Archive for the ‘Cervarix’ Category

Questions on Gardasil and Cervarix-1

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

An error in the premise will appear in the conclusion.

Baxter’s Law (Anon.)

The new vaccines, Gardasil by Merck and Cervarix by GlaxoSmithKline targets the human papilloma virus (HPV), a sexually transmitted virus of which there are over 100 types. Two have been found in 70% of human cervical cancers, but the vaccine has never been proven to prevent this cancer, since it will take another 20-30 years and millions of patients to prove its effectiveness. Sales are exploding since the vaccine was approved by the FDA in 2006, with 23 million doses distributed in the U.S., and 40 million worldwide. Attempts have been made to make immunizations mandatory in preteen girls in 23 states, as the CDC and major medical organizations have advised routine vaccination for girls beginning at age 11-12.

But wait.  Does this sound like a “slam dunk”? Over 12,400 adverse reactions and 32 deaths have been blamed on the vaccine. Some risk is acceptable in any vaccine proven effective against major diseases such as flu, and measles.  But in a vaccine that probably protects for only 5 years, if it is indeed proven effective for the 5 years it is claimed, against a cancer that is increasingly rare (13,000 cases last year), and virtually 100% detectable by pap screening-almost all 3,900 deaths occurred in unscreened women-one wonders if any risk is worth it.

Since all women vaccinated or not, will continue to require pap screening anyway for detection of cervical or uterine cancer well into adult life, the logic of exposing millions of girls to ANY risk of an unproven vaccine that possibly protects 70% of women, is indeed questionable. If one started immunizing pre-teen girls, it would require booster shots every 5 years until  the average age 30 and beyond, when cervical cancer generally occurs. Would the vaccine, incidentally, the most expensive on record, $400-$1000 per set of three shots, then have to be continued every five years to age 45? Merck, which has already made $1.5 billion on the vaccine has already asked for FDA approval for this recommendation, along with a request for treating boys starting at age 9, as well as men, to help prevent genital warts.

Stay tuned.