Gardasil – Marketplace Dud

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Friday, March 25, 2011

In 2006, a new vaccine was marketed to supposedly prevent cervical cancer, caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). In fact the rest of the story is that, Gardasil treats only 2 strains of the more than 100 strains of HPV, and only 2 strains of genital warts. Ponder another fact – according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease (STD) in America. Another fact for pondering, is that the immune system of many women is naturally strong enough to clean up the HPV, without any medicine.

Question – Why is a vaccine needed? HPV is an STD, formally known as a venereal disease, a name derived from Venus, the pagan goddess of sexual promiscuity. Sexual behavior, as we know from watching any TV program, has changed over the past 40 years; so too, the number of STDs, which have increased and mutated.

Oh my! Rather than addressing the real problem, which is sexual promiscuity, we have a vaccine to immunize you, rather than moralize you. Add to that, the vaccine doesn’t work on all the strains anyway. Gardasil was fast-tracked without adequate testing. We now know, that there have been many complications and even deaths from the vaccine. Still, it was highly marketed as a miracle drug, probably the greatest discovery since penicillin.

Now, four years later, after all the hoopla, the party is over, and Gardasil is a dud … a marketplace dud to be sure. In Merck’s 2nd quarter of 2010, the company reported an 18% year- over-year drop in sales, and it’s shares plummeted nearly 3%. Why? – you may ask. To begin with; it seems Gardasil has a design flaw. In order to be completely immunized, the vaccine needs to be delivered in a series of 3 injections over 6 months. Which doesn’t fit the American way of life, get it done in a single visit, like a drive-through; resulting in numerous girls and women not following through with the vaccine series, and becoming fully immunized. The next reason for it’s market failure, is because many parents are not comfortable vaccinating their young children against a virus they can only get if they are having sex. Also, Merck has been unable to defend itself against the bad press, when the complications to the vaccine became public information.

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