February 02, 2007

A Question of Motives

Is human papillomavirus a Bad Thing? That is inarguable. Should it be eliminated along with the likes of polio, smallpox, measles, mumps and rubella? With certainty. Should legislators be mandating the Gardasil vaccine which is the only FDA-approved HPV vaccine for all women while at the same time taking money from Merck? Merck, the makers of Gardasil, who stands to make hundreds of millions of dollars off of this legislature and who is actively campaigning to legislate that their drug (a $360, 3-shot regimen) be given to all girls by age 11 or 12. To say that I find their motives impure is probably an understatement.

That said, I find the arguments against the drug to be hallow and, quite frankly, idiotic. To those who dislike vaccines in general... that's great for you and all, but I think that you'd be hard-pressed to find a real doctor who feels that the country is worse off for vaccines against many of the major medical demons of the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. Not to mention that HPV causes cancer... and cancer is bad. Granted, HPV is an STD... but some parents act as if a vaccine against HPV is a blank check to go have sex with everyone in sight. As if there weren't still Herpes, Syphilis, AIDS, Chlamydia, Hepatitis, Gonorrhea, and more to contend with. As if the only way to get HPV was through unprotected sex and as if people who may screw up once down the road don't deserve to be protected.

Look... I'm not saying I have a corner on the answers... but I think that having a problem with the ethics of legislators in requiring Gardasil is a whole lot more sensible than any of the other objections that I've heard. I'd be more than happy to hear from opponents of Gardasil for other reasons though, or from people who actually know more about biology or about Rick Perry than I do.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at February 2, 2007 06:06 PM | TrackBack