe medications for proper treatment. Rarely do patients question the accuracy of the doctor’s judgment or the safety of the drugs given to them. However, with an increasing number of drugs coming under scrutiny for their damaging effects to the human body, it is absolutely necessary that Americans start probing their health care providers about the security of the practices and products they sanction.

According to Merck & Co., one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, “Gardasil is the only human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine that helps protect against 4 types of HPV.” In spite of this, “as of January 2010, there were more than 17,000 reports of adverse reactions regarding this vaccine. Among them are 59 deaths, 18 of which were among girls under the age of 17,” as reported by the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.

For several years now, Merck has advertised a critical need for this medication. “In girls and young women ages 9 to 26, Gardasil helps protect against 2 types of HPV that cause about 75 percent of cervical cancer cases, and 2 more types that cause 90 percent of genital warts cases. [It] also helps protect against 70 percent of vaginal cancer cases.”

Recently, Merck began marketing the Gardasil drug to men, as well. The company says that “in boys and young men ages 9 to 26, Gardasil helps protect against 90 percent of genital warts cases.”

The statistics cited in Gardasil ads are clearly meant to induce caution and concern in the minds of the general public, encouraging them to seek protection from HPV, cervical cancer and genital warts by receiving the three Gardasil injections.

On the other hand, Dr. Joseph Mercola, a nationally renowned osteopathic physician, says that “Although there are 6 million cases of HPV each year, just 2 percent of the patients in a recent study were infected by the kinds of HPV that put them at high risk for developing cervical cancer. You need to be aware that if you eat right, exercise and keep stress in your life under control, your immune system is typically healthy enough to clear up the vast majority of HPV infections.”

Many Americans have not been exposed to these alternative notions and thus adhere to the arguments made by Merck, physicians and the government that Gardasil is essentially the only way to combat HPV, cervical cancer and genital warts.

The reality is that in order to capitalize on the high potential of this medication, “the Food and Drug Administration [accepted Merck’s request on] Dec. 1, [2005 for a] fast-track review process,” according to Aaron Smith, a staff writer for CNN. In addition, the government strongly considered an appeal by Merck lobbyists that would require all girls in elementary schools to receive the vaccine. In the end, though, this initiative did not pass.


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.