Merck's HPV Lobbying May be Coming to Your State

Unfortunately, Texas isn't the only state considering making the needless Merck human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine Gardasil a requirement for young teenage women, according to news reports.

Merck, maker of the notorious Vioxx, has been throwing money around the country through Women in Government, a lobbying group targeting female state legislators. The latest goal: Pushing the passage of HPV requirements in at least 18 states.

Although Merck openly admits its lobbying ties with Women in Government, the mega-drugmaker won't say how much money they're funneling through the non-profit, but here's a possible measuring stick: With Merck doubling its spending on lobbying, just in Texas, to some $250,000, multiply that by 18 and you'll get almost $5 million.

Spending $5 million (or some $12.5 million if you're considering the whole country) is mere chump change compared to the $1 BILLION Merck could earn annually from Gardasil, says one drug industry analyst.

Just a reminder, more than 6 million women contract HPV annually, but a woman's immune system is often strong enough to clear up this infection on its own and it's virtually 100 percent avoidable without a vaccine.

Kaiser Network.org February 1, 2007

Yahoo News January 30, 2007