Released on 11 June 2014 at 3:43pm (Translation kindly provided by Helen Kimball Brooke
Sanofi, the gigantic pharmaceutical company based in Lyons, France, is launching a major human papillomavirus (HPV) infection press campaign. Could this be a counter-attack triggered by the thirty or so lawsuits filed against the Gardasil vaccine designed to prevent cervical cancer and marketed by Sanofi-Pasteur MSD, doubts over its effectiveness and suspicion of conflicts of interest?
The consumer advertising campaign signed by Sanofi has been seen in health and women’s magazines like Santé Magazine and Version Femina since the 4th of June. The target market? Adolescents who might contract human papillomavirus (HPV) infections. It reads in large type: “3028 cases of cervical cancer and 40,000 cervical lesions. There are ways to prevent this. Ask your doctor”.
A controversial vaccine
The advertising campaign does not mention what method of prevention the giant Lyons company refers to. Gardasil, a vaccine designed to prevent cervical cancer has been sold by Sanofi Pasteur MSD since 2006 but suffice it to say that sales have plummeted over the last six months. On the 31st of March, 420 doctors launched a petition demanding that a parliamentary mission on this severely criticized vaccine be opened. Its effectiveness is what is in question.
Lawsuits filed by victims
At the beginning of April, MEP Michèle Rivasi called for a moratorium on Gardasil and the initiation of independent and transparent research into the matter (read here in French). At the time, she called upon Marisol Touraine, French Health Minister, to “stop giving this vaccine”.
At the same time, just over thirty lawsuits have now been filed against Sanofi-Pasteur MSD labs and ANSM (Agence Nationale du Médicament), the French national medicines agency, through the health unit of the Paris TGI (Tribunal de Grande Instance) or county court, for “involuntary injury” (read here in French). The first criminal charges against this vaccine were filed on the 22nd of November 2013 by Marie-Océane Bourguignon who suffers with acute disseminated encephalomyelitis attributed by the courts to a Gardasil injection.
Conflicts of interest
We have been informed that certain European and French experts who gave their consent for Gardasil’s authorization were financially linked to both Sanofi and Merck. Lyon Capitale investigated these conflicts of interest and published significant examples in its edition of the 6th May 2014.
“Gardasil, des conflits d’intérêts flagrants (flagrant conflicts of interest)”, an investigative article which can be found in Lyon-Capitale-le mensuel number 733 (May, 2013), for sale in our online shop.