January 13th, 2011 by Wendi Lewis
Government health agencies in France and the United Kingdom are cracking down on the manufacturers of HPV vaccines Gardasil and Cervarix, saying the companies are falsely advertising their products. According to a report in the American Chronicle, vaccine watchdog organization SANE VAX has been following the investigation of problems with the advertisements, which have resulted in the ads being banned in France and removed in the UK and India.
Although not reported in most mainstream media, SANE VAX discovered the French government had banned Gardasil ads in August 2010. The drug, which targets and prevents four types of human papillomavirus (HPV) linked to cervical cancer, is produced by Merck & Co. and marketed in France by its partner Sanofli-Pasteur. On Jan. 4, 2011, SANE VAX issued a news release about the ban, which was handed down by the Director General of the French Agency for Safety of Health Products (AFSSAPS).
According to the news release, the AFSSAPS found Gardasil ads to be in “direct violation of the French public health code.” At issue are claims of longer efficacy for the drug than has been actually proving, and making false claims that the drug is a “cure” for cervical cancer.
In actuality, the French Committee on Immunization Practices (CTV) and the High Council of Public Health (HCSP) say “the vaccine’s impact on the incidence and mortality of cervical cancer will only become apparent in the long term, in 15 to 20 years.”
The American Chronicle reports that as a result of the French decision and ban of Gardasil ads, similar advertising for Gardasil and the GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) manufactured HPV vaccination, Cervarix, have been removed in the UK. In particular, the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority cited GlaxoSmithKline for making claims that the Cervarix vaccine would protect young women indefinitely against cervical cancer, using the slogan “Armed for Life.” The agency instructed the manufacturer to change the ad to clarify the language. Eventually, the local Primary Care Trust decided to remove the advertisements altogether.